What’s a sample itinerary?
Because all our trips are tailormade to suit – it might be hard for you know where to start. So the following tours give you an idea of what can be done in a certain time frame and what can be included. You can then get back to us with what interests you – or what changes you’d like to make.
Northern Exposure – Darwin, Kakadu, Litchfield & Katherine
Highlights of Australia’s Top End. The personal nature of this tour means you have the flexibility to enjoy the Top End at your own pace and focus on what interests you at given locations. The itinerary outlined here is an example of what can be done – we can make departure date and time suit YOU – feel free to ask for other options.
7.30am Depart Darwin in our 4 wheel drive vehicle and head out to Kakadu National Park. Enroute stop in at Window on the Wetlands for a birds eye view of the Adelaide River floodplains. Visit Mamukala for birdwatching over the wetlands then out to the East Alligator River to join a two hour Guluyumbi boat cruise. From here its on to Ubirr Rock to marvel at ancient Aboriginal rock art and then sunset over the East Alligator floodplains. Overnight accommodation and dinner at the world famous Crocodile Hotel.
For early risers you have the option of a morning flight over Kakadu (extra cost). After breakfast we tour the southern section of Kakadu including Bowali visitor centre, Nourlangie Rock, Yellow Waters, Gunlom Falls and other sites time permitting. At end of day we leave Kakadu and overnight in Katherine at the Ibis Styles motel.
Board a tour boat for a two hour cruise into Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge). After lunch travel north via historic Pine Creek gold mining town and then relax at the Pine Creek Railway resort for the evening.
Head into Litchfield National Park – waterfalls, termite mounds and rainforests – then onto Darwin arriving approx. 6pm As with all tours email us direct with any queries you have relating to the itinerary, costs, weather conditions, inclusions etc.
Rock Art & Culture Tours into the Land of the Lightning Brothers
The rock art and landscapes of the Australian Aborigines is amongst the oldest on earth. The Victoria River region of the Northern Territory is unique for the large amount of rock art galleries it contains – and for the fact that Aboriginal elder Bill Harney allows visitors to accompany him as he explains the art and culture of his people.
Leave from outback town of Katherine in the morning and head west 2 hours to Bills home country. Set up camp by a stream and relax for the afternoon getting to know Bill. Enjoy a campfire dinner and overnite camping under the stars.
After a hearty breakfast we head out for the day in four wheel drives exploring rock art sites, hearing Bills stories and looking out for the wildlife that calls this place home – kangaroos, donkeys and lots of birdlife. End of day under the stars again at our campsite.
Today we head out in a different direction to see varied styles of art – engravings of animal foot prints – creation figures – and burial sites. Opportunity to learn much about bush medicines and foods from Bill. Last night at our campsite.
After breakfast we break camp , say our good byes to Bill and head back to Katherine – arriving around 5pm.
The old people like Bill are dying out and soon this firsthand knowledge will be lost.
Bill and I have been close friends for many years (this year he invited me to perform with him at the Sydney Opera House) and several times a year we head out with small groups – camping under the stars , looking at rock art, burial sites and rock shelters where Bill’s ancestors once lived. The area we travel is wilderness with no facilities other than what we carry in our vehicles.. Tents and bedding are provided and all meals cooked ‘out bush’ style. A percentage of the money generated from each trip is handed over to the Wardaman people to assist with ongoing education and cultural projects.
Days activities involve hiking, and four wheel driving to rock shelters and overhangs to study the art with Bill along with lots of opportunities to see Australian wildlife. Their are some stunning rock gorges in this country with safe places for swimming . A highlight is sitting around the campfire at night to hear more of Bill stories and share in singing and didgeridoo playing..
We go way off the tourist route and can guarantee this as a once in a lifetime experience.
The trip is suitable for most ages – Bill himself is in his 70’s.
If you want to get away from the maddening crowds , in an area where you can almost hear your heartbeat , and hear stories of a culture that we could do well to learn from – you would be welcome.
If you would like to travel with us please email your interest to [email protected]
About Ydumduma Bill Harney
Ydumduma Bill Harney, an Elder and Senior custodian of the Wardaman people of the Victoria, Flora and Katherine River Districts of the North Territory of Australia.
Ydumduma was born on the bank of Brandy Bottle Creek in the MUY MUY clan country of the Wardaman people, in the early 1930’s to his mother Ludi. Ydumduma himself is of the YBULYAWUN clan of the Wardaman Nation. The Nation once comprised 11 clans, today the members of a mere 5 clans, survive. Wardaman were an extremely aggressive and successful Tribe having controlled the major parts of three river systems. They drove the early pastoralists from the traditional Wardaman lands. Over 40 years elapsed before the Wardaman were finally subdued by the European and then at a tremendous cost to the invader.Wardaman were massacred in their hundreds and returned that horror many times on the European usurpers, killing police and pastoralist alike, in reprisal for their own maltreatment.
A proud and resourceful people, the elder warrior males, observed in their splendour still, as late as the 1930’s and described in the records as “the hereditary Lords of the Wardaman people” by an author who happened upon them in close proximity of the township of Katherine. From this high quality of human stock descended Ydumduma. Ydumduma was raised and educated in the traditional ceremony’s of his ancient people by Jumorji, a senior lawman of the Wardaman and Ydumduma’s Aboriginal father. From Jumorji, Ydumduma takes his country and his heritage, for the Wardaman practice a patralinial hierarchy, with eight moiety groups. Ydumduma is steeped in the law and ways of his people as well as having a strong knowledge of the laws and ways of the Muningja (White man).
Ydumduma is not formally educated in the system of the white man, the systematic process of his people’s dispossession deprived him of that, yet his white man knowledge, gained by his life experience, is vast. He is semi-literate and semi-numerate. As an aboriginal he speaks seven languages and is the last senior lawman (knowledge custodian) of his people. In the White man way of things Ydumduma is an Emeritus Professor.
In the law of his people and their closely affiliated tribal neighbours, he is the equivalent of the Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia. The Big Lawman, wherever he is, among the Aboriginal peoples of Australia, a man accorded the highest respect. In the white man’s world he began work at 8 years of age in the Stockcamps of the big English Pastoral Company, Vestey’s, who for a time possessed the rich traditional land of his people. Vestey’s pursued and won a huge fortune from the grazing of cattle on the lands of Ydumduma and those of his ancestors.He began as a lowly horse-tailer and rose to become head-stockman, the highest employment category and responsibility an Aboriginal male could achieve at that time. He was, for a time head-stockman for the famous family of European Cattle Barons, the Durack family. Ydumduma retains that family’s respect to this day and that of many other Europeans. He has travelled widely in this land and in other nations of this world, promoting his cultural heritage and the magnificent art record of his people.
Ydumduma is widely regarded as a Master story teller or songman of his people; his fame is both national and international. As an artist in his own right, Ydumduma has works all over the globe, paintings in the National Gallery of Australia, the Federal Parliament and the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly. He is a co-author of 2 books ‘ Born Under the Paperbark Tree’ (1996) or the University of the Bush and ‘Dark Sparklers’, a Wardaman interpretation of the cosmos (2003).
He gathers and processes the traditional didjeridu timber, makes, paints and performs with that haunting instrument. From this and the paintings of his ‘dreamings’ he now makes a living, supporting an extended family of some 30 people. Ydumduma has never been on the Welfare Line and although of Pension age, steadfastly refuses to be kept by the Government.Ydumduma has at various times in his long working life been a crocodile hunter, a Buffalo hunter, a fisherman, a fencing contractor and today still conducts guided tours of his traditional lands. An extraordinary and successful businessman (a rarity amongst his peoples) his products, stories and tours are in incessant demand.
Amongst humans Ydumduma is best described as ‘one of Natures Gentlemen’, others have described him on of Australia’s living ‘National Treasures’. An extremely knowledgeable, intelligent and gregarious man. Ydumduma, since 1976, has been responsible for the return to his people of 5,000 square kilometres of their traditional lands. He is actively leading his people in the acquisition of further Freehold land at present.
Never Never Experience – as seen on Getaway TV
This is the location that put Mike Keighley and FAR OUT ADVENTURES on the International tourist map almost two decades ago and continues to do so. It embodies the ‘real’ Australia – Aboriginal culture, wildlife, bush tucker, waterfalls, wetlands, camping by warm springs, and right in the middle of an Aboriginal owned cattle station in the remote Northern Territory.
The Never Never country is pretty well the closest thing you will get to real paradise – well that’s what our guests say – we agree. However – if you like masses of tourists around you to make you feel safe, or the comfort of a five star hotel and your bed turned down – then don’t read on.
Of course if you are unsure about camping under the stars we also offer alternative outback motel accommodation nearby in the town of Mataranka – but its not the Sheraton!
We want you to experience the World’s oldest culture in an unstructured way, back to basics, away from crowds and tourist buses, and you are invited to join discerning travellers from around the world who rate this place and it’s people as one of their best experiences in Australia. Comments such as – ‘never thought a place like this could exist’, ‘don’t change a thing’, ‘so untouristy’, ‘will be back next year’, ‘wished we could have stayed longer’, ‘am giving up my day job’, and ’trip beyond fabulous’.
Interested to find out more? Click here for the full story of the Never Never Experience.
Out of Cell Phone Range – Urban Recovery Tour
This is a journey for the stressed out executive, the urban prisoner, the office junkie, or anybody else who has a need to ‘get lost’ from the twenty first century. Your personable and expert guides, from Far Out Adventures and Gecko Canoeing have specifically designed this tour to get you back to reality to find yourself, and in areas where you are no longer the top of the food chain!
We pick you up from Darwin in our four wheel drive and lead you south to begin your journey. Your Guide (Outdoor Therapist) will help you to slow down and enjoy the subtle nuances of creation as you travel into the spiritual home of past cultures. At Edith Falls we’ll take a walk into the escarpment and relax by a waterfall, listen to the birds and lay about in the clear waters surrounded by sandstone cliffs. Closer to Katherine we’ll see some significant Aboriginal dreaming sites from a time long ago. Overnight you’ll stay in Katherine, there is a good range of accommodation, from Backpacker hostels through to the Far Out Hide Out (Jan’s B & B) – a relaxing place to wind down, lay about in the outdoor spa and retire for the night in comfortable accommodation.
It’s up early for the start of a magnificent day on Katherine Gorge (Nitmiluk). By starting early we get ahead of any tourist crowds and seldom see others all day. We’ll use canoes to get right up into the Gorge system and allow you plenty of time to lay back, swim, and enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch washed down with a cheeky chardonnay. Don’t worry if you haven’t paddled before – we provide all the assistance you’ll need. End of day watch the sun go down and retire at your Katherine accommodation.
This day we to take you right off the tourist route and away from civilisation. We will travel further south of Katherine and enter Never Never country – the land of the Mangarrayi people – we’ll camp out in this country of waterfalls, jungles, rock pools and clear night skies. This area featured on National TV ‘Aussie Top Spots’ on Channel 9 ‘Getaway’ show with Catriona Rowntree. We are the only tour operators permitted into this country.
More relaxing in Never Never land – swim, bushwalk, photograph, try some fishing, do some painting or interact with the tribal people when they visit our camp – the unstructured nature of this tour means you can do as much or as little as you like. This afternoon we head back to Katherine accommodation.
Day five – seven:
The same laid back feel continues as you meet up with your Gecko Guide and head out for three days of wilderness canoeing on the Katherine River. The Katherine River system winds through 600 klms of the most amazing subtropical savannah country. You’ve already paddled Katherine Gorge (about 13 klms of the entire river system) and know what a great experience river canoeing is – now it’s time to really get amongst it and head south-west down the river for another 50 klms or so. The food and camping facilities are second to none and our Guides have years of experience moulding clients into the environment. As you quietly paddle along on your canoe journey you will get to know the flora and fauna that saturate the environment – you’ll follow the river through shaded corridors, pandanus jungles, gentle rapids – and at days end you’ll enjoy the finest gourmet cooking washed down with fine wine around the campfire. This trip featured on the “Getaway” Holiday show.
Late in the afternoon a four wheel drive vehicle will rendezvous with your group, canoes are loaded up and you are returned to Katherine. You are guaranteed to have memories to last a lifetime and your whole outlook on life will be immeasurably enhanced! We know this to be true because of comments and repeat bookings from past clients. This tour will be in wilderness areas but you will have comfortable accommodation whilst outbush and meals will be bush gourmet style; healthy food and plenty of it. We even do cappuccino’s and plunger coffee for the urban cowboys!
With such a big range of Clients we are finding that requirements are different from person to person, consequently accommodation costs in Katherine are at the clients expense. Of course we are more than happy to advise, book and arrange it all for you, just let us know what type you need.