Adventure Travel manager Tim Cox may have been to each and every corner of the globe, but he’s also travelled Australia; far from the usual tourist trails. Here are Tim’s five top tips on how to seek adventure closer to home.
1. The ancient landscape of Kimberley in Western Australia is one of the world’s most precious wilderness landscapes. Larger in size than 75% of the world’s countries, it spans hundreds of thousands of square kilometres bordered by the Indian Ocean, the Timor Sea, the Great Sandy-Tanami Deserts, and the Northern Territory. Although its vast and unforgiving deserts make parts of the Kimberley region inaccessible by road, Tim recommends leaving terra firma and seeing the wilderness from the water. Wild Earth Travel offers small ship travel that can take you deeper into the area to explore some of its hidden treasures; secret fresh water swimming holes, untouched coastlines, and ancient Aboriginal art sites.
2. Most people haven’t heard of Arnhem Land; and for many adventurers that’s a good start. Arnhem Land is a vast and mysterious corner of the Northern Territory, about the size of the state of Victoria but with a population of less than 20,000. An Aboriginal reserve mostly of Yolngu people, much of the population live on outstations, combining ancient practices with modern life. Tim says if you’re interested in Arnhem Land, a great time to visit is in August during the four-day Garma Festival, a celebration of ancient culture that includes ceremonial performances, bush craft lessons and academic forums. While a trip into Arnhem Land needs a bit of forethought and planning, it’s one of Australia’s most ruggedly beautiful and culturally intriguing areas, he says.
3. Why not take a 4-wheel drive safari through Kakadu National Park, one of the world’s greatest nature reserves and a World Heritage area? The Kakadu – a three-hour drive southeast of Darwin - is Australia’s largest terrestrial national park, covering almost 20,000 square kilometres of floodplains, billabongs and lowlands to rocky ridges and stone country. It’s home to more than 2000 plant species and wildlife from saltwater crocodiles and flatback turtles to birds. Explore it by land or by sea – the Yellow Water Billabong is one of Australia’s most bountiful waterways for the prized barramundi (and a boat is a safe place to spot saltwater crocs which are the largest reptile in the world and can weigh up to 1000kg!).
4. They’ve been around for 350 million years but the Bungle Bungles in the Purnululu National Park were a secret from the outside world until the 1980s when the extraordinary rock formations featured in a documentary. Often compared to giant beehives, the striking orange and black striped karst sandstone domes – some of which rise a jaw-dropping 250 metres above the grasslands - are one of the most stunning examples of their kind in the world. To appreciate the full scale of the domes (and depending on your budget) you check out the aerial view by charter helicopter. Tim’s tip: don’t miss hiking a bit further into the enormous Cathedral Gorge, an astonishing natural amphitheater of red rock – and test its renowned acoustics by flexing your vocals.
5. If you’re struggling to decide which untapped territory of Australia to visit first, why not embark on an 11-day top-to-tail Northern Territory adventure from Darwin to Alice Springs with Intrepid Travel – you can travel in a small group, explore by private vehicle, camp under the stars and eat from an Australian native foods menu. Climb Uluru at sunrise, wander the canyons of Kata Tjuta, and admire the views from Kings Canyon – or you can venture off-track to meet the locals and enjoy exclusive access to Arnhem Land, cruise the Mary River, see Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks, as well as the Katherine Gorge – it’s a great way of seeing more of Australia’s raw and rugged beauty.
Has Australia now climbed to the top of your wish list? View our range of Australian tours here or, contact us and we can help create your great Australian adventure.