Tour Description

Darwin and the Top End – Featuring Kakadu & Litchfield 

Eight Days: 16th – 23rd July 2019

Twin Share: $4695 per person. Sole Use: $5459 per person.

Included in the tour:
  • Home pick-ups & set downs (most metro areas – please contact us for details)
  • Picnic-style morning teas & all meals as per the itinerary
  • All accommodation & admissions to all attractions
  • Experienced & informative tour driver/guide.
  • Option to travel on the Ghan from Adelaide to Darwin (additional cost)

 

Situated on the edge of a harbour bigger than Sydney’s, Darwin is a fascinating tropical city – a melting pot of people and cultures with world-class natural and cultural attractions. While a sophisticated, modern city in its own right, it is also one steeped in history. Darwin has endured many hardships, from Japanese bombers in World War II to near total destruction by tropical Cyclone Tracy in the 1970’s. Despite all this, Darwin has rebuilt to establish itself as the gateway to Asia. Surrounded by spectacular country, we explore beyond Darwin to the natural wonders of Kakadu, cruise the Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge and venture into stunning Litchfield National Park. The sites of Australia’s Top End will definitely take your breath away.

 

Day One – TUESDAY 16 JULY 2019

(includes lunch and three course dinner)

After being picked up from our homes (limited areas*) we are taken to the Adelaide Airport. On arrival we are met by an Endeavour Tours representative who assists us with checking-in, making our way through the security procedures and to the gate ready to board our Qantas flight to Darwin.

When we touch down we are met by a guide who helps us collect our luggage before taking us to our coach.

Our lunch is enjoyed in Fannie Bay before we visit Darwin’s cultural institution – the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT). Set in a tropical garden at Bullocky Point the MAGNT has a variety of collections that highlight the region’s art, culture, and history. One of the more popular and powerful exhibitions at the gallery tells the story of Cyclone Tracy. It’s a must see for all visitors to the MAGNT.

Optional alternative to flight: The Ghan train from Adelaide to Darwin.  This legendary train journey of 3 days and 2 nights takes you to Australia’s top end, via Marla, Alice Springs and Katherine. Departing Adelaide on Sunday 14 July, you would arrive in Darwin at 5.30pm on Tuesday 16 July, when our Endeavour Tours driver would meet you to take you to our accommodation to join the rest of the tour.  The Ghan provides an all inclusive journey including off-train experiences and the option of your own private sleeper cabin, with en-suite facilities. Prices are available on request.

We then check into out accommodation for our first three nights on tour, the Double Tree By Hilton (Ph. 08 8980 0800), which overlooks Darwin Esplanade and offers stunning ocean views.

 

Day Two – WEDNESDAY 17 JULY 2019

(includes cooked breakfast, money for lunch and three course dinner)

The capital of the Northern Territory, Darwin was originally a pioneer outpost. It became the settlement town of Palmerston in 1869, and was renamed Darwin in 1911. Having been almost entirely rebuilt twice, once due to Japanese air raids during World War II, and again after being devastated by Cyclone Tracy in 1974, the city is truly one of Australia’s most modern capitals. There is no better way to begin the  exploration of a city than with a guided tour, so we are joined by a local who can give us a proper introduction!

Following the tour we visit the famous Crocosaurus Cove located in the heart of Darwin City. At this unique attraction we have a close-up view of Australia’s iconic Saltwater Crocodiles. We see the largest display of Australian reptiles in the world, a two-storey fresh water aquarium, a turtle sanctuary, as well as local Northern Territory Aboriginal art and culture displays.

We return to our hotel to relax before a special evening. Our driver will take us to the Stokes Hill Wharf where we board the Spirit of Darwin for our wonderful Sunset Dinner Cruise. Dinner is a three course buffet prepared with fresh local produce which we enjoy while taking in the breathtaking sights of the Darwin Harbour at sunset.  After a delightful cruise we return to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.

 

Day Three – THURSDAY 18 JULY 2019

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

After enjoying a delicious breakfast we visit Aquascene, one of Darwin’s special attractions. A unique and natural phenomena occurs on the high tide amongst the tranquil tropical waters of Doctors Gully; hundreds of friendly local wild fish swim to the shallow shoreline in search of a gratuitous meal of fresh bread. Over the course of this 60+ year tradition, the fish have shed their normal shyness and are willingly hand-fed to the delight of thousands of fascinated locals and tourists every year.

We then head to the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens. Following our morning tea in these stunning surrounds, we begin exploring these beautiful gardens that have existed for over 130 years, surviving both the World War II bombing and Cyclone Tracy. The gardens are one of the few in the world with marine and estuarine plants growing naturally. Noted for the collection of tropical species, we can wander through monsoon forests, coastal fore-dunes, mangroves and woodlands in this delightful garden.

Afterwards we take a drive to the award-winning Territory Wildlife Park, set in 400 hectares of natural bushland in Berry Springs. An easy walk meanders through the park, taking us to a variety of typical Top End habitats. The Paperback Walk for example, leads to a bird-hide that overlooks a natural billabong called Goose Lagoon. Wild animals come and go freely according to the season and while standing in the hide, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in the middle of Kakadu or Litchfield. Another area provides a representation of a Top End river system, from the escarpment down to the mangroves on the coast. We can also stroll beneath the surface of the walk-through aquarium, you can’t get much closer to a saltwater crocodile that this!

We enjoy our lunch here at the Park, so there is plenty of time to explore the many exhibits, including the elusive nocturnal creatures of the Top End – a group representing 80% of the Territory’s wildlife, the aviaries, bird of prey display and much more! For those who need assistance to explore the Park, a shuttle train provides an easier option to access the entire area.

Next door is Berry Springs Nature Park, the closest waterhole to Darwin and a very popular spot with the locals on a weekend. The water is crystal clear with a small waterfall and a shallow pool perfect for a cooling knee-deep dip!

After a delightful day enjoying the Territory’s flora and fauna, we return to our hotel for our last night in Darwin. For those who wish, there is the option of visiting the Mindil Beach sunset markets,  Darwin’s largest market with over 300 stalls selling a huge range of goods, from gifts and art to skincare and clothing.

 

Day Four – FRIDAY 19 JULY 2019

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

We farewell Darwin this morning, heading east, where we cross the Adelaide River and pass through Marrakai, pausing for morning tea along the way.

We then continue to our destination for today, Kakadu National Park. Australia’s largest terrestrial national park, Kakadu covers almost 20,000 square kilometres and is a place of enormous ecological and biological diversity. It extends from the coast and estuaries in the north, through floodplains, billabongs and lowlands, to rocky ridges and stone country in the south. These landscapes are home to a range of rare and endemic plants and animals, including more than one-third of Australia’s bird species and one-quarter of its freshwater and estuarine fish species.

Upon entering the park we head to the Visitor Information Centre where we stop for lunch. From here, we embark on an extra special guided tour to Nourlangie Rock. As we take a loop walk past stunning rock art sites and an early Aboriginal shelter, we hear ancient stories and take in spectacular views of Kakadu’s escarpment.

Tonight’s accommodation is nestled in this beautiful park on the fringe of the Jabiru township at Kakadu Lodge Cooinda (Ph. 08 8979 1500).

 

Day Five – SATURDAY 20 JULY 2019

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

We have an early start this morning, but the experience we have planned is well worth the effort!  We embark on a Yellow Water Sunrise Cruise taking a journey through Yellow Water Billabong. Kakadu’s most famous wetland, the billabong is located at the end of Jim Jim Creek, a tributary of the South Alligator River. The river system, which is the largest in Kakadu, contains extensive wetlands that include river channels, floodplains and backwater swamps.

After this delightful cruise, we head back to Cooinda for breakfast before its time to depart Kakadu. Passing through Mary River, we continue to Pine Creek, a small town developed with the discovery of gold. We have lunch here before taking the opportunity to visit the Enterprise Pit Mine Lookout for a panoramic view of the open cut pit that was left when Pine Creek Goldfields ceased operation in 1994. Before being mined, this area was known as Enterprise Hill and this significant landmark measures 135 metres deep and is now filled with water.

Travelling further south we visit Edith Falls, on the edge of Nitmiluk National Park. A series of cascading waterfalls and pools on the Edith River, this is a photo opportunity not to be missed! Only 60kms further we come to our accommodation for this evening in Katherine. We check in at the Knotts Crossing Resort Motel (Ph. 08 8972 2511) to enjoy dinner and a good nights rest.

 

Day Six – SUNDAY 21 JULY 2019

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

Nitmiluk National Park is home to the Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge and today we will be cruising these waters and taking in the spectacular surrounds. Within Nitmiluk National Park are 13 natural gorges carved through sandstone by the Katherine River. The gorges wind for 12 kilometres with walls more than 70 metres high. The sheer walls of sandstone, dotted with ancient Aboriginal rock art, surround the crystal waters of the Katherine River where freshwater crocodiles can be seen along the banks as well as flowering orchids and lilies.

After the cruise returns we enjoy lunch in town before setting off for our drive north. There is beautiful scenery to admire along the way as we pass back through Pine Creek and Adelaide River before reaching Batchelor.  We then check into out accommodation for our last two nights on tour at the Batchelor Resort (Ph. 08 8976 0123).

 

Day Seven – MONDAY 22 JULY 2019

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

Batchelor is the gateway to Litchfield National Park. Known for its untouched rainforests, hot springs, magnificent waterfalls and stunning scenery it has rightly gained the reputation as the ‘Jewel of the Northern Territory’s Crown’.

Designated as a National Park in 1986, there is so much to see and our first stop is at the fascinating magnetic termite mounds. These two-metre high, thin mounds are aligned north-south, apparently to keep the inside of the mound from becoming too hot in the heat of the sun as it tracks east-west.

One of the other reasons that more than a quarter of a million visitors descend on Litchfield National Park each year, is the spring-fed streams and waterfalls. This morning we visit two of the best-known and most attractive. Situated on the western edge of the Park, Wangi Falls are the largest and attract visitors who like to swim and snorkel in a large plunge pool set amidst the rainforest. Florence Falls is a stunning double waterfall that cascades into a swimming hole. We can walk to a lookout for a birds-eye view down onto the falls and the surrounding area.

Following lunch back in Batchelor, we take a trip to Adelaide River, the site of a large base in the Second World War and home to the Adelaide River War Cemetery. Initially created for the service men and women who died in this area, following the war the graves of many service personnel were moved here from civil cemeteries and isolated sites throughout Australia. There are 434 military burials in the War Cemetery, including some servicemen from overseas, namely Britain and Canada. The Cemetery also houses a Memorial to the Missing, honouring 292 personnel.

Adjoining the War Cemetery is the Civil Cemetery. Here, rests nine Post Office workers who died on 19 February 1942, as a result of a direct hit on the Post Office by Japanese air-raids.

Following this moving experience, we return to our accommodation in Batchelor for our last night on tour  together.

 

Day Eight – TUESDAY 23 JULY 2019

(includes cooked breakfast and light lunch)

We farewell our hosts in Batchelor this morning and travel the short distance to Darwin.

We make our way to the Darwin airport, arriving with plenty of time for a smooth check-in. We are assisted through the departure gate ready for our Qantas flight back to Adelaide.

On arrival at Adelaide Airport we are met by an Endeavour Tours representative. From here we meet the cars and drivers who will take us home to our doors with fantastic memories of Darwin and the stunning natural beauty of its surrounds.