Bamurru Plains is a luxury safari camp overlooking wetland wilderness on the Mary River floodplains. When you wake in your bungalow, you might see buffalos moving slowly through a low-lying mist stained by dawn light. Or Agile Wallabies bounding through the shallows, crystal sprays in their wake. Or else magpie geese, a noisy, honking gaggle lifting over the reeds, startled by… what?
After hot coffee and fresh bakes, it’s time to explore the horizons. You’ll travel by airboat – a high-speed fan-powered craft that scuds effortlessly over the wetlands to find sunken forests, lily fields and the world’s largest population of saltwater crocodiles.
Bamurru is a wilderness retreat that invites just 18 guests to experience country that has long been the preserve of wildlife and a few hardy bushmen. But the sensitively created space has not only been designed to allow you to appreciate and immerse, it’s also a place of indulgence. The finely-appointed bungalows with their exotic ensuites are private, sensual spaces. The central Lodge is a place of sharing, the focal point for dining and gathering with guests. It features a library area, a help-yourself bar and a sensational sunset-facing deck complete with wet edge swimming pool and firepit area. Wilderness never felt so welcoming.
It’s that sense of immediacy – of living in the midst of the ever-changing landscape – which gives Bamurru Plains such a sense of place. There are fluffy towels and comfortable beds, but they’re a screen away from the heart of nature; there’s good food and wine, but you might find a buffalo dining out at the billabong alongside you…
The city is a tropical enclave both sophisticated and laid-back, prosperous and good-natured. It’s also a hub of great living with its cliffs, beaches and short-sleeve climate; its colourful history has contributed to tremendous cultural diversity, with more than 50 nationalities making up its 100,000 population, including the area’s traditional landowners, the Larrakia Aboriginal people. Its northerly ‘gateway’ location has led to distinct Asian influences and flavours. Visitors enjoy its beaches (including amazing Mindil Beach markets), waterside dining, historic buildings and lively nightlife. It’s also the perfect base to explore the natural attractions of World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, Litchfield and Nitmiluk National Parks, the Tiwi Islands and Arnhem Land. Kakadu National Park is one of only a handful of World Heritage sites listed for both its natural and cultural values. Covering nearly two million hectares, the park is ecologically diverse and dynamic in landform, with a sheer and spectacular escarpment framing tidal flats, floodplains, lowlands and plateau. It is celebrated the world over for its astounding caves and rock overhangs richly decorated with Aboriginal rock art. Some of these date back 50,000 years, telling the stories of life of the early Aboriginal inhabitants to those still living in the park today. From vast horizons and pristine environments to rich characters and the world’s oldest living culture, Kakadu captures the essence of Australia.
Activities focus on early morning and late afternoon when the wildlife and light are at their best. During a two-night stay at Bamurru Plains, guests are invited to experience a number of activities including: A river cruise spotting birds and crocodiles on the Sampan River (season and tidal conditions permitting) Four wheel drives in open top safari vehicles An airboat trip on the floodplains A bush walk in the savannah woodlands that fringe the floodplains. Activities available at extra cost include: fishing (barramundi), scenic helicopter flights, watching the seasonal buffalo muster on the floodplains or taking a day trip to neighbouring Kakadu National Park.
Dining in Bamurru is exceptional, from pre-safari coffee and fresh baked through lunch, canapés and three-course dinner by candlelight. Meals are wholesome and innovative with seasonal flourishes, occasionally harvested from the wetlands, (ask your guide to bring back some lily seeds to garnish the salad…)
The camp has nine safari bungalows built amongst the pandanus vegetation on the edge of the wetlands. Each has been built for privacy and to take advantage of the spectacular views across the wetlands. Each bedroom has a mesh-screened balcony with views towards the floodplains. Rooms are available in twin and king double configurations and extra bedding is available in the form of a deluxe swag. Ensuite bathrooms wrap around one side and/or the rear of each safari bungalow with high pressure showers and hot water. All rooms have ceiling fans for the dry months of winter (April to October); air conditioning is available in three rooms during the wet season months. Please note that Bamurru Plains is a solar-powered wilderness ‘camp’ and as such exposes guests to the sights and sounds of the bush around them. Keeping this in mind, the safari bungalows do not have televisions, CD players, mini-bars, telephones, internet access – though hair dryers are available on request!
The top end of Australia has two distinct seasons: ‘The Wet’, from November to March is when the summer rains prevail and the humidity increases; ‘The Dry’ season, from May to October, has warm sunny days and cool nights and is the peak season for visitors. The camp is closed during the wet season between 1st November and 31st January.
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