6 day environmental journey to Kakadu and Mary River, Australia's Northern Territory
Wild Top End is a special journey created for curious adventurers who love wild places and wild creatures.
Feel the timeless peace of a landscape full of animals and very few people, wake to the manic calls of flying-foxes and cockatoos, look out across a billabong filled with water-lilies, walk on rocks created 600 million years ago.
Get to know Kakadu and Mary River National Parks including some of the lesser-known walks and rock art sites. Learn about Top End wildlife, and help protect them.
Janine Duffy and Roger Smith founded Echidna Walkabout in 1993, to foster respect for Australia�s wildlife and to ensure its wild and free-living future. Most tours depart Melbourne and travel to carefully chosen wildlife locations in south eastern Australia.
Day 1 � Darwin to Kakadu/Jabiru via Fogg Dam and Mamukala Wetlands
After an early pick up from your Darwin accommodation we�ll head eastwards into the tropical outback. On the way we�ll stop at a number of beautiful locations including famous Fogg Dam (part of the Adelaide River floodplain) where we�ll take our first walk into a monsoon forest and view some of fantastic birdlife of the Northern Territory. Then we�ll get on our way crossing a number of the huge rivers that drain the tropical wilderness including the mighty Mary River where we�ll stop for lunch and possibly see our first crocodile. We enter Kakadu National Park and stop at Mamukala Wetland and take a walk to get our first taste of the wonders of Kakadu. We�ll end the day in the small town of Jabiru and move into our accommodation. (staying here 3 nights)
Day 2 � Nourlangie Kakadu - Aboriginal Heritage, black kangaroos, red winged parrots, sunset at Nawurlandja
The Nourlangie region will be our first access to the magnificent Arnhem Land escarpment and its unique wildlife. It also helps us to understand the enormous importance of Kakadu to the Aboriginal People. Ancient sandstone ranges rise directly out of the Kakadu floodplains in a landscape that epitomises the Dreamtime in Australia. We�ll visit a number of places in this region including the Nanguluwur Rock Art site, Anbangbang Billabong and Nourlangie Rock Art site � this last site contains some of the most powerful Aboriginal paintings in Australia
Day 3 - Tropical Rivers - Morning at Ubirr � East Alligator River. Afternoon at Iligadjarr Wetlands - South Alligator River
Many who visit Ubirr come away as different people. It is possibly the most beautiful place in Kakadu with some of the most compelling wilderness landscapes on earth. It has a presence that takes humans back to their beginnings. Nearby the tidal (saltwater) section of the East Alligator River bounds the vast Aboriginal lands of Arnhem Land � to go any further requires special permission. But on the Kakadu side there is a wide variety of activities to choose from including gentle walks near the river, views of elaborate Aboriginal Rock Art sites or a climb to the top of Ubirr Rock with its stunning views across Kakadu. We'll also take the Bardedjilidji Sandstone walk which take us deep into some of Kakadu's most remarkable geological formations where we learn how the Kakadu Escarpment was formed millions of years ago.
Day 4 - Into the vast Mary River Catchment - Jabiru to Point Stuart Wilderness Lodge
Today we backtrack westward out of Kakadu to Point Stuart Wilderness Lodge deep inside Mary River National Park. Our route takes us firstly along the paved Kakadu Highway then onto the dirt roads heading north into Mary River National Park. On route we�ll stop at a number of special little places, visited by few, but very beautiful. We sometimes see Dingoes and the elusive Antilopine Kangaroo. We�ll finish up at Point Stuart Wilderness Lodge, check in, cool off in the pool, then take a peaceful walk through Jimmy Creek rainforest right beside the Lodge. Here you�ll see the huge nesting mounds of Scrub Fowl � a bird the size of a chicken that builds nests up to 3 metres high! The grounds of the Lodge abound with the beautiful little Agile Wallaby. Cockatoos and parrots of various species abound.
Day 5 - Mary River National Park - Crocodiles in the Wild in a wetland wilderness
The Mary River is famous for its abundant wildlife including some of the largest crocodiles in the world. These tough reptiles have outlived the dinosaurs.
This morning we can see crocodiles in their natural environment as we travel in a specially constructed boat to view them � and lots of other wildlife � on the Mary River. With luck you will see numerous large Saltwater Crocodiles and some smaller Freshwater Crocodiles. You�ll also see an unbelievable variety of birds including White-bellied Sea Eagles.
Day 6 - The wonders of Bird Billabong - Point Stuart to Darwin
Today after an early breakfast breakfast we head out into the bush before sunrise for our last special wildlife walk at Bird Billabong in the Mary River National Park. This large wetland - unlike any others we have visited - is nestled beside Mt Bundy Range, an ancient granite outcrop in the middle of the Mary River catchment. Thousands of birds move to this billabong as the surrounding country dries after the monsoon season. Every conceivable species of bird move across the water is huge multi-species skenes fishing and squabbling. The surrounding savannah is home to hundreds of wallabies that appear at every turn of the walking track. Raptors regularly visit in search of prey, creating havoc as they fly over the wetland. This is one of the wildlife highlights of the Top End.