From Kakadu National Park to Darwin extends an area known as the ‘top end’ of Australia. It is where warm weather, stunning contrasting outback terrain and delicate vegetation and unique fauna merge, to provide an eco-system vacant of modern society, making it another of the great places to stay in Australia.
Water-lilies drift on billabongs, flocks of magpie geese and cockatoos hang suspended in thermal currents, with caves and rock faces embellished in ancient aboriginal art becoming artefacts from an age passed.
Kakadu – owned by the Aboriginal people – covers approximately 20,000 square kilometres of some of Australia’s most untamed and alluring wilderness. Scattered with rainforest alcoves, forest swamps and dwarf scrubland, Kakadu is home to some of Australia’s most exclusive and rare animal species. However, caution must be taken when exploring this magnificent expanse because the crocodiles that also live here are occasionally prone to chewing on the odd foolish tourist who doesn’t follow their tour guide’s safety instructions!
Ignorant Tourists beware!
Climate ranges from about 19 degrees celsius in July (dry-season) and up to a maximum of about 30 degrees, with a minimum of 25 degrees in January (wet-season) and up to 32 degrees maximum.
Two of the easiest-to-get-to rock-art sites are Ubirr and Nourlangie Rock, with many of the paintings being over 60,000 years old. Luxury travel in the top end is via 4WD with some of the most stunning sites to be seen by pre-arranged and guided safari tours.
Several of the more well known ones are:
- Guliyambi East Alligator River Cruises – which show the stark contrast of the landscape and denotes the scenic river setting
- Magela Cultural and Heritage Tour – which journeys across isolated and restricted areas and allows you to experience aboriginal culture at its rawest
- Dreamtime Safaris – Stay with the Tablon tribe as they demonstrate their way of life in an exclusive luxury camp setting which provides alternative accommodation
Should you be a collector of rare Aboriginal art, then several art galleries that you can not afford to miss while in Darwin are Aboriginal Fine Arts, Cultural Images, Ampiji, and Indigenous Creations, while Kakadu has The Marrwuddi Gallery and Warradjan Cultural Centre.
Luxury accommodation in the top end includes a tree-top wilderness retreat in the tropical rainforests on the shore of Seven Spirit Bay and the beachside resort of Skycity in Darwin.
Simply Lush (www.simplylush.com) can direct you to either of these spots, and others still, with the click of a button.