Kimberley, Purnululu, Tiwi Islands and Arnhem Land
From A$14,995 AUD
- 1. Stop over in Kununurra, gateway to the Kimberley's.
- 2. Explore the Kimberley including the Bungles by air.
- 3. Visit and learn about the Tiwi islands.
- 4. Spend time in Arnhem land and Kakadu with the local community.
|22 September 2021 |
Ends 09 October 2021 • 18 days
|27 April 2022 |
Ends 14 May 2022 • 18 days
|15 May 2022 |
Ends 01 June 2022 • 18 days
|12 June 2022 |
Ends 29 June 2022 • 18 days
|10 July 2022 |
Ends 27 July 2022 • 18 days
|07 August 2022 |
Ends 24 August 2022 • 18 days
|11 September 2022 |
Ends 28 September 2022 • 18 days
Outback Tour of the Northern Territory and Western Australia for a small groupTravel can be a challenge, and when you leave the major cities of Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane on a trip by car, or an escorted tour by coach, the sheer scale of outback Australia begins to reveal itself to you as the journey unfolds. This 18 day tour into Outback North, and Western Australia seeks to introduce and further enhance travellers appreciation of this unique and hardy land. The tour starts from the town of Darwin (and finishes here) before heading even deeper into the outback, stopping through outback towns like Katherine, before coming through the incredible Arnhem Land, and Kakadu National Park.
This 18 day tour into Outback North, and Western Australia, seeks to introduce and further enhance travellers appreciation of this unique and hardy land. The tour starts from the town of Darwin (and finishes here) before heading even deeper into the outback, stopping through outback towns like Timber Creek, Kununurra and Katherine, before coming through the incredible Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land.
The tour heads out from Darwin to Timber creek before then heading west through to Kununurra, and delving into Western Australia's iconic Kimberley region. We book a light aircraft to visit and stay at Purnululu. Returning to Kununurra you enjoy a full day scenic flight and tour of the Kimberley taking in icons such as Mitchell falls. After 5 nights in Western Australia, your small group tour returns to the Northern Territory transferring to Katherine and to Jabiru in the UNESCO listed Kakadu National Park. After 3 days exploring the park, the group takes a flight to Nhulunbuy/Yirrkala in the incredible Arnhem land. We return to Darwin after 6 nights in these amazing UNESCO parks and from Darwin we will day-excursions to the Tiwi Islands and Litchfield national Park.The scheduled departures are during the dry season, the days are dry and in the low 20's (72 F), with the nights in the centre and the desert being quite cold, less than 10 degrees Celsius (50 F). But it is a reasonable climate for travel with high sunshine hours. Each departure has some unique perks along the way, such as the end of the wet season bringing greening to parts of the desert. The sheer scale of this incredible landscape is often unrecognized on the road, and when travelling through the outback, you'll come to find this journey is an adventure that will continue for far more than just a few days, being a small group tour that requires planning and destinations selected well in advance for the fit senior traveller. Thankfully with Odyssey this process is streamlined, coming with a huge amount of advantages allowing you to experience the scale and majesty of this incredible outback, along with its hidden history, which can often be missed on a journey by car. When you travel as part of a small group tour of Australia with Odyssey, your tour guide, whether on Kangaroo Island, in the Northern territory or on a day tour within Western Australia deep in the Kimberley, will be sharing stories with you about the Australian wildlife and some of the world’s most beautiful Dreamtime stories from the indigenous Australian community as you journey through the outback at time immersed in Aboriginal culture. For you, our client, this Outback tour of Central Australia is a small group tour that seeks to create a program of learning as you travel with us. The learning with your program leader is about the history, the landscapes and biodiversity and then the culture of the place. This tour provides a great platform with up to 6 departures a year.
A truly Australian tour for mature couples and solo travellers.
This is not an adventure Australia tour but it is a wildlife Australia tours, a travel experience across Northern Australia.
This is a fascinating country and this collection of a discovery Australia escorted tour(s) will seek to show how its geographical isolation has allowed for an incredible biodiversity record unlike any of other place on the planet, in its Australian wildlife from the monotreme, to the Kangaroo, platypus, wombat, quokka, echidna and koala, to its plant diversity expressed in the wildflowers of Western Australia or its desert. Not all our tours are wildlife Australia tours, but once tours of Australia leave the built-up environment then there will be a wildlife experience at some time on your Australia vacation.
The Aborigines have been present here for some 120,000 years+. They developed not only incredible storytelling to pass on from generation to generation but had the ability to manage world’s most arid continent on a sustainable basis. The Aboriginal people also represented their life and understanding through rock art and painting which we explore in the Kimberley region also on these Western Australia tours.
These Australian outback small group tour programs also explore and learn about the importance of the National park network and its unique endemic biodiversity. And finally the Australian outback tours itinerary means we stop at places of importance in the European history of Australia, primarily the outback adventure that was the catastrophic Burke and Wills expedition out of Melbourne and the mapping work of Charles Sturt and his search for the "inland sea". By the time this guided tour returns to Broken Hill our appreciation and understanding of this part of the central outback Australia will have been extended as a result of what we have heard from the expert custodians in Aboriginal culture in the indigenous community and local guides who have a perspective and respect for the European history of the last two centuries.
Because of the intensity of the environment that these outback Australia tours travels through, Odyssey Traveller offers just a maximum of six departures a year in the Autumn through to Spring.
Articles about Australia published by Odyssey Traveller:
- The Kimberley: A Definitive Guide
- Uncovering the Ancient History of Aboriginal Australia
- Aboriginal Land Use in the Mallee
- Understanding Aboriginal Aquaculture
- Mallee and Mulga: Two Iconic and Typically Inland Australian Plant Communities (By Dr. Sandy Scott).
- The Australian Outback: A Definitive Guide
For all the articles Odyssey Traveller has published for mature aged and senior travellers, click through on this link.
Day 1 : Darwin
We meet as a group in Darwin. There is a late afternoon introduction to the tour program and a welcome dinner.
For those who have arrived early we take a visit to the Museum and art gallery of the Northern Territory.
Day 2: Timber Creek
The group departs Darwin promptly to make the journey through to Timber creek, following the Victoria river from Katherine.
Day 3 : Purnululu National Park
We drive through to Kununurra today crossing the border into Western Australia.
The group’s WA trip begins with a two-day adventure with a scenic flight departing Kununurra, taking you on an unforgettable journey over the Ord River, Lake Argyle, Lissadell Station, Texas Downs Station, the Osmand Ranges, and a stunning circuit over the Bungle Bungle Range.
After landing in Purnululu National Park, you will be met by your informative guide, who will lead you on a tour of the famous orange and black banded domes, as well as a walk into Cathedral Gorge. Once you have reached Cathedral Gorge, you can enjoy a fresh picnic lunch in the shade of the towering cliffs surrounding you.
Once returning from this walk, you will arrive at Bungle Bungle Savannah Lodge, where you can relax in the privacy of your ensuite cabin, or else take a dip in the only pool located within the national park. A chef-prepared dinner is served that evening in the Lodge dining area or can be eaten outside under the starry night sky, by the warmth of the outdoor fire pit.
Day 4 : Purunululu National Park - Kununurra
The next morning, you will be driven to the northern end of Purnululu National Park, where you will spend the day exploring Echidna Chasm and nearby trails alongside your guide. Lunch is provided again on this day.
The following leg of our journey takes us to the World Heritage Listed Purnululu National Park (Bungle Bungles). The Bungle Bungle Range is renowned for its striking orange and grey horizontal banded domes. The distinctive beehive-shaped landforms have been produced by uplift and erosion over the last 20 million years.
The Bungle Bungles are, by far, the most outstanding example of cone karst in sandstones anywhere in the world and owe their existence and uniqueness to several interacting geological, biological, erosional and climatic phenomena. The sandstone karst of Purnululu National Park is of great scientific importance in demonstrating so clearly the process of cone karst formation on sandstone – a phenomenon recognized by geomorphologists only recently and still not completely understood. The Bungle Bungle Ranges of the Park also display to an exceptional degree evidence of geomorphic processes of dissolution, weathering and erosion in the evolution of landforms under a savannah climatic regime within an ancient, stable sedimentary landscape.
We return to Kununurra in the late afternoon with aerial views of the Argyle Diamond Mine, Ragged Ranges and Carr Boyd Ranges.
Day 5: Kununurra
This morning we have a Kununurra tour with the local community. We will also visit the Kununurra art centre to meet senior painters.
The remainder of the day is at your own leisure.
Day 6: Kununurra - scenic flight over the Kimberley
Today we embark on a scenic fixed wing flight over the Mitchell Plateau and the incredible Mitchell Falls. The scenery from the air is remarkable, and it gives us a great perspective before seeing it on the ground for afternoon tea.
We continue on along the coast of the Kimberley at between 500 -4500 ft above sea level. The group see from the Air many of the highlights of this fascinating region of Australia and learns about the deep history and colonial activity of the region. We pass over the Pearl farms and laborotories as well as remote lodges along the coast looking below for the wildlife of the ocean in the shallow seas below before turning at the Gulf of Cambridge to follow at a low level the mighty Ord River from the historic township of Wyndham back to Kunnunarra.
We return to Kununurra in the late afternoon around sunset.
Day 7: Katherine
Today we start early to drive along the Savannah way to Katherine where we stay the night.
There is a group meal in Katherine.
Day 8: Jabiru
Today we travel through to Jaibru. The well laid out Territory Wildlife Park displays only Top End wildlife in its natural habitat & this affords us a chance to familiarise ourselves with the highly specialised animals of the Kakadu/Arnhem region before we get there. There is much to see and learn and this will take us the best part of a day.
We then drive out along the Arnhem Highway to Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve. Here as the sun sets, many kinds of water birds can be seen in close proximity to the road. A little over an hour will get us to the Aurora Kakadu South Alligator for evening meal.
Day 9: Jabiru
Today we get up early for a river bird-watching walk, with the possibility of seeing crocodiles, then on to Jabiru via Mangarre Forest Walk, Mamukala Bird Observation Hide and Bowali Visitor Centre.
The township of Jabiru was built in 1980 to accommodate staff and families of the Ranger Uranium Mine, but is now the centre of tourism in Kakadu. The Kakadu Park HQ and Bowali Visitor Centre on the Kakadu Highway are a five minute drive from the town. There is quite a bit of wildlife to be seen around the town as a result of a prohibition on cats. The rare Partridge Pigeon can often be seen feeding along the roadsides while the Black-footed Tree-rat and Sugar Glider are also frequently seen.
This will be our introduction to the unique sandstone ecosystems that have made Kakadu famous. Many of the endemic wildlife, such as Chestnut-quilled Rock Pigeons, Banded Fruit-doves, Black Wallaroos and Oenpelli Pythons call this escarpment country home. In addition to this, we are visiting one of the most amazing human history sites in northern Australia. We learn how the art galleries & occupation sites here bear witness to one of the world’s oldest continuous cultures.
We will be driving to a valley in central Kakadu and walking 3kms to a rainforest clad stream where we will see for the first time the amazing Gondwanan Manbinik Trees Allosyncarpia ternata. These giants are seen nowhere else in the world, but have relatives in Malaysia, New Caledonia and South America. They are of great significance to the Bininj people, but have mystified biogeographers with their very limited distribution.
The walk takes us along an almost level, rocky track, fording creeks as we go. At the end of the walk there will be time to relax and have a swim in a series of flowing escarpment pools.
On our return, we may have time to walk (approx 1.6kms) into another famous rock art gallery at Nangaluwurr.
Day 10: Darwin
Today we drive from Jabiru to Darwin via Pine Creek and Adelaide River, with a visit to Tolmer Falls and a swim at Florence Falls in Litchfield National Park.
On the first section of the drive we will take a short stop at Pine Creek where we can look out for the rare Hooded Parrot, which are often seen feeding beside the road in pairs and small flocks.
The town of Pine Creek began with a gold rush in 1867 and at its peak had a population of over 3000 people. Today, gold is still being mined in the area which is situated on the rim of a giant geological structure called the Pine Creek Geosyncline, which takes in much of Kakadu. This town had a great impact on the people of Kakadu at the time of the gold rush. We will learn the details of how it caused a serious decline in their numbers, from which they are still recovering today.
Litchfield National Park is a small but impressive park close to Darwin focused on another sandstone formation, which produces volumes of fresh water from aquifers in the horizontal geology. As a result, there are many waterfalls and streams, which provide safe swimming for visitors.
Day 11: Nhulunbuy - East Arnhem Land
Today we will transfer to Darwin Airport for a flight to East Arnhem Land. Please note: Luggage is restricted to 10kg per person. Large luggage will be safely stored at Darwin Hotel.
Covering 85,000 square kms, the unspoiled beauty and habitat of Arnhem Land Aboriginal Reserve support one of Australia’s last wilderness areas. Our flight takes us across the rugged escarpment and down the course of the East Alligator River (boundary of Kakadu and Arnhem Land) over the vast floodplain systems of Magela Creek & the East Alligator. The Safari Camp is situated in woodlands north of the main Escarpment beside an impressive sandstone feature called Mt Borradaile. Nearby is another striking feature, a column of stone towering nearly 200m high called Wurragak (Tor Rock). The Cooper Creek wetlands – the focus of our visit – are in close proximity to the camp.
We spend the next 3 days looking at spectacular rock art, wetland bird safaris and exploring the woodlands. (During the wet season of Mt Borradaile, all the art sites, billabongs and creek systems are fully accessible by either boat or 4WD vehicle.)
Day 12: Nhulunbuy - East Arnhem Land
The group meets local aboriginal communities living in this remote part of the Arnhem land.
History from both country and colonial is rich in this part of Australia. Matthew Flinders, in his circumnavigation of Australia in 1803, met the Macassan trading fleet near present-day Nhulunbuy, an encounter that led to the establishment of settlements on Melville Island and the Cobourg Peninsula. A beach close to the township is named Macassan Beach in honour of this encounter.
Today we start early seeking out the birds of the wetland and other wildlife with a local tour guide from Country. We continue the day exploring the region visiting rock art sites of note. The group has a break during the heat of the day before continuing to explore East Arnhem land with its local guide until sunset.
Day 13: Nhulunbuy - East Arnhem Land
Day 14: Darwin
Today marks the end of our stay in this very remote part of Australia. We fly back to Darwin.
The afternoon is at your leisure.
Tonight we eat at the Darwin Trailer boat club.
Day 15: Darwin - Tiwi Islands (Bathurst Island)
Today we take a ferry from Darwin to Bathurst Island, with the Aboriginal community of Wurrumiyanga, a 2.5 hour journey. You will get a chance to learn about the community’s complex rituals and unique traditions and witness an Aboriginal community that holds on tightly to its traditions. Located off the coast of Darwin, the Tiwi Islands experience is led by an indigenous guide who shares local history and traditions. You will be able to partake in a smoking ceremony and watch and discuss with the Tiwi ladies about their work on their arts and crafts. Your day also includes learning about the church and the Catholic mission as well visiting the Tiwi Island Museum.
You can also have time to visit and learn about Tiwi paintings, fabric, carving, pottery and clothing.
Day 16: Darwin
Today we take in 3 museums and galleries in Darwin accompanied with a local guide to share the stories of Darwin. We start at the Museum and art gallery of the Northern Territory. Then we propose to visit the Roadmasters house associated with NT railway and The Burnett house; This is the only surviving example of B.C.G. Burnett’s Type ‘K’ and was unusual in being of two-storey configuration.
A unique feature is the coloured compass inlay in the ground floor concrete slab. Burnett’s original plans and early photographs indicate a rainwater tank at the rear, near the laundry.
The house was damaged by Cyclone Tracy in December 1974. From about 1983 the house remained vacant and was boarded up to prevent access from itinerants until it was restored in 1988 for the National Trust.
We return to the hotel, mid afternoon.
Day 17: Darwin
Today we travel out to Litchfield National Park to visit the Stapleton station.
The Sargent family developed Stapleton Station and its outstation Blyth over 40 years. The family contributed substantially to the development of the Top End. Today their descendants have dispersed, although many remain as important members of our Top End community.
In 1964, Stapleton Station was sold to the Townsend family. In 1984 Bob and Roy Townsend initiated talks with the NT Government with a view to protecting some of the property as a National Park. Blyth Homestead was included in the land parcel which became Litchfield National Park in 1986, and in 1997 it was declared a heritage site to be protected for future generations. It is one of the best remaining examples of Top End bushcraft architecture. Allow time to take in the early 1900’s Aussie battler atmosphere of the Homestead and enjoy its stories whilst in the park.
We return to Darwin in the afternoon.
Tonight, we enjoy a farewell meal with the locals at the Darwin Boat trailer boat club.
Day 18: Darwin
The tour concludes after breakfast.
Includes / Excludes
What’s included in our Tour
- 17 nights accommodation.
- 17 breakfasts, 14 lunches, 14 dinners.
- Coach or other vehicle suitable for the journey.
- Flights and excursions as stated in the itinerary
- Entrances and sightseeing as specified.
- Services of Tour Leader for the duration of tour.
- Detailed Preparatory Information.
What’s not included in our Tour
- Comprehensive travel insurance.
- Items of a personal nature, such as telephone calls and laundry.
Odyssey Program Leaders
Make it a private tour
Easing your journey
Crossing international borders with restrictions
The list of requirements to travel internationally has changed and will continue to change for several years. Odyssey is here to assist you in managing your way through these requirements:
For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.
Book With Confidence
If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.
See Terms and conditions for details.
Peace of Mind Travel
The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.
See Peace of Mind Travel for details.
Reading List Download PDF
Yura and Udnyu: A history of the Adnyamathanha of the North Flinders Ranges
The beautiful, rugged north Flinders Ranges is the home of the Adnyamathanha. Their creation stories tell of their physical and cultural longevity in the region. However, their lives and community were seriously disrupted with the advent of British colonialism from the mid-nineteenth century.
Using firsthand accounts from Adnyamathanha and archival sources this book traces the history of colonial incursion and Adnyamathanha responses from 1840 to the era of native title in the twenty-first century. From early violent encounters between Adnyamathanha and colonists looking for land to graze their stock, employment of Adnyamathanha in the pastoral and mining industries, through hard times during droughts and economic depression, the establishment of the United Aborigines Mission at Nepabunna, to the era of self-determination in the 1970s, Adnyamathanha have shown great resilience in their ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining a strong sense of identity and community. Throughout, they have seized opportunities to inform the wider society of their cultural knowledge and maintain their rights to country.
By Peggy BrockAmazon
Flinders, the man who mapped Australia
The fascinating story of the exceptional maritime explorer, Matthew Flinders - the man who put Australia on the map.Shipwrecks, storms, death and danger - Matthew Flinders encountered it all on his courageous quest to circumnavigate and chart the treacherous Terra Australis coastline.From the drama of epic voyages and devastating shipwrecks; his part in the naming of Australia; his cruel imprisonment by the French on Mauritius for six long and harrowing years; the heartbreaking separation from his beloved wife; and the comfort he got from his loyal cat, Trim; to his tragic death at just forty.This is a gripping adventure biography that details the life of Flinders, a true hero whose name is forever woven into the fabric of Australian history.
By Rob MundleFishpond
A History of South Australia
A History of South Australia investigates South Australia's history from before the arrival of the first European maritime explorers to the present day, and examines its distinctive origins as a 'free' settlement. In this compelling and nuanced history, Paul Sendziuk and Robert Foster consider the imprint of people on the land - and vice versa - and offer fresh insights into relations between Indigenous people and the European colonisers. They chart South Australia's economic, political and social development, including the advance and retreat of an interventionist government, the establishment of the state's distinctive socio-political formations, and its relationship to the rest of Australia and the world. The first comprehensive, single-volume history of the state to be published in over fifty years, A History of South Australia is an essential and engaging contribution to our understanding of South Australia's past.
By Paul Sendziuk, Robert FosterFishpond
The Crow Eaters: A journey through South Australia
Outsiders think of South Australia as being different, without really knowing much about it. Combining his own travel across the million-square kilometres of the state with an investigation of its history, Ben Stubbs seeks to find out what South Australia is really like.
In the spirit of the best travel writing and literary non-fiction, he lingers in places of quiet beauty and meets some memorable people. Along the way he debunks most of the clichés that plague the state. Travelling to Maralinga, Ceduna, Kangaroo Island, the Flinders Ranges, Coober Pedy, the storied Adelaide suburb of Elizabeth and the once-mighty river that is the Murray, Stubbs brings this diverse state to life. He even addresses head-on the question ‘Is South Australia weird?’
Readers will find it hard to resist the book’s implicit invitation to take a look at places much closer to home, to take the time to drink in dramatic landscapes that are slow, deep and speckled with unforgettable characters.
By Ben StubbsAmazon
Burke and Wills: The triumph and tragedy of Australia's most famous explorers
The iconic Australian exploration story - brought to life by Peter FitzSimons, Australia's storyteller.
'They have left here today!' he calls to the others. When King puts his hand down above the ashes of the fire, it is to find it still hot. There is even a tiny flame flickering from the end of one log. They must have left just hours ago.
MELBOURNE, 20 AUGUST 1860. In an ambitious quest to be the first Europeans to cross the harsh Australian continent, the Victorian Exploring Expedition sets off, farewelled by 15,000 cheering well-wishers. Led by Robert O'Hara Burke, a brave man totally lacking in the bush skills necessary for his task; surveyor and meteorologist William Wills; and 17 others, the expedition took 20 tons of equipment carried on six wagons, 23 horses and 26 camels.
Almost immediately plagued by disputes and sackings, the expeditioners battled the extremes of the Australian landscape and weather: its deserts, the boggy mangrove swamps of the Gulf, the searing heat and flooding rains. Food ran short and, unable to live off the land, the men nevertheless mostly spurned the offers of help from the local Indigenous people.
In desperation, leaving the rest of the party at the expedition's depot on Coopers Creek, Burke, Wills, Charley Gray and John King made a dash for the Gulf in December 1860. Bad luck and bad management would see them miss by just hours a rendezvous back at Coopers Creek, leaving them stranded in the wilderness with practically no supplies. Only King survived to tell the tale.
Yet, despite their tragic fates, the names of Burke and Wills have become synonymous with perseverance and bravery in the face of overwhelming odds. They live on in our nation's history - and their story remains immediate and compelling.
By Peter FitzSimonsAmazon
Sturt's Desert Drama
This is the story of Charles Sturt's trip to penetrate Australia's mysterious centre. South Australia is sliding into bankruptcy and the colonials look to Sturt. As "Father of Australian Exploration they needed him to find rich lands to rescue the South Australian economy. As one perishes, others wondered who would be next. Could their steely resolve force the Inland to yield its secrets?
The explorer's original diaries and letters are quoted from freely, to enable you to ride into the fierce, blazing deserts with them and to feel what they felt and picture what they saw.
By Ivan RudolphAmazon
Two Expeditions Into the Interior of Southern Australia
This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.
This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.
Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been proofread and republished using a format that seamlessly blends the original graphical elements with text in an easy-to-read typeface.
We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant.
By Charles SturtAmazon