Tour Description

The Kimberly and Bungle Bungles: Darwin to Broome

Fourteen Days: 23rd July 5th August 2019

Twin Share: $7995 per person. Sole Use: $9389 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)

 

Escape the cold this winter on a journey to the spectacular Kimberly region. It is an area of extraordinary contrasts, where the red rocky landscapes of the outback meet the bright turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Starting in Darwin, we tour to Broome, stopping to experience so many highlights along the way—cruising between the sandstone rocks of Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge, a scenic flight over the Bungle Bungles, the beautiful pink diamonds of Argyle Diamond Mine and a breath-taking cruise through Geikie Gorge, just to name a few. The country is inspiring and the unique wilderness experiences will capture your imagination. This is a spectacular holiday opportunity not to be missed!

 

Day One – TUESDAY 23 JULY 2019

(includes lunch and three course dinner)

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

When we touch down at Darwin Airport we will be met at the gate, assisted with our luggage and taken to meet our Endeavour Tours tour driver and mini-coach.

Situated on the edge of a harbour bigger than Sydney’s, Darwin is a fascinating tropical city. While a sophisticated, modern city in its own right, it is also steeped in history, having 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.

We enjoy lunch before visiting Darwin’s cultural institution – the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT). Set in a tropical garden on Darwin Harbour at Bullocky Point, the MAGNT complex consists of five major permanent galleries, a touring gallery, educational facilities, a theatre and the museum shop.  The collections encompass Aboriginal art and material culture, visual arts, craft, Southeast Asian and Oceanic maritime archaeology, Northern Territory history, natural sciences and also features displays from the Australian Pearling Exhibition.

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.

Later we check into our hotel the Doubletree by Hilton (Ph. 08 8980 0800) where we will be staying for the next three nights.

 

Day Two – WEDNESDAY 24 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,  the city is one of Australia’s most modern capitals. With world-class natural and cultural attractions, there is no better way to get to know this city than be guided by a local. This morning we are taken on a tour, to see the highlights and hear the fascinating stories of Darwin’s history and characters.

Following this interesting and informative tour, we visit the famous Crocosaurus Cove located in the heart of Darwin City. At this unique attraction we meet some of the largest saltwater crocodiles in captivity, as well as crocodile hatchlings and juveniles. We see the biggest display of Australian reptiles in the world, a two-storey fresh water aquarium, a turtle sanctuary, as well as local Aboriginal art and culture displays. Lunch is enjoyed at our leisure and there is plenty of time to wander through the displays.

On returning to our hotel we have time to freshen up and 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 featuring 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 25 JULY 2019

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

After 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 make our way to the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens. Following our morning tea in this relaxing location at Eva’s Café, 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 their collections of tropical species, we can wander through monsoon forests, coastal fore-dunes, mangroves and woodlands in this delightful garden.

A short drive from Darwin is the award-winning Territory Wildlife Park. Set in 400 hectares of natural bushland and home to the largest collection of NT wildlife, we will enjoy lunch before spending time meandering through 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 immerse ourselves (not literally!) in the underwater world of the Aquarium Tunnel. 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 aren’t overly fond of the thought of walking through the Park, a special transporter provides an easier option to explore 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!

We then return to our hotel for our last night in Darwin.

 

Day Four – FRIDAY 26 JULY 2019

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

This morning we farewell our hosts in Darwin and travel south towards the town of Adelaide River.

We enjoy morning tea before visiting 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 and 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 our visit, we travel to Pine Creek where we stop for lunch. This small town grew with the discovery of gold back in the 1880’s. The Pine Creek Lookout, once known as Enterprise Hill, gives us a panoramic view of the open cut pit that remained when Pine Creek Goldfields ceased operation in 1994. Before its closure, more than 764,000 ounces of gold were extracted from this mine. We visit the 135 metre deep pit, which has since been filled with water, before re-joining the Stuart Highway to continue our journey.

Further south we leave the highway and venture in to Edith Falls. This delightful spot, located in Nitmiluk National Park, is a popular swimming hole, with a cascade of falls dropping into a large pandanus-fringed pool. We pause here to enjoy the location and atmosphere. You might even like to take the opportunity to dip your toes in the water!

Late afternoon, we continue to Katherine and our accommodation for the next two nights at Knotts Crossing Resort (Ph. 08 8972 2511).

 

Day Five – SATURDAY 27 JULY 2019

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

This morning we are in for treat! Following breakfast we re-enter Nitmiluk National Park, destined for a different location today. The park features spectacular sandstone country, broad valleys and many significant cultural sites. We first take a look around the displays at the Visitors and Interpretative Centre to learn about the geology, landscape and aboriginal heritage of the park.

Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge is the main attraction here and consists of 13 natural gorges, carved through sandstone by the Katherine River. The gorges wind through 12 kilometres, with walls more than 70 metres high. We take a cruise, exploring the first two gorges of this picturesque area, listening to a comprehensive and informative commentary along the way. Between the two gorges is a short walk, as they are separated by large rocks and boulders in the dry season. This is a fascinating cruise and the massive sandstone walls are spectacular.

We return to the Visitors Centre to enjoy lunch before heading back to Katherine.

Originally an outpost on the Overland Telegraph Line between Adelaide to Darwin, Katherine grew with the development of transport, local industry and tourism. We’ll head to the Visitor Centre to learn more  and watch the ‘The Big Wet’ – a gold medal winning movie at the New York Film Festival in 1994. The film provides a striking and vivid portrayal of the wildlife in Australia’s Northern Tropics, epic in their beauty yet unforgiving in their extensive monsoon season.

Back at our accommodation we will have a lot to talk about over dinner before retiring for the night.

 

Day Six – SUNDAY 28 JULY 2019

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

Today we depart Katherine and begin the journey to Western Australia! As we travel along the Victoria Highway we witness spectacular scenery, particularly on our journey through Judbarra / Gregory National Park. The second largest park in the Northern Territory, its landscape is diverse as it sits in the transition zone between the tropical and semi-arid regions of the state. Late morning we arrive at Victoria River Crossing, where we stop to enjoy refreshments.

Continuing along the highway, we arrive in Timber Creek for lunch. The town was named by the explorer A.C. Gregory, whose boat was wrecked along the Victoria River. It was at the site where Timber Creek is now, that he had to stop and cut some wood to repair the hole in his vessel.

After lunch we make our way to the site of Gregory’s camp, also a sacred Aboriginal site. A magnificent Boab tree, Gregory’s Tree, still stands today with the date ‘July 2nd 1856’ clearly carved into it.

We continue to the Northern Territory/Western Australia Border. From here it is not much further to Kununurra , the largest town in Western Australia north of Broome and situated among the scenic hills and ranges of the far north-east Kimberley region.

We check in to the Ibis Styles Kununurra (Ph. 08 9168 4000), our home for the next three nights. There will be time to relax this afternoon before sitting down to a delicious three course meal.

 

Day Seven – MONDAY 29 JULY 2019

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

We have an early start this morning, but it will definitely be worth it! After heading to the airport we take off at 6am on a two hour scenic flight over the Bungle Bungles. This is the best time of the day for an experience of this nature as we beat the Kimberley heat, enjoy crystal clear views of the Bungle Bungles and witness the sunrise creating impressive formations over the rocky outcrops. This is a truly exhilarating way to take in this iconic Kimberley experience. We see the Diversion Dam, Lake Kununurra, and the Carr Boyd Range, which holds back the waters of Western Australia’s inland sea, Lake Argyle. We also fly past Lissadell Homestead, over the Osmand Range and of course the Bungle Bungles, where we have the most amazing views of these spectacular mountains.

After the flight, our driver takes us back to our motel for a relaxed breakfast. Amongst this ancient landscape, Kununurra is a relatively new town, established in 1961 as a service centre for the Ord River Irrigation Scheme. After fuelling up we set off on a guided tour to find out more.

Following our lunch we visit the Mount Romance Sandalwood Factory, a ‘branch-to-bottle’ operation that has been producing Sandalwood oil and beauty products for 15 years. We have the opportunity to browse their showroom with a range of fabulous products.

Since we’ve had an early start this morning, there is some free time this afternoon to relax back at the motel or perhaps browse the local galleries looking at the spectacular jewellery and artwork featuring Zebra Rock, unique to Kunnanurra.

 

Day Eight – TUESDAY 30 JULY 2019

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

After breakfast we make our way to Lake Argyle, Australia’s largest man-made body of freshwater. It is several times bigger than Sydney Harbour, covering over 900 square kilometres at full supply, with a flood capacity in excess of 2000 square kilometers. Lake Argyle is part of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme which was a progressive and far-sighted move to develop the tropical north of Western Australia. During “the wet” the rivers of the East Kimberley become raging torrents. At times the Ord River can empty 50 million litres a second into the Cambridge Gulf!

We stop to enjoy morning tea and visit the Historic Durack Homestead Museum which provides a fascinating insight into the lives of the Durack family, early pioneers in the Kimberley. We learn about their grueling two year journey from Queensland to Kununurra with 2000 head of cattle, and discover the hardships of establishing a cattle station back in the 1800’s.

Following lunch in the village and the opportunity to visit the spectacular Lake Argyle lookout at the dam wall, we embark on a three and a half hour cruise up the Ord River, back to Kununurrra. Along this 55 kilometre stretch, we have the opportunity to witness spectacular scenery, crocodiles, native birdlife and flying foxes, as well as being entertained by the informative on-board commentary.

On arrival in Kununurra, we will be met by our driver who will return us to our accommodation for our last night in town.

 

Day Nine – WEDNESDAY 31 JULY 2019

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

After farewelling our hosts, we journey south to the tiny town of Doon Doon where we stop to stretch our legs.

Continuing on, we arrive at the Argyle Diamond Mine where we are taken on a guided tour. As Australia’s major diamond producer, they extract the extremely rare and valuable pink diamonds, as well as fine whites and intriguing champagne and cognac diamonds. The Argyle Diamond Mine is one of the most technologically advanced mines in the world and has put Australia on the map as the world’s biggest diamond producer in volume.

After lunch, we journey south to Halls Creek, on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert. Halls Creek was the site of Western Australia’s first gold rush which lasted for a mere three months, with the diggers leaving for the more lucrative southern goldfields of Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie.

Arriving at the Kimberley Hotel, Halls Creek (Ph. 08 9168 6101) we have time to freshen up before our dinner together.

 

Day Ten – THURSDAY 1 AUGUST 2019

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

Our experience across the Kimberly continues today, as we travel west along the Great Northern Highway to Mary Pool. This secluded rest area off the highway and on the banks of the Mary River, is where we will enjoy our morning tea.

Back on the road we continue our journey to Fitzroy Crossing, a small town surrounded by the vast floodplains of the Fitzroy River.

We enjoy lunch before departing to experience another highlight, a cruise through Geikie Gorge. Carved between the Geikie and Oscar Ranges in the Devonian geological period, this is one of the most famous gorges in the Kimberley region. During the wet season, the Gorge floods and leaves bleached markings along the colourful gorge walls, making this a natural marvel. We board a cruise vessel that will take us through the Gorge, while we hear about the fascinating geology of this ancient reef and discover the huge array of wildlife including freshwater crocodiles, birds and fish.

After our scenically spectacular cruise, we make our way back to Fitzroy Crossing to check in to our accommodation for the evening, at the Fitzroy River Lodge (Ph. 08 9191 5141).

 

Day Eleven –  FRIDAY 2 AUGUST 2019

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

Our destination today is the coastal town of Broome, so after breakfast we depart Fitzroy Crossing and journey further through the Kimberley to Ellendale, home of the world’s leading producer of ‘fancy’ yellow diamonds.  We have morning tea before setting off again.

Making our way to Willare, a small town that sits on the eastern side of the Fitzroy River and south of King Sound Gulf where the river flows out to the sea, we stop for lunch.

We then board the bus to complete the final leg of today’s journey. With a comfort stop and some time to stretch our legs at Roebuck, we arrive in Broome by late afternoon. Situated on the coast at the southern tip of the Kimberly region, Broome is bound by wide sandy beaches and turquoise water. The discovery of rich pearling grounds off the coast in the 1880’s led to the foundation of the township in 1883 and by 1910 it had become the world’s leading pearling centre. Today the pearling industry remains a vibrant part of the community.

Our home for the next three nights is at the Oaks Resort Broome (Ph. 08 9192 9500) where we check in and settle into our rooms before dinner.

 

Day Twelve – SATURDAY 3 AUGUST 2019

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

Today we spend a relaxing day in Broome, getting to know the area and understand the town’s rich history. We start with a guided tour around the city, taking in the sights and sounds of Broome with the expertise of a local.

Late morning we take a short drive out of town to The Mango Place. This farm is a little oasis of mango delights, with an extensive range of unique products and produce, from homemade ice-cream, teas and sauces to essential oils and beauty products. We can sit under the shade trees and enjoy a mango wine, peruse the shop or take a leisurely wander along the Rainbow Walk Trail to explore the gardens and mango farm. We also enjoy lunch in this beautiful setting.

Early afternoon, we make our way back into town and take time to explore Broome’s popular export industry. It is often said that Broome’s pearling industry is as rich in culture as it is in pearls, so at Pearl Luggers Experience, we discover the impact pearling has had on north-Western Australia and the character of Broome. We see an interesting array of pearling equipment and memorabilia, from actual hard hat diving suits to the hand-powered pumps which fed precious air to the divers below. Also on display are Broome’s last remaining wooden pearling luggers; the Sam Male and DMcD, as well as rare artefacts and archival footage of the divers at work. Be sure to see the pearl on display valued at over $100,000!

This evening we have a special dinner planned. Just before sunset we will depart for Cable Beach. This 22 kilometre beach of pristine white sand and turquoise water is the ideal spot to view a perfect Broome sunset. To make the most of our time here, we have dinner at a local restaurant overlooking the water.

At the close of a delightful day, we return to our motel to rest.

 

Day Thirteen – SUNDAY 4 AUGUST 2019

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

This morning have some free time to explore beautiful Broome. We can spend time walking along one of the stunning beaches, perhaps browse the shops in town or simply relax at our accommodation.

Mid-morning we are taken to the WA Tourism Award winning Willie Creek Pearl Farm to see how the stunning and rare Australian south-sea cultured pearl is produced.  We enjoy lunch here and have a guided tour and cruise to show us the intricate processes of Broome’s modern cultured pearl industry, from the seeding of an oyster to the harvesting and grading of a pearl. They also have a showroom where we can see these magnificent pearls set in beautiful pieces of jewellery.

When we return to Broome this afternoon, there will be time for those passengers wishing to take a camel ride along the beach (at passengers own expense), or to simply enjoy another spectacular Broome sunset, before returning to our accommodation for our last dinner together on this tour.

 

Day Fourteen – MONDAY 5 AUGUST 2019

(includes cooked breakfast and light lunch)

After breakfast we will make our way to the Broome airport arriving with plenty of time for a relaxed check-in. We are assisted through the process and to the departure gate ready for our Qantas flight to Perth.

At the Perth Airport we are met by a guide who will provide assistance and guide us to the next gate for boarding our flight home to Adelaide. There will be time to relax at Perth Airport before our flight departs.

On arrival in Adelaide we are met by the cars and drivers who will take us home to our doors after our incredible journey from Darwin to Broome, across the breath taking region of the Kimberley.