Top End Explorer

Crocodiles, Gorges, Waterfalls, Tiwi Art & Darwin

Swap your suit for the uniform of the tropics – T-shirt and shorts – and explore the vibrant, multicultural city of Darwin. Visit chic Cullen Bay Marina, follow a heritage walking trail around the wharf and tuck into exotic delicacies at Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. Beyond Darwin’s compact city centre you can cruise beautiful Gorges in Nitmiluk, see jumping crocodiles in Kakadu and swim beneath tumbling waterfalls at Litchfield National Park. Best time of the year to travel is May until October. Most capital cities have direct flights to Darwin.

Your holiday Includes:
3 nights Mindil Beach Casino and Resort with breakfast daily
1 night Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel with breakfast daily
2 nights Cicada Lodge with breakfast daily
7 day premium car hire
Return ferry tickets to Bathurst Island
Guided tour of Bathurst Island
1 hour Jumping crocodile cruise
2 hour Padakul Aboriginal Cultural Tour
Nabilil Dreaming Sunset Cultural Cruise
Top Didj Cultural Experience

Katherine Gorge
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Arrive Darwin

Upon arrival at Darwin Airport, collect your rental car and make your way to Darwin city. Check in to Mindil Beach Casino and Resort. Visit the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory which houses a realistic exhibition on the devastating effects of Cyclone Tracey in 1974. Then meander through orchids, bromeliads, cycads and palms in George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens. Head to Mindil Beach Sunset Market, which runs on Thursday and Sunday evenings from April to October, to taste some of the best food in the city – try grilled crocodile, Sri Lankan curry and barbecued seafood. Nab a spot on the sand and watch as the sun turns the sky vibrant shades of pink as it descends over the Timor Sea. The market also features scores of stalls selling handmade jewellery, arts and crafts. At the end of the day you’re footsteps away from your accommodation.

Overnight Mindil Beach Casino and Resort with breakfast

Tiwi Islands

After breakfast make your way to Cullen Bay Ferry Terminal. Board SeaLink’s high speed catarmaran, the MV Tiwi Mantawai for the two and a half hour journey to Bathurst Island. Meet your Tiwi guide and visit the Patakijiyali Culture Museum, Mission Precinct, and arts and crafts centres. Enjoy morning tea with the Tiwi ladies including a smoking ceremony. Purchase Tiwi arts and crafts and learn the rituals of the Pukamani (burial ceremony) before returning to Darwin.

Tonight enjoy dinner at Hanuman – one of Darwin’s iconic restaurants. Take a culinary journey through South East Asia with locally sourced produce.

Overnight Mindil Beach Casino and Resort with breakfast    

Kakadu

After breakfast head out of the city along the Arnhem Highway, a road flanked by wetlands and paperbark forests. Fifty minutes into your journey, turn into a thicket of bushland at long-neck turtle Dreaming country, Beatrice Hill, for a two-hour cultural immersion session with former park ranger and Aboriginal elder Graham Kenyon and his family.

Learn about local Aboriginal approaches to medicine, cooking and culture with Graham and his family and enjoy a homemade morning tea of fresh damper.

Back on the highway, stop at Fogg Dam Conservation Area, which teems with freshwater crocodiles (shy, and generally no threat to humans), water birds and lotus flowers.

Next, stop at Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruises for a river cruise and learn about Croc biology, territorial habitats and their value to the ecosystem.

Continue on to Kakadu National Park’s gateway town, Jabiru and check in the Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel.

Nitmiluk

After breakfast head further south into Kakadu, the landscape transitions from stone country and wetlands into more dramatic terrain: towering waterfalls. Some of the most stunning sites are Gunlom, Twin Falls, Jim Jim Falls, and Maguk. Make sure to sample at least one of these roaring treasures – preferably in a swimming costume – before exiting Kakadu for Nitmiluk National Park.

Check into Aboriginal-run Cicada Lodge for a touch of luxury and a dip in its pretty, gum tree-flanked swimming pool.

In the afternoon discover the stories and ways of the Jawoyn people against the magnificent backdrop of Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge. The jewel in the crown of the Nitmiluk experience is the Nabilil Dreaming Sunset Dinner Tour. Departing at 1630 the 3.5 hour trip includes a two gorge experience, three course meal cooked on board the boat and a glass of sparkling wine on arrival.

Katherine

After breakfast make your way to Katherine for the Top Didj Aboriginal Cultural Experience. Meet Top End Aboriginal artist Manuel Pamkal and spend the morning hearing his compelling personal story, as well as a broader account of his people’s customs at Top Didj Art Gallery.

Have lunch at The Black Russian Caravan which is located next to the Katherine Visitor Information Centre, famous for its toasties, cakes and coffee and has fabulous outside seating in the shade.

In the afternoon take a refreshing dip in the Katherine Hot Springs – a series of clear pools fed by a natural thermal spring located on the banks of the Katherine River. Or travel further south for just over an hour to check out the clear warm pools of Mataranka and Bitter Springs in Elsey National Park.

Overnight Cicada Lodge with breakfast

Litchfield

After breakfast make your way to Litchfield, 2.5 hours from Katherine.

Litchfield National Park is renowned for its accessible, unspoiled wilderness of monsoon rainforests and waterfalls that flow year-round. First stop when entering the National Park are the magnetic termite mounds – eerie tombstone-like wonders of nature. Spend the rest of the day lazing inside the shallow, bubbling pools of Buley Rockhole. Or travel to the parks signature swimming hubs, Wangi and Florence Falls.

In the late afternoon, drive the 90-minute trip back up the Stuart Highway to Darwin, stopping at Berry Springs for a homemade fruit ice cream at Crazy Acres mango farm, as well as a peaceful swim or snorkel in the clear waters of Berry Springs. Arrive in Darwin with time to check in to Mindil Beach Casino and Resort.

Enjoy dinner at Little Miss Korea, known for its unique Korean Charcoal BBQ.

Leave Darwin

After breakfast check out of your hotel and return the hire car at Darwin Airport.

Not wanting to go home? Why not add a visit to Uluru, Kings Canyon and Alice Springs or a working cattle station ie Bullo River Station. Speak to your consultant for more ideas on extending your holiday.  

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