Tour Description

Darwin, Kakadu, Litchfield and Katherine

(Combined Adelaide and South Coast Departure)
Eight Days: 16th – 23rd July 2021

Twin Share: $5095 per person. Sole Use: $5875 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.

 

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 having endured many hardships, from Japanese bombers in World War II to near total destruction by tropical Cyclone Tracy in the 1970s. 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 – FRIDAY 16 JULY 2021

(includes light lunch and two 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 with check-in, before making our way through the security procedures to the gate, ready to board our Qantas flight to Darwin.

When we touch down, we are met by a guide who helps with collection of luggage before taking us to meet our driver and coach. Our first stop will be lunch at a local café, where we can take a moment to enjoy our new surroundings.

From here, 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 tells the story of Cyclone Tracy and how it changed, not just the urban landscape, but the lives of Darwin residents forever.

Late afternoon we check into our accommodation for the next three nights at the Double Tree By Hilton (Ph: 08 8980 0800). The property is ideally located, overlooking Darwin Esplanade, offering stunning ocean views.

Day Two – SATURDAY 17 JULY 2021

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

Originally a pioneer outpost, the capital of the Northern Territory was first named Palmerston. While the port had been called Port Darwin since 1839, when Lt Stokes named it after his former shipmate Charles Darwin (who never actually visited the area), the settlement was not renamed until 1911. Having been almost entirely rebuilt twice, once due to Japanese air raids during World War II and again after the devastation of Cyclone Tracy in 1974, Darwin 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. While here, we can 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. It’s a great introduction to some of the unique wildlife in northern Australia.

We return to our hotel to relax and freshen up for a special evening. Late afternoon, we head to Stokes Hill Wharf where we board the Spirit of Darwin for our wonderful Sunset Dinner Cruise. Dinner features fresh local produce which we enjoy while taking in the breathtaking sights of the Darwin Harbour at sunset.

After disembarking, we return to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.

Day Three – SUNDAY 18 JULY 2021

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

After a delicious breakfast we travel south to the award-winning Territory Wildlife Park. Set in 400 hectares of natural bushland in Berry Springs, the park allows us to explore 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 habitat 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 water in a walk-through aquarium – you can’t get much closer to a saltwater crocodile than this, and visit the elusive nocturnal creatures of the Top End – a group representing 80% of the Territory’s wildlife. There are aviaries, a bird of prey display and much more!

Lunch is enjoyed while at the park, giving us plenty of time to explore the many exhibits and to help us get around the park quickly, a shuttle train provides an easier option to access the entire area.

After leaving the Wildlife Park we will call in next door to the Berry Springs Nature Park. This is 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 wade!

Back in Darwin, we visit the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens. These beautiful gardens have existed for over 130 years, surviving both the WorldWar II bombing and Cyclone Tracy. The gardens are one of the few in the world with marine and estuarine plants growing naturally and they are noted for their collection of tropical species. We have plenty of time to wander through monsoon forests, coastal fore-dunes, mangroves and woodland settings in this delightful garden.

Late afternoon we visit one of Darwin’s unique experiences, Aquascene. A 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.

After spending the day exploring 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, there are over 300 stalls selling a huge range of goods from gifts and art, to skincare and clothing.

Day Four – MONDAY 19 JULY 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two 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.

Our destination today is the stunning 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 our 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 Burrungkuy (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 at Kakadu Lodge Cooinda (Ph: 08 8979 1500). Located in the village of Jabiru which is surrounded by the natural wonders of Kakadu. It is sure to be a memorable stay.

Day Five – TUESDAY 20 JULY 2021

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

We have an early start this morning but the reward will be well worth the effort!  Nearby, is Kakadu’s most famous wetland, Yellow Water Billabong. It is located at the end of Jim Jim Creek, a tributary of the South Alligator River. This river system is the largest in Kakadu, containing extensive wetlands including river channels, floodplains and backwater swamps. It’s the perfect place to see wildlife in their natural environment and as we glide quietly through the billabong on our Sunrise Cruise we will likely see a huge  array of bird species, saltwater crocodiles and perhaps even buffalo.

After experiencing the stunning sunrise at Yellow Water, we head back to Cooinda for breakfast before it’s time to depart Kakadu.

Passing through Mary River, we continue to Pine Creek, a small town which grew from the discovery of gold. After lunch, we take 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 come to Leliyn (Edith Falls), on the edge of Nitmiluk National Park. Situated on the Edith River, a series of cascading waterfalls fall into a pool, naturally fringed by paperbark and pandanus. It’s a great place to dip your toes in the water and soak in the surrounds.

Just 60 kilometres on, we arrive at our accommodation for this evening in Katherine. After checking-in at the Knotts Crossing Resort Motel (Ph. 08 8972 2511) there will be time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Day Six – WEDNESDAY 21 JULY 2021

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

We set off this morning to explore more of Nitmiluk National Park. Within the 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.

Today we take the Nit Nit Dreaming Cruise through the first two gorges of Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge, the longest gorges in the system. The sheer walls of sandstone, dotted with ancient Aboriginal rock art, surround the crystal waters of the river where freshwater crocodiles can be seen along the banks as well as flowering orchids and lilies. Cultural guides share their knowledge of plants, animals and dreamtime as we cruise and the scenery is inspiring.

After lunch we set off north, passing back through Pine Creek and Adelaide River on our way to Batchelor. The town was home to a large Allied air force base in World War II and grew rapidly in the 1950’s with the discovery of uranium.

The mining ceased operation in the early 1970’s and today, Batchelor is best known as being the gateway to Litchfield National Park.

We check into out accommodation for the last two nights of our tour at the Batchelor Resort (Ph: 08 8976 0123).

Day Seven – THURSDAY 22 JULY 2021

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

Litchfield National Park is known for its untouched rainforests, hot springs, magnificent waterfalls and stunning scenery. 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 mounds can rise up to two metres, with the thin edge aligned north-south to take advantage of the east-west track of the sun, in an effort to keep the inside of the mound humid and the temperatures stable. Ideal conditions for a magnetic termite!

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. We visit two of the best-known and most attractive falls in the park. Situated on the western edge of Litchfield, Wangi Falls are the largest, attracting 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 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 brought 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.

Day Eight – FRIDAY 23 JULY 2021

(includes cooked breakfast and light lunch)

We farewell our hosts this morning and travel the short distance to Darwin, making our way to the domestic airport. Arriving with plenty of time for a relaxed check-in, we are assisted to the departure gate ready for our Qantas flight back home.

On arrival in Adelaide we are met at the airport by an Endeavour Tours representative. After collecting luggage, we meet the drivers and cars who will take us home with fantastic memories of Darwin and the stunning natural beauty of its surrounds.