Lord’s Safaris offers tailor-made 4WD journeys throughout Kakadu and Arnhem Land. Catering only to small groups, it is one of Australia’s most highly-regarded interpretive experiences enjoying access to the exceptional country.
The key to the operation is founder Sab Lord, who was raised in remote Kakadu before it became a national park. As such, Sab has a real connection with both the land and the indigenous people of this region: he and his team of expert guides are fortunate to be able to share their knowledge and respect for the local Aboriginal culture.
Travelling through Kakadu and Arnhem Land with your private guide, you have the opportunity to experience remarkable landscapes, traditional culture and amazing examples of 40,000-year-old rock art. Lords’ Safaris will also help you discover the amazing wildlife of the Top End including crocodiles, water buffalo, wallabies, brolgas, jabiru and magpie geese. Depending on your preferred accommodation style, Lord’s Safaris can tailor your itinerary to include nights spent camping out in the wilderness, utilise hotel/lodge accommodation, or a combination of both.
Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory, a part of Australia that retains its sense of frontier. 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. Arnhem Land is vast, covering 91,000 square kilometres. Bounded by Kakadu National Park, the Arafura Sea and the Gulf of Carpentaria, it’s an Aboriginal-owned expanse made up of wild coastlines, deserted islands, wild rivers, lush rainforests, soaring escarpments and savannah woodland. This land is one of the last great unspoiled areas of the world. Its small population is predominantly indigenous, whose traditional Aboriginal culture remains largely intact.
Your guide will collect you from your accommodation before heading south to the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. First stop is Fogg Dam Reserve: year-round water coverage assures its position as an important feeding and roosting site for a variety of water birds and animals. Travel to the Adelaide River where you have the opportunity to witness the fabulous jumping crocodiles and other wildlife. These saltwater crocodiles are a magnificent sight, capable of projecting their bodies almost entirely out of the water – a great introduction to how wild the Top End really is. A short detour off the highway is the beautiful Learning Tree Lagoon; this billabong is often covered in water lilies making it a popular stop for photographers. Lunch is at the Bark Hut Inn – an Aussie Roadhouse built during the buffalo era and a reminder of earlier, wilder times. Leave the main road to enter Kakadu. Your last stop for today is at Cooinda, to experience one of Kakadu’s icons, a Yellow Water Cruise. This 10sq. km pristine environment supports a truly wonderful variety of plants, birds, crocodiles and Top End wildlife. The wildlife on this pristine billabong is too numerous to mention, but you may see saltwater crocodiles, Jacana birds ‘walking on water’, the magnificent sea eagle or any one of the 280 species that call this billabong home. Time to enjoy one of the Top End’s great sunsets…
Today we visit Aboriginal Lands (Arnhem Land) access to this area is restricted to a select group of tour operators. Departing the Northern region of Kakadu National Park, we cross Cahill’s Crossing on the East Alligator River and enter Arnhem Land. A 15-km scenic drive to Gunbalanya Aboriginal community provides some of the best driving views in the Top End with floodplains, billabongs & Arnhem Land escarpment. Upon arrival at Gunbalanya you will visit the Injalak Arts and Craft Centre. Here you have the opportunity to meet and watch traditional local artists in action. Established in 1989, Injalak Arts is an Aboriginal organisation supporting the production of quality Aboriginal art.
Today, Injalak artists produce authentic art inspired by ancient dreamtime stories, images from the nearby rock art galleries and an unbroken link between the present generation of Kunwinjku people and their ancestors. This offers an intimate setting to get to know the artist and see first-hand how artworks are created. Gunbalanya is the Aboriginal name for the Oenpelli settlement (which was originally a mission). The area includes the floodplains of the East Alligator River that are covered by water from December to April and a rocky sandstone plateau rising up to 200 metres above the plains. Visitors to Injalak will experience the breathtaking rock art galleries and the traditional culture of the Kunwinjku people. many of Injalak artists live and work in the community. While we are here a traditional Aboriginal guide will show you excellent examples of rock art on Injalak Hill (Long Tom Dreaming or Kurrkabal), this area is documented as having some of the best rock art examples in Western Arnhem Land – some say Australia. The main gallery is the visitors first contact with rock art and is the most intense. It is an extensive shelter featuring layered paintings created over thousands of years.
The rock art on Injalak Hill reveals facets of Pre-Estuarine, Estuarine and Contact periods identifying them as between 100 and 8,000 years old. In 1912, the Aboriginal Protectorate Baldwin Spencer noted people heading up the hill every evening with smouldering fire sticks. This helps to explain why Injalak Hill boasts such extensive rock art galleries. The view from the top of the hill is simply breathtaking, looking out across the floodplains and around the Arnhemland escarpment while having lunch in the shade of one of the many overhanging ledges. When we farewell our Aboriginal guide back at the Injalak Art & Craft Centre there is an opportunity to browse or purchase goods from this non-profit Aboriginal organisation.
Injalak Arts wholesales a range of affordable art in different mediums and styles reflective of the ingenuity of the Kunwinjku people. By supporting many artists utilizing different mediums in various dimensions, Injalak caters for both the affordable and fine art market. Artworks available include paintings on paper and bark, carvings, artefacts – clap sticks, didgeridoos, mimi poles and lorrkons, fibre works – baskets and grass pandanus floor mats and special edition prints.
(This tour demands a reasonable amount of agility as we do a hill walk where there are no formed pathways or handrails, a reasonable level of fitness is important)
* Access to Arnhemland is by invitation by the local Aboriginal people, and the traditional owners may deny access at any time.
The day focuses on the southern end of Kakadu. A 1km walk through monsoon rainforest leads to the base of a beautiful plunge pool called Maguk, a scenic and tranquil place to enjoy a refreshing swim in the series of small waterholes. The water is crystal clear; a walk to the top of the waterfalls is well worth the effort for its panoramic view. After leaving Maguk then head onto Bamurru Plains, an exclusive wildlife experience on the magnificent Mary River floodplains. Located on Swim Creek Station, this safari-style camp is surrounded by savannah woodland teeming with an amazing assortment of wildlife, reptiles and birds. The camp boasts luxurious free-standing rooms that are spacious and open to the sights and sounds of the floodplains. The central lodge area has commanding views across the vast wetlands, a 10-metre wet edge pool and a library. The focus of your stay at Bamurru is the environment and wildlife. The Mary River catchments are home to some 236 species of bird, many of which are found at Bamurru Plains. The significance of this particular property comes in the variety of habitat: black soil floodplains, paperbark swamps, savannah woodland, river mangroves and coastal beaches support an extraordinary diversity of birdlife. Experience a sunset over the floodplains while enjoying a glass of wine.
Enjoy a variety of activities at the camp, from airboat rides to a 4WD safari. The floodplains abound with waterfowl, wild buffalo, crocs and wallabies. The floodplains of the Mary River region form one of the most significant ecosystems in Australia. Dominated by the climatic extremes of the tropical monsoon, the wetlands and savannah woodlands that fringe the coastal regions between Darwin and Kakadu National Park harbor an extraordinary diversity of flora and fauna. After lunch return to Darwin.
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 and the period of most cattle related activity. Lord’s Safaris offers reduced touring options during the wet season between November and end of February.
Tours operate on demand during the Top End dry season – from April to October
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