5 Day Kakadu and Top End Wildlife and Birdwatching Tour
Day 1 (L)
You will be collected from your Darwin accommodation at 7.30am for your private 5 day wildlife and bird watching tour through the Mary River, Kakadu and Nitmiluk National Parks.
We head south along the Stuart highway and into Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve. These wetlands have international significance because of their beauty and natural ecosystems. A variety of fauna may be found here throughout the year as well as a large variety of bird life (230 bird species have been listed in this area by The Australian Bird Atlas).
As well as viewing the birds as we drive across the dam wall, we also have the option of taking one of woodlands walks- either the 2.7km Monsoon Forest Walk or the 2.2km Woodlands to Waterlily Walk.
As well as a variety of wetlands birds, such as Brolga, Jabiru, Comb Crested Jacana, Sacred Kingfishers and Royal Spoonbills, we may also have the opportunity to see a range of other birds such as Crimson finches, Double Barred Finches, Rainbow Bee-Eaters and the Rainbow Pitta.
We continue along the Arnhem Highway and depending on time and conditions, we visit either Leaning Tree Lagoon or Djukbinj National Park for some further bird watching opportunities.
After lunch, we make our way to our accommodation at the Mary River Wilderness Retreat. You now have a couple of hours free time to explore the park, which boasts 3km of Mary River frontage and is a sanctuary for both woodland and wetland flora and fauna. There are several walks you can take here or just take a wander round the beautiful gardens.
Mid afternoon we depart for our 2 hour sunset cruise on Corroboree Billabong. The Mary River Wetlands are teeming with bird life. The wet season transforms the wetlands into an inland sea and replenishes the earth after the long dry and fish, crocodiles and birds breed and flourish. As the flood waters subside, the dry season offers excellent opportunities for viewing birds and wildlife.
Overnight accommodation- Bush or Pool Bungalow with en-suiteat the Mary River Wilderness Retreat.
Day 2 (B,L)
This morning we make our way into World Heritage listed Kakadu National park. Kakadu is the largest national park in Australia, has some of the world’s finest rock art and a variety of habitats, including floodplains and savannah woodlands.
Kakadu's many habitats support more than 280 species of birds, or about one-third of Australia's bird species. Some birds range over a number of habitats, but many are found in only one environment, including the Chestnut-quilled Rock-Pigeon, Banded Fruit-Dove, White- Lined Honeyeater and the White-throated Grasswren, which are only found within or near Kakadu National Park.
We start today with a visit to the beautiful Mamukala Wetlands, part of the South Alligator Region. The entre river and it's catchment are contained and protected in Kakadu National Park. The wetlands are home to an array of wetland birds including thousands of Magpie Geese Wandering and Whistling Ducks, Green- Pygmy Geese and Australian Pelicans and we may also see birds of prey, such as Black-breasted Buzzard and Square-tailed Kite.
We can view and photograph the birdlife from the observation platform, where the mural depicts the seasonal changes throughout the year. Depending on seasonal conditions we may be able to take the wetlands walk.
Then onto Ubirr in the very north of the park. Here we'll walk through galleries of ancient aboriginal rock art, which your guide will interpret. Also learn about bushtuckers and bush medicines before reaching the top of the plateau. Here we can relax and enjoy the panoramic view of the floodplains and Arnhemland escarpment.
The escarpment is home to a variety of birds including the Chestnut-Quilled Rock Pigeon, Banded Fruit- Dove, Whistling Kite, Bush Stone- Curlew as well as the short-eared rock wallaby.
We finish the day on the sunset Yellow Waters billabong cruise, located at the end of Jim Jim Creek. At least 60 bird species are found in these wetlands, the billabong is home to many saltwater crocodiles and you may see other wildlife such as Water Buffalo.
Dinner tonight can be purchased from the lodge bistro
Overnight accommodation in Kakadu- Kakadu Lodge Cooinda, motel room (2 night stay)
Day 3 (B,L)
We start today in the Nourlangie area and our first stop is the beautiful Angbangbang Billabong, which offers great views of Nourlangie Rock behind the billabong and bird watching opportunities. There is a loop walk you take take around the billabong.
Then onto Nourlangie Rock itself, which is an ancient Aboriginal shelter. Here we explore the area andthe rock art, which you guide will interpret for you. This area is home to the Black Wallaroo (endemic to the Nourlangie area), short-eared rock wallaby, Banded Fruit- Dove, White-Lined Honeyeater and the Chestnut-Quilled Rock Pigeon.
This afternoon we drive to Maguk (Barramundi Gorge and waterfall), where we may see Rainbow Pitta and Shining Flycatchers. Termite mounds are abundant along the dirt road that takes us to the Maguk car park and from there, we take a walkthrough a paperbark forest and then along the pandanus lined creek to reach the gorge. Once we reach the gorge and waterfall, we can have a refreshing swim in the plungepool.
Overnight accommodation in Kakadu- Kakadu Lodge Cooinda, motel room
Day 4 (B,L)
Departing Kakadu by the southern entrance, we now travel south to Katherine and out to Nitmiluk Gorge, home to 13 spectacular gorges, carved out of the rock by torrential rains, over millions of years. The campground and gorge are home to a variety of birds and heaps of wallabies !
After lunch, you'll take a 2 hour cruise through Nitmiluk Gorge, where you can view the beautiful scenery and discover the customs of the traditional owners, the Jawoyn people.
After the cruise, we travel north again to Pine Creek. En-route we stop at a birding site on the Ferguson River, where we search for Hooded Parrot, Northern Rosella, Arafura Fantail and Masked, Long- Tailed and Gouldian Finch.
There are a couple of birding spots around the historic town of Pine Creek and the town area itself and the water gardens are a great place to spot the rare Hooded Parrot.
Overnight accommodation in Pine Creek
Day 5 (B,L)
We can visit the Pine Creek birding spots we missed yesterday, early on and then return to the accommodation for breakfast.
We then backtrack a little to travel to Leilyn (Edith Falls), part of Nitmiluk National Park and well known for it's picturesque waterfalls and pools, particularly the large pool at the base of the escarpment which is great for a swim. Birds seen in this area include Hooded Parrot, Gouldian Finch, Long-Tailed and Masked Finches, Black-Tailed Treecreeper and Golden-Headed Cistcola.
We now depart for Darwin, arriving at approximately 6pm and you will be dropped off at your accommodation.
B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner
This tour is only operated as a private charter (sole use of vehicle and driver guide)
and is valid for travel from May to September only due to seasonal conditions- please enquire for prices and further
• Sole use of 4WD tour vehicle with professional driver guide and purpose built heavy duty trailer
• Meals as stated, snacks, fruit and iced water in the vehicle at all times
• Mary River Wetlands Cruise
• 2 hour Sunset Yellow Waters Cruise
• Kakadu park entry Tickets
• 2 hour Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge cruise
• Pre & Post tour accommodation
• Travel insurance
• Arrival / departure flights
• Binoculars- please bring your own