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Wonders of the Top End and West

Suggested months: August, September, October.

Venturing through the central and western parts of the country will reveal some of Australia's best kept secrets. The majestic landscapes of the Flinders Ranges are a sanctuary for a host of marsupials, bird and reptiles, with Arkaba being considered one of the most scenic outback stations in the country.

World Heritage Listed Kakadu National Park is one of the world's finest nature reserves with a huge concentration of nesting waterbirds including Magpie Geese and Whistling Ducks, herons, egrets, ibis, spoonbills and iconic Brolgas, Comb-crested Jacanas and Jabirus. Saltwater Crocodiles and numerous marsupials are concentrated around watercourses providing abundant photographic opportunities.

The final stop is a visit to Ningaloo and Exmouth, to dive and snorkel with a rich array of marine life including one of the most majestic creatures on earth, the Humpback Whale.

Flinders Ranges Kakadu & Arnhem Land Ningaloo & Exmouth
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Type: Groups,Private Charter,Shared

Duration: 4 Days/3 Nights

Logistics: Fly into Adelaide Airport (ADL) then a choice of a 5 hour drive or 65 minute private air charter to Hawker. Alternatively on Monday through Friday, Sharp Airlines operates an early morning 50 minute commercial flight from Adelaide to Port Augusta, where guests will be picked up and take a 75 minute guided transfer to Arkaba.

The Arkaba Walk

This four day walk traverses the ancient Flinders Ranges where 600 million years of geological history provide spectacular backdrops to the rich array of birds, reptiles and marsupials that call this region home. From dry creek beds, isolated waterholes, lined with 1,000 year old river gums to craggy ridge lines and rolling hills covered in cypress pines to the ancient ramparts of Wilpena Pound, this is some of the most stunning walking country in Australia and provides abundant opportunities to spot Red and Western Grey Kangaroos, Wallaroos, Emus, Wedge-tailed Eagles along with numerous parrots, songbirds, bushbirds and raptors.

Accompanied by expert guides, walkers are provided with a fascinating insight into the ecosystems located across the 60,000 acre private wildlife conservancy, along with the stories of the indigenous inhabitants, early explorers and pioneer settlers.

Seasonal highlights

Winter: Jun-Aug - Birds

Emus begin laying their enormous eggs, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Pallid Cuckoo Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo migrate to the area, Galahs, Elegant Parrots and Mulga Parrots.

Spring: Sep-Nov - Birds

Striped Emu chicks following their fathers, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Little Eagle, Black Kite and Brown Goshawk fledging, Rainbow Bee-eaters and Sacred Kingfishers arrive to breed. 

Winter: Jun-Aug - Land Mammals & Marsupials

Yellow-footed Rock Wallabies basking in the sunlight across the rocky outcrops, Short-beaked Echidnas, Brush-tailed Possums, Western Quolls, Western Grey Kangaroos, Common Wallaroos and Red Kangaroos are abundant, grazing during the day.

Spring: Sep-Nov - Land Mammals & Marsupials

Short-beaked Echidnas, Red Kangaroo joeys born, Western Grey Kangaroos, Common Wallaroos feeding on shoots and vegetation, Fat-tailed Dunnarts and Stripe-faced Dunnarts breeding and very occasionally sighted.

Winter: Jun-Aug - Reptiles & Amphibians

Tree Skink, Boulenger's Snake-eyed Skink, endemic Masked Rock Skink and Gidgee Skink, Inland Carpet Python can be occasionally, Streambank Froglet.

Spring: Sep-Nov - Reptiles & Amphibians

Breeding males for the Painted, Tawny and Red-barred Dragons exhibit brilliant colours, Central Bearded Dragons, Nobbi Dragons, Thick-tailed Geckos with their barking calls.

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Type: Private Charter

Duration: 6 days/5 nights

Logistics: Take a 3 hour 40 minute flight from Adelaide Airport (ADL) to Darwin Airport (DRW).

Six Day Lords Safaris, Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris and Bamurru Plains

Covering black soil floodplains, paper bark swamps, savannah woodlands, monsoonal rainforests, river mangroves and dramatic escarpments, this is the ultimate Top End adventure for wildlife enthusiasts. Highlights include a visit to Fogg Dam, the iconic Yellow Water Cruise and airboat rides across the Mary River Catchment.

The richness and diversity of wildlife is simply extraordinary with wallabies, wallaroos, quolls, dingos, bats, goannas, frogs, pythons, waterbirds, cathedral termite mounds and the legendary Saltwater Crocodile, a small sample of viewing opportunities across these diverse habitats.

Visitors will be captivated by the cultural offerings found at the rock art galleries at Injalak and the sacred sites at Mt Borradaile, with the opportunity to learn about Australia’s fauna from the land’s traditional owners an unforgettable experience.

Seasonal highlights

Winter: Jun-Aug - Birds

Mass flocks of Magpie Geese nesting, White-bellied Sea Eagles, Brahminy and Whistling Kites, Great Billed Herons, Azure Kingfishers, Plumed Whistling, Wandering Whistling and Spotted Whistling Ducks, Royal Spoonbills and Glossy Ibis.

Spring: Sep-Nov - Birds

High concentration of waterbirds, Brolga courtship dance, Great Egrets, Royal Spoonbills, Black-winged Stilts, Black-necked Storks (Jabirus), Comb-crested Jacana, Blue-winged Kookaburras.

Winter: Jun-Aug - Land Mammals & Marsupials

Agile Wallabies, Dingos, Wilkins’ Rock-Wallabies, Black Wallaroos, Antilopine Wallaroos, colonies of Ghost Bats, Black and Little Red Flying Foxes and Blossom Bats.

Spring: Sep-Nov - Land Mammals & Marsupials

Concentration of Agile Wallabies around creeks and billabongs, Antilopone Wallaroos, Wilkins’ Rock Wallabies, Northern Brown Bandicoots, Brush-tailed Phascogales and Northern Quolls, Black & Little Red Flying Foxes, Ghost Bats and Blossom Bats.

Winter: Jun-Aug - Reptiles & Amphibians

Abudant Saltwater Crocodiles, Freshwater Crocodiles in the escarpments, Green Tree Snakes, Children Pythons, Olive Pythons, Rough Knob-tailed Gecko, Desert Tree, Rocket, Roth’s Tree and Northern Dwarf Tree Frogs.

Spring: Sep-Nov - Reptiles & Amphibians

Peak season for Saltwater Crocodiles observation with shrinking pockets of water, Freshwater Crocodiles, Fire-tailed Skink, Sand and Spotted Goannas, Copland’s Rock Frog.

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Type: Groups,Shared

Duration: Full Day

Logistics: Take a 2 hour flight from Darwin Airport (DRW) to Alice Springs Airport, to connect with a 3 hour and 10 minute flight to Perth Airport (PER). Take a 2 hour flight to Exmouth (LEA).

Humpback Whale Swim and Watching

A staggering 30,000 west coast Humpback Whales migrate through the Exmouth and Ningaloo region and start to rest after their long migration from the Antarctic. Mothers will typically move their calves into the Gulf area at Exmouth over these months, to fatten them up for their lengthy return journey south.

The Department of Parks & Wildlife has recently given authority for Exmouth Diving Centre to provide guided swims with these amazing creatures under strict parameters and conditions. Visitors will venture out in small groups of five with a guide & videographer to record one of the most special intimate encounters of the ocean. Following this, guests will enjoy a snorkel on the reef to enjoy the amazing tropical fish, rays, turtles and corals.

Seasonal highlights

Winter: Jun-Aug - Fish & Marine Invertebrates

Coral Spawn & Plankton reaches its highest concentration, Whale Sharks seen until the end of July Manta Rays around Exmouth, Parrotfish, Butterflyfish, Angelfish, Damselfish, Cardinalfish, Scissor Tails, Groper, Coral Trout, Nudibranches, Grey Nurse Sharks congregate around the Navy Pier competing for space with the Whitetip Reef Sharks and Wobbegongs.

Spring: Sep-Nov - Fish & Marine Invertebrates

Manta Rays along the reef near Exmouth, Parrotfish, Butterflyfish, Angelfish, Damselfish, Scissor Tails, Flutemouths Wrasse, Groper, Coral Trout, Giant Potato Cod and Trevally, Sailfin Catfish, Clarkes, Pink and Tomato Anemonefish.

Winter: Jun-Aug - Marine Mammals

Over 30,000 individual west coast Humpback Whales migrate to the area (opportunity to swim with them from July onwards) with Orcas prevalent. Pseudo Orcas, Minke Whales, Pilot Whales, Short-beaked Common Dolphins, Spinner Dolphins are occasionally sighted whilst Bottlenose and Australian Humpback Dolphins are abundant.

Spring: Sep-Nov - Marine Mammals

Humpback Whales are in region with mothers typically minding calves in the Gulf area (opportunity to swim with these creatures until the end of October). Orcas are active in the area, Pseudo Orcas, Minke Whales, Pilot Whales, Short-beaked Common Dolphins, Spinner Dolphins and Blue Whales are occasional visitors to the area. Bottlenose and Australian Humpback Dolphins calve around this time. 

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