After arriving at Darwin airport you will be meet your zoologist escort and he will drive you all to our accommodation in Darwin, level – 4.5* / 4* (Mantra on Esplande / Darwin Central Hotel). Depending on the time of your arrival our lunch and dinner or just dinner will be at our accommodation. The rest of the day and evening will be for you to relax and explore Darwin if you wish. We usually take the first day easy as the flight is very long and the heat and humidity in Darwin can take some getting used to. There will be an option to visit George Brown Darwin Botanical Gardens. These gardens are a joy to walk around and if we keep a keen eye looking around we can spot some of the many birds which live around here such as blue-faced honeyeaters, rufous owls, chestnut rails, orange-footed scrub fowl, rose-crowned fruit doves and many other species which are resident here or just visiting the gardens.
This morning we will be getting up early and after breakfast we’ll drive to a small private property called Howard Springs (25mins). Here we will meet our local guides for the day and board the 6m boat which will take us on our full day exploration of the Adelaide River. Adelaide River has one of the highest concentrations of estuarine crocodiles in the world. Lovingly named salties these huge reptiles (the largest on the planet) form an everyday part of life for the locals here and after an hour on the boat you will see why you always have to have salties on your mind. They silently glide beneath the surface of the muddy waters and the amount of them is defiantly an eye opener and unforgettable. Along the way we will see many of the territorial salties, hundreds of birds from majestic white-bellied sea eagles to whistling kites showing off their aerial prowess and occasionally feral pigs and wild water buffalo are spotted. Ironically the water buffalo (a pest and introduced species) now thrives here in one of the last wild populations in the world. You can see if you can catch a barramundi (the famous brackish water fish in northern Australia). We will have a BBQ along the way and after some traditional Top End tucker we will pay a visit to the only island in the Adelaide River, Goat Island where we will have a drink in the local pub before the return cruise and more wildlife watching. Once we get back to Darwin we will have some dinner at our accommodation, level – 4.5* / 4* (Mantra on Esplande / Darwin Central Hotel) or a nearby restaurant; the rest of the evening is at your leisure.
Kakadu National Park
This morning after breakfast we will drive towards Kakadu National Park; the largest national park in Australia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most dramatic places in the world. Along the way we will stop at Fogg Dam (1.20 hrs) and have a look and see what birds are around. There is a good chance of spotting rainbow pittas, little curlews, lemon-billed flycatchers, red-tailed black cuckoos and many other species along the boardwalks and viewing platforms. We will carry our journey to our accommodation inside Kakadu National (2.5-3 hrs) Park, level – 3* (Aurora Resort Kakadu / Gagudju Crocodile Holiday Inn) where we will check in and relax. Our evening meal will be in our accommodation. During the rest of the afternoon you will find the bird life around the resorts fascinating.< p>
Kakadu National Park
An early rise beckons us this morning and as we leave before sunrise to Yellow water there is a chance to see some of the nocturnal marsupials as we drive along. Animals like northern quolls and brown badicoots have been seen in the past. When we arrive at Yellow Water (1 hour) we will board the boat and head out along the Jim Jim Creek or South Alligator River. This morning we will be searching for the salties once again as well as huge water pythons, water buffalo and many species of birds including whistling ducks, magpie geese, comb-crested jacanas. After the 2 hour cruise we will be treated to a full breakfast before driving back to the accommodation, level – 3* (Aurora Resort Kakadu / Gagudju Crocodile Holiday Inn). The afternoon will be spent driving around and walking some of the trails hoping to find some of the rarer animals like antilopine wallabies, black wallaroos, agile wallabies, short-eared rock wallabies and some more bird species. Kakadu is home to around 30% of all Australias bird species. As the evening draws in we will leave where we are and head to Muirella Camping Ground and board the second boat of the day. This is the only spotlighting tour available in Kakadu and this evening the 2.5 hour cruise should give us a glimpse of what goes on after dark along the water ways of the Northern Territory. Both species of crocodile are usually seen; salties and their much smaller freshwater species as well as freshwater turtles, pythons and black fruit bats. After the cruise we will head back to the accommodation for our evening meal and a well deserved rest.
Kakadu National Park
Today we once again put ourselves in the more than capable hands of the local guides who will take us on an adventure around the national park. A full 12 hour trip and one which will take us to Jim Jim Falls, Twin Falls on the Arnhem Land Escarpment. There will be bushwalking involved today and as we are in the heart of the national park there is a good chance of seeing some of the wallabies listed on Day 4. We will have a picnic style lunch whilst in the bush and our evening meal will be once we return to the accommodation, level – 3* (Aurora Resort Kakadu / Gagudju Crocodile Holiday Inn).
Kakadu National Park
Our last day in Kakadu National Park and the majority of the day will be spent at your leisure; whether you want to lounge around the resort swimming or birding or want to continue driving around and exploring the park we can do either today. Our lunch will either be at a local restaurant if we are out and about or at our accommodation, level – 3* (Aurora Resort Kakadu / Gagudju Crocodile Holiday Inn) our evening meal will be here after we have has enjoyed our third and final cruise along the streams, creeks and rivers of the vast wetlands in Kakadu.
Litchfield National Park
After breakfast we will leave Kakadu National Park and head south west to Litchfield National Park (4 hours). Once we arrive at our accommodation, level – 4* / deluxe cabins (Batchelor Resort / Batchelor Butterfly Farm and Tropical Retreat) we will have some lunch. In the afternoon we will make our first foray into the park. The most famous residents of Litchfield National Park are the tiny magnetic termites; however these small insects are master engineers and produce huge wedge-shaped termite mounds which run perfectly north to south. Contrary to their name this is not for magnetic reasons but a response to temperature as the surfaces maximise the suns heat during the morning and evening but when the powerful sun is at its most instense the surface area at the top of the wedge-shaped mounds is minimal and so the colony stays relatively cool in the midday heat, whilst maximising heat during the cool mornings and evenings. There are other species of termites here which is obvious when you see the differences in mound shape and structure. Other animals to look out for as the afternoon turns to evening are agile wallabies, sugar gliders, northern brushtail possums and little red flying-foxes amongst the mammals and Pacific keols, dollarbirds, rainbow bee-eaters and rufous-tailed bush hens among the birds. Our evening meal will be back at our accommodation.
Litchfield National Park
Today you will need your swimmers. After breakfast we will continue our exploration of the park by car and on foot as we aim to see all the major sites and track down some of the residents like the unusual and surprisingly fast frilled-necked lizard, very large olive pythons and colourful red-winged parrots. We will also have the opportunity for a swim at one of the beautiful creeks throughout the day. We will have a BBQ lunch inside the park and continue our exploration into the afternoon. Our evening meal will again be back in our accommodation, level – 4* / deluxe cabins (Batchelor Resort / Batchelor Butterfly Farm and Tropical Retreat).
This morning we will have an early breakfast and head north and back to Darwin where we will catch our flight to the dead centre of Australia; Alice Springs (2 hours). Most people will never be this far away from the sea or ocean in their entire life and during the flight you will see just how vast the red-centre of Australia really is. When we arrive in Alice Springs your escort will fetch the new vehicle and transfer you to our accommodation, level – 3* (Aurora Resort Alice Springs) where we will eat lunch. This afternoon we will visit Alice Springs Desert Park. This is an ideal place to see some of the rarer animals of the Australian outback. The park is a very new building and one which really makes you feel like your walking through the desolate desert. We can see thorny devils, spiny-tailed monitor lizards, zebra finchs and other desert dwellers in their natural environment and by visiting the nocturnal house we can see marsupials which are on the brink of extinction throughout most of their range. Our evening meal will be back at our accommodation.
After breakfast we will drive to the West Macdonnell Ranges National Park (2 hours) and here we see the real outback. As the sun can be very hot and harsh here we will spend as little or as much time as you want here. Walking and driving around to try and spot some of the resident animals, which somehow make a living in this extreme of all places. Animals like spinifex pigeons, black-footed rock wallabies, thorny devils and double-barred finches are some of the more commonly seen animals. We will have a BBQ lunch and spend the rest of the day visiting sites like Simpsons Gap, Glen Helen Gorge and Ellery Creek Big Hole. Our evening meal will be at our accommodation, level – 3* (Aurora Resort Alice Springs) on our return in the late afternoon.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
After breakfast we have a fair drive to make today. We are going even further into the heart of the red centre as we head towards Yulara (5.5 hours) the closest town to the most famous rock in the world. We will stop for lunch along the way at a typical Outback roadhouse which is an unforgettable experience in itself. But once we arrive at Yulara there is only one thing that catches the eye. Uluru, formerly called Ayres Rock, is the largest monolith in the world and that basically means its the biggest single rock in the world! After arriving at our accommodation, level 3.5* (Lost Camel Hotel / Outback Pioneer Hotel) we will head visit Uluru for the first time. We will get to there in time for the absolutely stunning sunset view. This single view will become one of your all time memories I am positive and will only be beaten by the sunrise view we will have tomorrow. In the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park we will look out for dingoes, emus, perenties, mulgaras, woma pythons, black-footed rock wallabies and the deserts most unusual resident. Dromedary camels; we you may think that camels are not very unusual in the desert but these huge animals are native to north Africa and Arabia and are actually extinct the their native lands. They are widely used as pack animals and that is why they were brought here but now ironically Australia has the only wild population of dromedary camels in the world! After the spectacular sunset we will have our evening meal at our accommodation and get an early night as we have an early start tomorrow.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
First thing this morning we will get to Uluru and get prime position for the sunrise. As the sun rises higher and higher the colour of the rock changes until it is bright red and just amazing! After sunrise we will take a drive around the rock and if you are inclined you may climb to the top. However this is frowned upon by the aborigines and it is a very hard climb. Other than that we will explore the park a little more and see if we can spot some of the birds and reptiles which make the desert their home. Birds like peregrine falcons, pied butcherbirds, crimson chats, black-faced woodswallows and black-breasted buzzards are commonly seen as for reptiles they are dominated by the forth largest lizard in the world the perentie. We will escape the heat of the day back at the accommodation, level 3.5* (Lost Camel Hotel / Outback Pioneer Hotel) for lunch but head back to the park and to Kata Tjuta or the Olgas in the afternoon. Here a group of large sandstone rocks (similar to Uluru) form a great vista of rounded red mounds against the dead flat desert background. We will watch sunset here and head back to the accommodation for our evening meal.
You can have a lie in today and after breakfast we will begin our drive back to Alice Springs (5.5 hours), with lunch along the way again. Once we reach Alice Springs we will have the rest of the day and night to relax and enjoy the desert night and sky. Our evening meal will be at our accommodation, level – 3* (Aurora Resort Alice Springs).
Today, after breakfast you will be transferred from your accommodation to the airport for the return flight to Darwin (2 hours) and once in Darwin we will get a taxi (pre-paid) to our accommodation, level – 4.5* / 4* (Mantra on Esplande / Darwin Central Hotel). You have the rest of the day to do as you please, whether that is sightsee, souvenir shop or just take in Australia one last time’ Your escort will book a table for our evening meal in the accommodation where he will treat you to a drink or two as we look back over a brilliant two weeks exploring Australias extreme territory.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport in order to catch your return flight home.
Please note that the itinerary stated above is correct as our planned intentions for the tour. However adverse weather conditions and other local considerations can necessitate some modifications of the itinerary during the course of the tour; any changes will be made to make the best of the time and weather conditions available to us.
This tour is available on different date (subject to availability) please contact us for more details about running this tour on a date which suits you more.