Top End Self Drive Adventure

Top End Self Drive Adventure

This 18 night self drive adventure will take you across two states, crossing some of the most picturesque and unforgiving land in Australia. Explore all the way from Broome to Darwin in this “Top End” spectacular with a mix of luxury beach resorts to remote outback stations.

Self driving allows you to take each day at your own pace and be as adventurous or as laid back as you like but we’re sure you won’t want to miss a thing in this exciting journey!

Your journey begins in the exotic pearling town of Broome where you will enjoy a luxurious stay at Pinctada Cable Beach before setting off on your self drive journey deep into The Kimberley to the magical Mornington Wilderness Camp. Immerse yourself in nature and explore spectacular gorges and observe diverse wildlife.

Your short pit stop is at the remote Mt Elizabeth Station, a tranquil setting where you can relax or explore the vast property. Continue your drive onto Home Valley Station where there is an abundance of activities on your doorstep, get involved in a cattle muster or fishing and then watch the sunset over drinks.

Make your way to Kununurra, where it’s time to wind down at The Kimberley Grande – a resort with leisure facilities that are designed for you to relax and re-invigorate.

Cross the border to the North Territory and drive on to Bullo River Station – a top end cattle station (ranch) from the classic mould – half a million acres of grassy plains with 8000 cattle. Take in the vast landscape in an exciting helicopter ride and get a feel for outback life.

Then it’s on to Maud Creek Lodge, located in Nitmiluk National Park where you can explore the nature and wildlife on your doorstep or just enjoy the opportunity to kick back and relax. In the morning you will be collected for your canoeing safari, an experience that takes you into remote wilderness to experience the diverse environment along the Katherine River.

After another overnight at Maude Creek Lodge, you will make the journey north into Darwin and enjoy a night back in the city with enough time to enjoy a fantastic dinner at a waterside restaurant.

Suitable/best for

Solo travellers/couples/small groups and families with children over the age of 9yrs.
The canoeing safari is not suited to children under this age, should the itinerary be of interest and you are travelling with a young family please contact one of our Travel Designers as we can substitute the canoeing safari with other properties to suit a young family.

Sample Itinerary Description

Day 1 – Day 4 
Pinctada Cable Beach Resort, Broome, for 3 nights

  • 3 nights stay in a Honjin Courtyard Suite
  • No activities have been included during your stay in Broome.

The exotic pearling town of Broome offers 22 kilometres of white sand, kissed by warm, crystal waters and is justifiably world famous and the ideal place to watch the sunset on a balmy, tropical night. The town’s multicultural mix was shaped by a romantic pearling history when Japanese, Filipino and Malay pearl divers arrived in droves seeking their fortune. Today, thanks to Broome’s unpolluted waters, South Sea pearls are among the most coveted in the world.

Inspired by Pinctada maxima, the shell that nurtures the world’s most beautiful pearl, Broome’s newest five-star luxury resort and spa experience has been created to nurture its guests. Whether you’re looking for serenity or adventure, Pinctada offers time and space, understated elegance and around-the-clock attention.

Begin your self drive adventure along the Gibb River Road to Mornington Wilderness Camp.

Day 4 – Day 7 
Mornington Wilderness Camp, The Kimberley, for 3 nights

  • 3 nights stay in a Safari Tent
  • Includes all meals & selected beverages
  • Included activities with your stay

Mornington Wilderness Camp has safari-style tents each with ensuite and a private balcony overlooking picturesque Annie Creek. In the evening, relax and enjoy a gourmet dinner accompanied by premium Western Australian wines. Located in the heart of the Kimberley, Mornington Sanctuary covers more than 3,000 square kilometres of spectacular gorges and tropical savannah dominated by the Fitzroy River and King Leopold Ranges. Owned and managed by the non-profit Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC), Mornington Wilderness Camp provides a comfortable base from which to explore this remarkable sanctuary.

It is a naturalist’s paradise, providing refuge for over 200 species of birds and a diverse range of other wildlife. Popular activities include canoeing down Dimond Gorge and swimming and exploring Sir John Gorge. Before dinner, enjoy a glass of champagne as you watch the sun set over the stunning Central Kimberley ranges. Nature lovers can indulge in various guided and self guided tours. From birdwatching to exploring habitats unique to the Kimberley, there is something for everyone. Your three night stay includes the following tours, all accompanied by an AWC guide:
Dimond Gorge Day Tour Canoeing through Dimond Gorge’s spectacular rock formations and 30m (100ft) high walls gives you a true sense of its size. Highlights include; swimming, a great lookout and a secluded waterfall tucked away at the end of the gorge. You may even catch a glimpse of the Short Eared Rock-Wallaby.

Self drive to Mt Elizabeth Station from Mornington Wilderness Camp.

Day 7 – Day 8 
Mt Elizabeth Station, The Kimberley, for 1 night

  • 1 night stay in a standard homestead room
  • Dinner & breakfast
  • No activities have been included during your stay

Mt Elizabeth Station provides a relaxing pit stop for your journey. A family run cattle station in the remote Kimberley Region, you can kick back and enjoy the quiet surroundings or get involved in the local activities. Take a 4WD guided tour of the station, or walk the leisurely self guided loop trail through woodland and creeks near the homestead.

Wunnumurra Gorge is a beautiful place to visit if you have the time to make the 10km drive and 1.5km walk in, however the Hann River Gorge is much more accessible with many birds to see, plus a flying fox colony nearby and the opportunity to take a refreshing dip.

Self drive to Home Valley Station from Mt Elizabeth Station.

Day 8 – Day 10 
Home Valley Station, East Kimberley, for 2 nights

  • 2 nights stay in a Grass Castle
  • Breakfast daily
  • No activities have been included during your stay

Home Valley Station is an outback adventure playground of nature’s most breathtaking combination of towering gorges, sparkling waterholes, ever-flowing rivers, untouched beaches, billabongs, waterfalls and stunning ancient landforms and ranges. Guests have the privilege of touring with knowledgeable guides who provide a special insight in to the Kimberley landscape, flora and fauna. Home Valley Station is host to some of the country’s best fishing locations making it perfect for hooking the elusive barramundi and a must-see for all keen anglers. From gentle gorge walks and relaxing boating, to adventurous horse treks and cattle mustering, Home Valley Station has an inspiring range of tours and activities to suit everyone.

Grass Castles are designed for guests seeking the ultimate in comfort while touring the dramatic Australian outback. Shaded by towering eucalypts abundant in birdlife, the Grass Castles are reminiscent of sturdy steel and timber homesteads designed by the Kimberley’s early pioneering settlers – however, they are ultra-modern in comparison.

Self drive from Home Valley Station to Kununurra.

Day 10 – Day 12 
The Kimberley Grande, Kununurra, for 2 nights

  • 2 nights stay in a Durack Spa Suite
  • No activities have been included during your stay

The Kimberley Grande, a member of Pinctada Hotels & Resorts, captures the Kimberley’s sense of place and space. The colours and textures of the landscape are reflected in the décor, furnishings and original artwork. At Kununurra’s premier resort, you’ll find personalized service, experienced tour desk staff, luxurious spa suites, graciously sized guest rooms, a range of dining options, a sports bar with super size screen and 25m swimming pool with spa.

Kununurra is untamed and adventurous and the gateway to some of Western Australia’s remarkable natural attractions. With sizzling red soil, wide open blue skies and rugged bush scenery, this place will enliven your senses. Although Kununurra is a fairly young town, it sits on an ancient landscape where early Aboriginal tribes roamed. In fact, the word Kununurra means ‘big water’ in the language of Aboriginal locals.

Self drive from Kununurra to Bullo River Station.

Day 12 – Day 14 
Bullo River Station for 2 nights

  • 2 nights stay in a standard station room
  • All meals and beverages
  • Selected station activities

Located in the top western corner of the Northern Territory of Australia. Bullo River Station is operated by Marlee (nee Henderson) and Franz Ranacher as a commercial cattle station running 9,000 head of Brahman-cross cattle for the export cattle trade. Horses and helicopters are used to muster and handle the stock on a seasonal basis.

Let your guide at Bullo River Station bring the wonders of this timeless land to life. Adventurers are invited to go heli-fishing, boat cruising among the myriad of rivers or take advantage of the magnificent photographic opportunities in some of the best scenery in the Northern Territory. Station tours are a great experience – whether by horse, quad bike or 4WD – giving a perspective on the enormity of property and the isolation of the Top End. Wildlife spotting includes the opportunity to go searching for the huge saltwater crocodiles, water buffalo, wallabies, bird life and more.

Cattle mustering is seasonal, between the winter months of May to October and guests are welcome to watch or participate with the handling of stock. Wild bull catching, with the use of customised Landrovers and helicopters is a sure way to get the adrenalin pumping!

Whether you’re a novice or enthusiast, the chance to try some of the best fishing in North Australia shouldn’t be missed. The Bullo River flows for 80km exclusively on the property providing the opportunity for fresh and tidal salt-water fishing.

A helicopter is based on Bullo River Station for scenic flights, fishing, awesome photographic opportunities and other activities. Helicopter is by far the best way to take in the beauty and scope of this vast country. Local rock art sites offer insights into the significance and complexities of Aboriginal culture, and its significance for generations of people past and present. (Helicopter costs apply – 1 hour of helicopter has been included per 2 guests)

Self drive from Bullo River Station to Katherine.

Day 15 – Day 17 
Canoeing Safari, Katherine River, for 2 nights

  • Return transfers to and from your accommodation
  • 2 nights camping accommodation
  • 3 days private guided canoeing tour
  • All meals & selected beverages

You will be met at your accommodation early in the morning and after a safety brief and gear check you will transfer to the Katherine River to commence your 3 day journey. The journey is taken at a relaxing rate, with stops along the river for a morning break, lunch, swim and time to view the diverse river environment, bird and wildlife. At the end of the day you will step ashore for an overnight remote camping experience (no set campsites). There will be time to relax; fish or read, whilst your guide prepares the evening meal. After a campfire meal, sleep in a bed-roll (swag) under a blanket of stars.

The next morning, wake to a dawn chorus in the brisk morning air. After a morning swim and hearty cooked breakfast, pack-up camp and continue your paddling journey down-stream.

By the last day of your canoeing adventure, you will be ‘tuned in’ to all the sights and sounds around you and will find yourself exhilarated by every experience, enjoy it while the moment lasts. In the mid afternoon you will be picked up from the river and transferred back to base to collect your belongings and then transferred to your Katherine accommodation.

Day 17 – Day 18 
Maud Creek Lodge, Katherine, for 1 night

  • 1 night stay in a lodge suite
  • Sunset drinks & canapés
  • No activities have been included during your stay

On your return to Maud Creek Lodge, you will once again have the afternoon at leisure to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Take a refreshing dip in the swimming pool or just kick back on the balcony with a drink from the guest bar.

In the morning, self drive to Darwin from Katherine at your leisure.

Day 18 – Day 19 
Mantra on the Esplanade, Darwin, for 1 night

  • 1 night stay in a Harbour View Apartment
  • No activities have been included during your stay

You have the afternoon at leisure to explore Darwin. Darwin is the capital city of Northern Territory and sits on a natural harbour twice the size of Sydney’s. It is famous in Australia for its laid back lifestyle. If you are visiting Darwin in the dry season on either a Thursday or Sunday, be sure to check out the Mindil Beach markets. Or perhaps visit Cullen Bay’s shops and restaurants, which offer you a wide range of different cuisine and the great marina atmosphere. Enjoy Darwin’s seafront promenades, boutique shops, waterside restaurants, beaches, boating lagoon and wide rolling parklands at your doorstep. Enjoy contemporary, elegant and stylish surroundings from your fully-equipped, fully-serviced hotel apartment.

If you are interested in Aboriginal Art perhaps stop by a few of the galleries in the city that stock indigenous art from over the Top End, like Maningrida Arts & Culture or Karen Brown Gallery. At the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory view the collections of Australian arts and Aboriginal art and craft.


As with all The Tailor itineraries, this programme can be customised or combined with other destinations to suit your individual interests and requirements.

Please contact one of our specialised travel designers to make an enquiry and check on pricing for your preferred dates of travel – call on + 61 8 8354 4405 or email.

Nightly rate includes

3 nights Pinctada Cable Beach,
3 nights Mornington Wilderness Camp, including all meals & selected beverages and some sanctuary activities,
1 night Mount Elizabeth Station including dinner & breakfast,
2 nights Home Valley Station including breakfast daily,
2 nights The Kimberley Grande,
2 nights Bullo River Station including all meals & beverages and selected station activities and 1 hour helicopter flight per 2 guests,
2 nights Maud Creek Lodge,
1 night Mantra on the Esplanade


As the north closes down for the wet season, the best time for travel is the dry season from April to October, with warm sunny days, cool nights and to ensure the best road conditions.


Plan your Australian adventure with our expert travel designers.

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