The Far Out Story
Mike has an international client base from all walks of life – celebrities wanting to ‘get away from it all’, film crews doing wildlife documentaries, writers, journalists and photographers looking for that unique story, corporate clients ‘escaping’ from the rat race and a host of travellers (some with families) who just want to get to the ‘REAL’ Australia.
As a Savannah Guide Mike takes time out each year to attend Savannah Guide workshops held at remote locations across Northern Australia to share knowledge of the unique landscapes, culture and wildlife of Northern Australia.
FAR OUT ADVENTURES aim for excellence and have been recognised with a Northern Territory Brolga Award for Excellence in Heritage & Cultural Tourism, and National Finalists in Heritage & Cultural Tourism.
In 2010 FAR OUT had a major year – being acknowledged as Indigenous Tourism Champions by Tourism Australia and as Green Travel Leaders by Ecotourism Australia www.greentravelleaders.com.au.
In 2012 FAR OUT won the Indigenous Tourism Award for Australia.
On an individual level Mike has won the EcoGuide Award of Excellence for the past three years 2010, 2011 and 2012. These are significant achievements as they are awarded by Australia’s peak EcoTourism body – EcoTourism Australia.
If you are interested in a FAR OUT ADVENTURE email [email protected].
Some of the areas we have access to
Kakadu national park
World heritage listed, Kakadu National Park is an enormous, biodiverse nature reserve in Australia’s Northern Territory. With terrain encompassing wetlands, rivers and sandstone escarpments, it’s home to some 2,000 plant species and wildlife from saltwater crocodiles and flatback turtles to birds. Aboriginal rock paintings, dating to prehistoric times, can be viewed at sites such as Nourlangie, Nanguluwur and Ubirr.
Arnhem Land is a vast wilderness area in the northeast corner of Australia’s Northern Territory, defined by rocky escarpments, gorges, rivers and waterfalls. It’s home to the traditional landowners, the Yolngu people, and permits are required to visit. Aboriginal bark paintings and didgeridoos are displayed at the Injalak Arts and Craft Centre in Gunbalanya, while nearby Injalak Hill is an ancient rock art site.
Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge)
Nitmiluk National Park is in the Northern Territory of Australia, 244 km southeast of Darwin, around a series of gorges on the Katherine River and Edith Falls. Previously named Katherine Gorge National Park, its northern edge borders Kakadu National Park. Make your way to the sandstone country and explore the 13 stunning gorges on foot, by canoe, boat or helicopter
Litchfield National Park
Discover misty waterfalls and lush waterholes, hit the trail in a 4WD, or take it nice and slow and wander through Litchfield National Park on foot. Litchfield National Park, covering approximately 1500 km², is near the township of Batchelor, 100 km south-west of Darwin, in the Northern Territory of Australia. Each year the park attracts over 260,000 visitors.
We love our backyard
Drone captured footage of Kakadu National Park, which stretches over 20,000 square kilometres. Allowing you a birds eye view of some of Kakadu’s hot spots. You’ll understand why Kakadu National Park is World-Heritage listed for both it’s environment and living Aboriginal culture. Do the NT, courtesy of the team over at Northern Territory, Australias Outback.
kakadu national park
When to visit
The Top End of Australia has unique weather patterns – generally speaking from May to October (the Dry) the days are sunny and warm and rain is seldom seen. The nights cool down a little and most visitors come in this period – July/August being exceptionally busy.
From October to April the weather is hotter, more humid and around January to March the awesome Wet Season dominates. For some – this is the best time to come – for others – too hot, unpredictable and uncomfortable.
From my point of view – ANYTIME you come you will find something fascinating to experience.
Here’s some examples: If you like birdwatching – then later in the year (September on ) many birds congregate at waterholes as the ground dries up. If you want to see crocodiles during the day – then the middle of the year when its cooler – the crocs come out of the water to get some sunshine.
Like camping out under the stars? Then April to September are a good time due to cooler nights and no rain. Want to see dynamic lightning storms? Waterfalls at their best? Not too many people about? Then come during the Wet Season.
So – when to come?
If you have an experienced guide who knows all the subtle changes in the animals and landscapes you can come anytime. I never do any trip the same way – as things are constantly changing I like to flow with the seasons…. Yes seasons – the Aboriginal people define six distinct seasons in the calendar year and knowing the differences makes for a memorable trip.
If on the other hand you are worried a little about comfort (especially if you have children or are not used to hot weather ) then come from May to Septemeber – the Dry Season.
Whatever you decide — do decide to COME and see some of the amazing landscapes, wildlife and ancient culture of Australia’s Top End.
Meet your guide,
an interview with Mike
Mike Keighley has been running Australian Adventure tours for guests for over 20 years. He spent many years exploring Australia before developing this into a viable business. Mike doesn’t care for the word “tours”, because for him, it conjures up visions of people sitting on a big bus with nametags on their lapels. His trips are far removed from that sort of standardized travel. Mike prefers to call his trips “experiences”, or “journeys”. He gets a fair bit of repeat business as well as word-of-mouth; he has a website; he’s listed in Frommers and Fodor’s guides; Conde Nast Traveler has run several articles about the experiences he offers; he’s been featured in documentaries; and has established relationships with a smattering of agents who “get” what he’s doing, so he’s easy enough for the right guest to find. The result is that he’s normally booked out six to twelve months in advance, especially during peak season, June through September in Northern Australia and the rest of the time with charters ex Sydney and beyond.
We recently had a chat to him, and here is a sampling of the results:
Q. What are your goals when you take people on a ‘journey’?
A. Someone once said that the beaten path is traveled by the beaten traveler and so I try to get people off the beaten track and into places where they can enjoy space… just nature at it’s best – with a smattering of fine wine, food and accommodation.
Q. Sounds a bit “spiritual”?
A. Well, I hope so —-it seems that as much as we might fight it man is a spiritual being as well as physical – and whilst our physical side screams for attention for food, drink, nice things etc – we tend to neglect satisfying our spiritual side – and getting out bush away from city lights, noise pollution, and even people – seems to help us clear our heads from a lot of physical stuff and helps refocus.
Q. What’s a typical itinerary – or is there one?
A. This is where it gets crazy – I can’t say I have a ‘typical’ itinerary – every trip I do is different and is totally based on good communication with my clients or their agents. I like to know what they are interested in, what their expectations are before I sit down to draft up an itinerary – I can show you dozens of itineraries that we have done over the years and they are all so diverse.
Q. In what ways?
A. Well some people don’t like camping out, so we try to accommodate them in comfortable lodgings – which can range from 5 star hotels to log cabins. Other people love sleeping under the stars and really getting back to nature (which is my love) and so we have remote locations where we camp, with natural thermal pools and clear waterfalls. I have taken people from 5 star Sydney Hotels into the most remote places in Australia and the contrast is what makes it memorable. I have a personal affinity with wildlife – crocs, snakes, kangaroos, dingos, buffalo and birdlife – all the beautiful critters that we share the planet with – some people enjoy getting up close and personal – others like a bit of ‘space’ between so we cater for that.
Q. Is there any reason why you keep your groups small and what is average size?
A. The larger the group the more chance there is of people missing out on why they are out there – the more people, the more issues, the more noise – and its hard to hear the landscape speak if there are lots of people. I regularly do trips with two people – occasionally just one – biggest group I have taken out was fifty wanting to meditate (which is a bit of a paradox) however the average is around four.
Q. Who are your typical clients?
A. Look that’s a good question – I guess I get a lot of corporate people – celebrities, you know busy people who need to wind down, don’t want to be surrounded by ‘tourists’ yet want to experience something completely different to their own lifestyle. Some are couples; others are families who want to share quality time with their children in the natural world – others want a good overview of Australia. Quite a lot come from the USA and UK and we are getting a growing number of Aussies wanting to get away from the mainstream.
Q. Tell us about the strangest trip you have done?
A. Mmmm… well time doesn’t allow but around a campfire one night I could tell some stories about a Buddhist monk, a pizza being delivered by helicopter and a crazy Conde Naste Photo Shoot. Those are a few that come to mind.
Thanks Mike – I think your chopper is waiting!