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Top End Adventure in Australia

by Kelly on September 5, 2014

I recently returned from a “top end” Northern Territory adventure in Australia that was totally incredible!  I spent 2 weeks exploring the sites, adventure experiences and the wilderness lodges in 4 national parks.  I found 2 adventure lodges that are hidden gems and negotiated some really great rates for our clients.  These 2 lodges serve 2 different markets;  the moderate priced market and the luxury market, so please call us and we can discuss the fine details about which lodge would be appropriate for you.

Point Stuart Wilderness Lodge is located in the heart of the beautiful Mary River Wetlands area about a 2 hour drive east of Darwin. The lodge is very historic and named after the explorer John McDouall Stuart who trekked through this area on his epic journey to become the first person to successfully cross the Australian continent (from southern Australia to the northern coast in 1862).  The property was once known as Jimmy Creek Abattoir which processed the large numbers of water buffalo that inhabited the wetlands during the 1960’s to the early 1980’s, and was part of the original Point Stuart Station.

Perfectly situated, it is the ideal base to explore the wilderness of Australia’s Top End – Mary River National Park, Shady Camp Reserve and Kakadu National Park.  We suggest a 4 wheel drive because part of the drive is on a non-paved road and this will also be useful in exploring some of the more adventurous sites in Kakadu National Park.  The lodge offers a variety of accommodation from tent camping, (with comfortable beds), to fully air conditioned rooms with a patio area outside.  This is a moderate category property but is very comfortable and affordable with a heavy emphasis on outdoor experiences.  The resort also has a restaurant and saloon with great food options.

Tours and safaris are available for an additional charge at the resort.  We took the Mary River Cruise which offers crocodile and bird viewing, (largest concentration of crocodiles in the world),  and we took the ATV tour at sunset to visit the lush floodplains and billabongs.  While it wasn’t exactly peak fishing season, we booked a ½ day guided fishing charter through Point Stuart Lodge and caught Barramudi, (Australia’s favorite fishing experience).  During their peak fishing season, (March, April and May), very large barramundi are caught on a daily basis.

The best thing about this resort is the staff……truly amazing!  The Owners have operated the lodge for 15 years and are friendly, helpful and knowledgeable.  This lodge is a TRUE Australia wilderness experience for those on a budget.

Bamarru Plains Wilderness Lodge – Bamurru Plains is located just to the west of Kakadu National Park on the Mary River floodplains. A profusion of bird and wildlife are on the doorstep of a unique bush lodge that exudes ‘Wild Bush Luxury’ and brings a touch of style to the discovery of a remote and beautiful wilderness.

Access to the resort is by a private flight from Darwin that takes approximately 30 minutes.  You can also take a land transfer or if you are adventurous you can reach the resort by a 4 wheel self drive.  This lodge is luxurious and completely different from anything that I have experienced in my 37 year travel history.  Spacious and cool, each of the nine safari bungalows overlook the floodplains frequented by a myriad of bird and animal life.

The walls are airy screens, admitting refreshing breezes that rustle the leaves of the surrounding pandanus forest. The alarm clock in the morning is the call of Magpie Geese, after whom the camp is named, as the orange light of dawn spreads across the floodplain, all audible and visible without having to leave your bed!  The walk-in shower area is wonderful and unique with driftwood accents and fluffy luxury towels and robes. The focus is on a supremely comfortable bed (500 thread count organic cotton linen, pillow menu) an the decor reflects the region’s earlier indigenous, hunting and pastoral history, with buffalo horns, explorer’s maps, Aboriginal art work and fish traps as well as old photos providing a sense of the human heritage of the area. Each room has a cold water thermos, local flora and fauna reading materials, species list and binoculars.

There is no internet access, no television or mobile phone coverage. A true escape to your immediate environment.  Let’s talk about food……WOW!  The gourmet meals and full bar are included in the rate.  The chef’s creations, (served with the rest of the guests),  are amazing and plentiful.  The activities at Bamurru Plains are all structured outside, as the resort is a very large private buffalo station, on the edge of Kakadu National Park.  You can spot the local wildlife from open top safari vehicles, learn about life on the floodplain with exhilarating rides on Bamurru’s airboats, spot crocodiles on a river cruise, fish for barramundi, learn to crack a stock whip, take walks or simply watch the wildlife from the pool deck with a superb class of Australian wine.  Most or all of these activities are included in your stay, depending upon which package you purchase.  You can call Mary Jane for additional information on the resort.

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