The beautiful Tiwi Islands comprise of two main islands – Bathurst and Melville, located 80 kilometres north of Darwin. Often referred to as the ‘Islands of Smiles’, the residents of the Tiwi Islands are mostly of Aboriginal descent and it’s these welcoming people and their culture that is the key drawcard. They are known for their traditional lifestyle, stunning artworks, vibrant fabrics and textile, not to mention their passion for Aussie rules. Alongside the locals, the other drawcard is nature herself – the Tiwi islands are one of the most untouched ecosystems in Australia and offer a wealth of nature based adventures.
Visitors can do day trips from Darwin via ferry, helicopter, seaplane or private charter, or they can spend a little longer and truly immerse in this remote and wonderful destination.
Accommodation on the Tiwi Islands – Tiwi Island Retreat
Tiwi Island Retreat is a remote, exclusive and pristine beachfront property located on the South West coast of Bathurst Island. It is locally owned and operated by National Geographic’s Outback Wrangler, Matt Wright.
Tiwi Island Retreat is the perfect place for any intrepid explorer looking to get off the beaten track and enjoy a truly pristine, remote island holiday.
Visitors can simply relax and enjoy the exclusive beach front location and pool, or experience once in a lifetime outback and fishing adventures, helicopter and 4wd buggy tours, wildlife encounters or amazing Indigenous arts and cultural tours.
Experiences on the Tiwi Islands
Beach Buggy Cruise & Cheese Platter – Travel along the pristine 4 Mile Beach by quad bike to a secret creek spot followed by drinks and a cheese platter.
Mud Crabbing & Fishing – Pull crab pots, fish for barramundi in the creeks and eating your catch at the end of the day.
Remote Swimming Hole Helicopter Adventure – Explore the beauty of this pristine location from the air combined with a visit and swim in the crystal-clear waters of one of Australia’s most remote water holes.
Creek Fishing Adventure – Exceptional once in a lifetime barramundi fishing experience in one of the most remote, pristine fishing environments in the world.
Private Indigenous Arts & Cultural Experience – Spectacular scenic flight across Bathurst Island combined with a truly special Indigenous art and cultural tour ran on ‘Tiwi time’.
Deep Sea Fishing Charter – Our full day deep sea fishing charter takes you to some of the most remote, pristine fishing environments in the world.
Heli-fishing adventures – You’ll be flown to a remote, pristine and exclusive fishing locations around the the Tiwi Islands, targeting the elusive Barramundi.
Grab a group of friends for a four-night trip just one-hour north of Sydney. Below is an example of a small-group nature-based getaway that can be dialled up or down to suit the group’s passions and budget. Finishing at the brand new Marramarra Lodge, this itinerary will leave guests feeling refreshed and reinvigorated after spending time in the stunning Hawkesbury region.
Day 1: Self drive to Mooney Mooney (or seaplane / heli options). Pearls of Australia Shellar door experience followed by Pearl Farm tour. Remote location drop-off for Welcome to Country followed by guided Aboriginal cultural walk. Sundowners with a view and local gin tasting. Dinner under the stars.
Stay: Choice of Bouddi Peninsula accommodation
Day 2: Morning guided nature walk. Gourmet picnic lunch at secret historic ruins. Afternoon / sunset sailing on the Hawkesbury. Waterside dinner.
Stay: Bouddi Peninsula accommodation
Day 3: Morning nature wellness session / Optional beach time if weather permits. Scenic road transfer to boat ramp for transfer to Marramarra Lodge. Afternoon at leisure. Sundowner Hawkesbury cruise followed by 6 course degustation.
Stay: Marramarra Lodge
Day 4: Morning kayak or SUP to historic Bar Island for guided tour. Choice of Marramarra Lodge activities. Farewell dinner
Stay: Marramarra Lodge
Experience Canberra’s premier wildlife sanctuary like never before with the ultimate family sleepover – A Wild Night out At Tidbinbilla with one-night adventures available from Friday 25 September 2020 to Saturday 10 October 2020.
From the minute you arrive at the Wilderness Family Camp you will be immersed in nature. Everyone will be welcomed to the camp, learning about the area. On each trip is a range of family-friendly activities, giving guests their own unique journey at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.
Star gazing and a night wildlife walk is a must in this peaceful reserve, just out of Canberra. It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind and spend some quality time with the family.
A hot BBQ buffet is provided for dinner, and after a restful night sleep, you can enjoy a continental breakfast with hot tea and coffee.
Overnight accommodation in Wilderness Family Camp (Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve) with dinner and breakfast included in packages.
FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES TO CHOOSE FROM
With many activities on offer, guests will have a fun packed weekend for the whole family to enjoy. From CSI Tidbinbilla, to Hi-Tech Wildlife and behind the scenes at the vet centre our itineraries offer something for eveyone.
CSI Tidbinbilla – where families get to join a fun CSI’ style investigation where we hunt for the predator who has taken one of our Potaroos from the Eucalypt forest. Solve the clues to catch the bad guy and learn more about predators while taking part in this interactive activity.
Aboriginal Hanging Rock – Join a Murrumbung Aboriginal Ranger and explore the Tidbinbilla Aboriginal Rock Shelters. See how people used to live and survive, what it takes to live in the wild and learn about bush tucker foods
Hi Tech Wildlife – Walk at dusk in the Eucalypt Forest as we explore the use of different technologies to monitor critters including bandicoots, potaroos and koalas. Get hands on with scanners, cameras, goggles and other equipment used in the reserve!
Behind the Scene’s at the Vet Centre – Meet the Wildlife team and get up close and personal with a critically endangered Northern Corroboree Frog and find out what goes on behind closed doors.
One night family glamping tent for two adults and two children
Please explain a little bit about who you are and what you do as an Aboriginal cultural guide in Broome. I am a Yawuru man of the Broome region in the Kimberley of Western Australia and I offer a variety of experiences that blends the beauty of the region with its unique and fascinating history and culture of the Aboriginal people!
What got you started as an Aboriginal cultural guide and what do you find most interesting about it? I was one of two Emerging Curators in my previous employment and was involved in several curatorial projects that stimulated my curiosities and so I developed a passion for history and the survival of my Aboriginal culture and language. This led me to start my tourism operations. The most interesting part of it is that I actually have a direct link to our amazing history in Broome and that my culture is embedded within the landscape of Broome so I truly have a deeper connection with all my experiences that I offer.
How do you bring Aboriginal culture to life on your tours? I think of myself as a ‘curator out on country’ and that the natural and built environment is my museum. By using historical documents and Aboriginal story telling / oral history I am able to give my guests a true understanding of who and what we are as a people and when and where certain historical events took place.
Why do you think it’s important that people learn about Aboriginal culture? I think Domestic and International visitors in Australia are becoming more and more curious about our ancient Aboriginal culture and I believe it is our responsibility as Aboriginal people to provide opportunities for these visitors to learn about us! I always say that this is ‘reconciliation’ in practice!
If people wanted to find out more about Aboriginal Culture are there any particular books, documentaries or websites you would recommend? Broome has been well documented over the past 140 years but there are some stand out books about our Aboriginal people and story including – Lustre- Pearling and Australia Gularabulu Reading the Country Once in Broome This is My Word Yawuru Cultural Management Plan Re-imagining Australia www.bates.org.au www.yawuru.com www.goolarri.com
What’s your favourite Australian animal and why? The Black Kite because there are many in Broome and they have an affinity with fire like myself.
What place is Australia’s best-kept secret? The Dinosaur Coast of the West Kimberley region!
What haven’t you seen / done in Australia that you’d like to and why? I would like to see more of the east coast of Australia because I haven’t spent much time exploring there and understanding the Aboriginal cultures for that coastline!
Alquemie’s Australian Specialist Anthony Radic journeyed to the Kimberley, Western Australia in April 2018 for an eight night educational. Part of this was a 4 day, 3 night ‘Bungle Bungles Insight’ journey by 4×4 starting in Broome and ending in Kununurra with the key highlight being the UNESCO World Heritage listed bee-hive striped domes of the Bungle Bungles, only ‘discovered’ in the mid 1980s although Aboriginal occupancy in the region dates back tens of thousands of years.
Highlights included: Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Mimbi Caves, Halls Creek, Echidna Chasm, Escarpment Walk, Stonehenge, The Bungle Bungle Domes, Elephant Rock, Prison Boad Tree, Picanniny Creek & Lookout, Cathedral Gorge.
Anthony’s feedback on the journey:
Excellent guiding. Aboriginal knowledge and history was superb.
My guide Ed knew the locals really well which is perfect when guiding in these areas.
The trip is fully flexible and can also include the Pilbara region
Below is his itinerary and photos.
Day 1 Derby, Gibb River Road, Fitzroy River Lodge
From Broome Anthony travelled through the remote and beautiful landscape of the Western Kimberley, learnt about local history, people and the environment before crossing the Fitzroy River and visiting the a famous 1,500 year old Boab
Next stop was the township of Derby located on the tidal mud flats on the edge of the King Sound, known for having the highest tidal range of any port in Australia. Here they also took the opportunity to drive on the remote cattle track, the Gibb River Road.
A short stop at the wonderful Mowanjum Aboriginal Art & Cultural Centre set the scene for the rest of the journey, educating Anthony about the Wandjina & Gwion Gwion spirits, so important in the region. Afterwards they passed the Oscar Ranges before arriving at comfortable accommodation on the banks of the Fitzroy River.
Day 2 Halls Creek, Spring Creek Track, Mimbi Caves
The next day they ventured into Purnululu National Park by way of the Mimbi Caves, which Anthony loved. A Welcome to Country ceremony by the local people whose land they were on started the proceedings. Inside the caves he sat in the dark and listened to stories of how traditional landowners lived in caves as late as the city of Darwin getting bombed. The afternoon was an adventurous 4WD journey along the Spring Creek Track.
Day 3 Echidna Chasm, Scenic Flight
Anthony loved his day at the northern extremity of Purnululu National Park exploring Echidna Chasm, known for its towering Livistonia Palm trees. His walk up the creek bed was rewarded with a bird’s eye views of the shaded escarpment. Another walk through the bloodwoods went around the base of the massif.
Day 4 Picanniny Creek, Cathedral Gorge, (Optional Helicopter)
Anthony’s last morning was spent exploring the extraordinary World Heritage protected Purnululu National Park and the famous Bungle Bungle domes. Rivers created this landscape of unique orange and black striped ‘beehive’ geological formations over a period of 20 million years. Unbelievably, only the locals knew it existed until the early 1980’s.
A gentle walk along the dry Picanniny Creek took Anthony to a look out and then into stunning Cathedral Gorge, where towering rocks create a natural amphitheatre.
After a picnic lunch he travelled to the Bungles airstrip for a scenic flight over the Argyle Diamond Mine landing in the vibrant East Kimberley town of Kununurra for the end of his trip.
Anthony’s trip was with Instyle Adventures and he stayed at Fitzroy River Lodge (1 night) and Bungle Bungle’s Savannah Lodge (2 nights). Please contact Anthony for more detailed information about his journey.
Discover the journey of the Miriuwung people and the story of the Argyle Diamond mine from Dreamtime to Diamonds as interpreted by your host, North-East Kimberley man Ted Hall.
This exceptional one day experience by light aircraft, 4×4 and boat takes travellers on an enchanting journey across vast landscapes to the enormous Argyle Diamond mine and extraordinary man-made lake Argyle. Highlights include landing at the Mandangala community, where you are welcomed with a traditional “Muntha”, a ceremony to ensure safe passage through his land, and a close up inspection of the Argyle Diamond mine processing plant, and the ingenious technology used to extract these precious gems.
Ted tells of the geological formation and eventual discovery of diamonds on his country, of the sorrow at the desecration of an important sacred site, but also happily of the opportunities and partnerships that have benefited his people.
It’s a fascinating insight into the culture of the Miriuwung people and modern day issues of tradition versus prosperity, all to the back drop of Australia’s rich red escarpments and wide, brown land.
Add some romance – A bespoke rare pink diamond jewellery creation
The Argyle diamond mine in the remote East Kimberley region of Western Australia is one of the world’s largest supplier of diamonds. Since 1983 it has produced more than 800 million carats of rough diamonds.
Revered for its rare and exquisite pink diamonds, just 50 to 60 of these rare natural treasures are brought to life as polished masterpieces and offered for sale each year.
For a special romantic occasion, your team at Alquemie can build into your itinerary the creation of a bespoke pink diamond piece of jewellery. To enquire about this please contact Alquemie.
Kimberley Coastal Camp in the far north of Australia is one of our favourite places in the Kimberley region. With no ensuites, only cold showers, and sandy floors it may be seen as an odd choice but these details are minor compared to the incredible experience you will have. This unique destination is so remote that there is no road access, and with a maximum of just 16 guests, you will truly feel like you are one of the luckiest people on earth.
The small lodge is nestled unobtrusively on the pristine shores of the Admiralty Gulf, opposite the Mitchell Plateau and famous Mitchell Falls in one of the most beautiful and remote parts of the Kimberley. The camp has been built in a rustic style with timber beams and corrugated roofing with an eclectic combination of books, fishing tackle and beachcomber treasures for decoration. There are no pre-set itineraries here. You set the pace and can be as active or laid back as you like.
The area is a fisherman’s paradise and if you can catch it, they can cook it! Guided bush walks take you to Aboriginal rock art galleries that include the unique Bradshaw paintings and the younger but equally beautiful Wandjina art. Other activities during your stay will include boat trips to fish, visits to remote islands and beaches or even a helicopter flight over the Mitchell Falls.
This is one of the least explored and most spectacular coastlines in Australia – the craggy cliffs coming down to the water’s edge, with sandstone and shell covered beaches make this area nearly inaccessible. All the ingredients for a perfect wilderness holiday are here – a pristine environment, deserted beaches, wildlife and birds, marine adventure, delicious fresh food, a cooling pool and magnificent scenery.
The ‘Shed’ is the open sided living area with high raked ceilings and is the place to socialise or chill out with a good book. An open plan kitchen and ‘help yourself to the fridge’ attitude ensures a relaxed, friendly camp atmosphere. The nucleus of the lodge with its high raked ceilings is open to the gentle sea breezes and features rustic handmade furniture from recycled timbers, designer soft furnishings, a unique outback bar, and is the setting for wonderful gourmet meals Kimberley Coastal Camp has become famous for.
Accommodation is provided in hand built spacious guest gazebos scattered amongst native grasses and red sandstone. Just sixteen guests can be accommodated in the comfortable but simple wooden chaletsEach gazebo takes full advantage of the tranquil views over the Admiralty Gulf and is elegantly furnished with 5 star king size or twin single beds fitted with luxurious Sheridan linen, screened walls, handmade timber furniture, reading lamps and a ceiling fan. Crushed coral and sand make up the floor with small bedside mats and there is a bedside lamp, mirror, bedside table and a fan. The shared bathroom facilities that open to the sky are utterly in tune with this wild and remote environment and are not in any way an imposition.
Incredible Indigenous rock art
The ultimate in experiential travel, Kimberley Coastal Camp is ideally located at the centre of one of the world’s finest repositories of indigenous rock art. With many rock art panels and caves within close walking distance, guests are invited to experience intimate encounters with this ancient culture via fully guided bush walks or scenic boat rides. The rare Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) is dated no less than 17 500 years old (some suggest older) and is currently testing the world’s best scientific minds. The more recent Wandjina rock art with radiating headdresses and mouthless faces decorate thousands of caves throughout this country known to traditional owners as Yalrundair.
Superb fishing conditions entice the most avid anglers and adventurers. The Admiralty Gulf is considered one of Australia’s greatest fishing destinations. Guests can choose to take their catch ashore on an island fringed by Boab trees where our guide will prepare it ‘bush style’ on the open coals.
Even by Kimberley standards, Kimberley Coastal Camp is isolated. With access limited to helicopter and float plane, and numbers kept to a minimum, fishing here is for the privileged few.
Fish these abundant waters for Barramundi, Mangrove Jack, Fingermark, Mulloway (Northern Black Jew Fish), Threadfin Salmon, Giant Trevally, Spanish Mackerel, Tuna, Queen Fish, Coral Trout, Blue Bone and numerous other tropical species. In one day it is possible to catch everything from Barramundi to Blue Bone to Blue Fin Tuna.
Huge tidal rivers together with mangrove lined creeks, estuaries, flats, offshore reefs and islands as well as blue water, ensure an exciting variety of fishing options. Kimberley Coastal Camp is one of very few fishing destinations in Australia able to offer such diverse options to the keen angler.
Wild dingoes, sea eagles, olive pythons, endangered quolls, and many other native animals share this country known to traditional owners as ‘Yalrundair‘, a rich expanse of land made up of towering escarpments and sandstone rock formations. This is true wilderness, unspoiled by the introduction of feral animals, roads and pollution.
Guided walks cater to those wishing to venture on a short stroll or a challenging all day hike. Explore by boat scenic river systems and abundant bird life. Or relax on the daybed and admire wild dingoes, sea eagles and Brahminy kites as they descend at sunset to enjoy their share of the day’s catch.
Kimberley Coastal Camp has been catering to the discerning traveller since 1994 with personalised itineraries, a staff to guest ratio of no less than 1 staff member per 3 guests, and gourmet food utilising fresh local produce and native Australian bush tuckers. This is hosted accommodation at its best.
Did you know that Australia has it’s own mysterious geoglyph, on par with the Nazcar lines of Peru? The Marree man (so named due to its proximity to the town of Marree), is an engraving in the Australian desert of an indigenous figure of a man with a spear or boomerang. It’s 4.2km-long with a circumference of 28km. It’s so big, that it can only truely be seen from the air.
The Marree man mysteriously appeared suddenly in outback South Australia near Lake Eyre almost two decades ago. One day it wasn’t there, the next it was. Nobody knows who did it or how, although it hasn’t come from outer space – that is for sure. Conjecture is that it was created by people from the United States or an Australian artist named Bardius Goldberg, but nobody has stepped forward to confirm.
Over the years it started to fade but has recently been restored to its former glory, making a scenic flight to see it, a valuable addition to any trip to outback South Australia. We’d recommend tacking it on as a day trip with a 3 or 4 night stay at Arkaba in the Flinders Ranges. Your pilot will also show you Lake Eyre and Wilpena Pound from above to give you a real sense of how spectacular Australia’s desert landscape can be.
From jumping crocs to stunning landscapes to meeting indigenous artists, our 3-day famil trip with Sab Lord of Lord’s Safaris had it all. We went from Darwin to Kakadu and back, with a dose of Arnhemland thrown in, and it was so great to finally meet the legend himself in person – he really is larger than life.
Here are some of the highlights…
On our way to Kakadu we boarded a vessel on the Adelaide river for a one hour croc spotting cruise. I’m not normally a fan of wildlife tourism where animals can be disrupted from their natural behaviour so I was a bit hesitant but it blew me away. Spot crocs we did! Lots of them. And BIG ones. It was kind of scary but in a thrilling way, and yet in the end I felt a real affection for them, as if they were puppies. Seeing the crocs ‘jump’ is to witness an almighty power that is just fascinating and commands complete respect of these relics of the dinosaurs. It was a real highlight of the trip.
Sab’s Camp in Kakadu
With 8 semi-permanent mesh-sided huts, Lord’s Safaris private campsite is a oasis away from the crowds of Kakadu. You are definitely camping but it’s very comfortable. We sat around the campfire each evening after our daily excursions, glass of wine in hand, as Sab expertly cooked us dinner (how one cooks a roast beef with veg to perfection over a fire pit I’ll never know!) and related stories of his childhood growing up in the area. My twin-bed was extremely comfortable and I slept like a baby although as a city girl, going to sleep to the sounds of only the bush took a bit of getting used to. One night we heard dingoes howling – quite an eerie sound – but that’s all part of the reason we had come here, to get closer to nature. Waking up in the morning as the daylight began to filter through the mesh walls, was a lovely experience, as was our delicious bacon and eggs for breakfast, once again cooked perfectly by Sab over the campfire.
Swimming atop a gorgeous waterfall
Kakadu is dotted with incredible waterholes and Sab knows exactly where to take his guests to wow them. We spent a good few hours at Gunlom Falls – it was a steep but short climb to the top and we were rewarded with some stunning natural swimming holes that fed a large 70 metre waterfall. We swam and had a picnic lunch, enjoying views as far as the eye could see over Kakadu and relishing the cool water on a hot day. Upon decent we visited the lagoon at the bottom of the waterfall (famous for a scene in Crocodile Dundee) which we decided was even more beautiful than where we had just been, and we jumped in for another swim.
Yellow Water Sunset Cruise
If you’ve only got time for one or two things whilst in Kakadu I would highly recommend the Yellow Water sunset cruise. It’s just gorgeous. The stillness of the water, the prolific bird life, the bright green of the grasses contrasting with the pink flowers of the water lilies and the blue of the sky, the occasional croc cruising alongside our boat and finally watching the sun set and the water reflect its orange glow all added up to a truly beautiful experience.
Injalak Rock Art
After an exciting river crossing in Sab’s 4×4 we headed into Arnhemland where we were given permission to see some of Australia’s most outstanding ancient rock art galleries at Injalak near Gunbalanya. Our local guide Roland, himself an artist, showed us the extensive art works that range between 100 and 8,000 years old. He taught us the stories and the meanings behind the art and how they were created using natural materials. We were also taken to an ancient burial site where a skeleton still remains, and our entire group felt very privileged to have had this experience.
The main man from Lord’s Safaris – Sab himself
Of course the final highlight of the trip was Sab Lord himself. What a character! He’s a true Aussie larrikin whose cheeky spirit, relaxed nature and infinite knowledge of the region makes him on of Australia’s best guides. To find out more about him click here. > A big thanks to Sab and the team at Lord’s safaris for a wonderful trip and showing us his world – it really was terrific.
Immerse yourself in the stone country of awe-inspiring World Heritage Listed Kakadu National Park – one of Australia’s greatest strongholds of Aboriginal rock art and culture. The Ultimate Kakadu Experience is the latest addition at Bamurru Plains and is available with a 3 or 4 night stay. After fantastic rain in the Top End, the floodplains of Bamurru are looking incredible, with vivid colours and clouds putting on a show. In addition, the abundance of wildlife that has already returned is a sign for a fabulous season ahead in 2017 so a visit to Kakadu is the icing on the cake.
Kakadu covers an amazing 20,000 square-kilometres and is recognised for its incredible natural beauty and also its cultural significance to the Aboriginal people who have inhabited the area for over 50,000 years. Experience ancient rock art, beautiful rocky escarpment country and a diverse ecosystem, with about one third of all Australia’s bird species in the park!
Just a short hop from Bamurru Plains by light aircraft across the river systems that separate Bamurru Plains from Kakadu brings you to the heart of this country. Rock art galleries reveal stories of Aboriginal people and their ancient culture. Textures of colours, vistas across savannah woodlands and floodplains provide a sense of the spirituality of this ancient landscape.
From rock overhangs and caves at Ubirr Rock (think classic scenes from Crocodile Dundee) to the meandering waters of the East Alligator River that drains from the stone country of Arnhem Land and marks the boundary between Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land, this day will expose the senses to country that is rich in Aboriginal culture, flora and fauna.
Travelling with Wild Bush Luxury’s field guides in our custom built vehicle, your day will include a bush picnic lunch and the chance to spend time with an Aboriginal guide on the waters of the East Alligator River before returning overland, with a stop at the Bowali Visitor Centre, returning in time for sundowner drinks, canapes and the comfort of the safari lodge as the sun sets over Bamurru Plains.
Your Kakadu Day Trip is available to be booked as a shared excursion with other Bamurru Plains guests on a Tuesday or Friday or a private option on all other days of the week.