Black-necked Stork (Jabiru)
From: $3,950 USD
Duration: 5 days/4 nights
Type: Private Charter.
Departs: On Request
About Lords Kakadu & Arnhemland Safaris:
Lords Kakadu and Arnhemland Safaris has been connecting guests to the Top End’s remarkable natural beauty and indigenous culture for 30 years. Consummate bushman and owner, Sab Lord leads the team of advocates, active in protecting and preserving Kakadu & Arnhem Land, one of the most cherished ecosystems and untouched wilderness areas of Australia. The team’s passion for the region is infectious as is the connection with the land and the indigenous communities that call the area home.This relationship formed over many decades, allows access to a range of culturally significant sites. Combined with the vast unpopulated pristine landscapes, guests can not helped being moved and reinvigorated by this World Heritage Listed area.
Price per person travelling with four passengers, based on double occupancy, including touring, meals & accommodation. Black-out dates may apply. Pricing is subject to availability and all prices, itineraries and routings are subject to change without notice. Currency fluctuations may affect prices as quotes based on AUD. Prices are current at time of posting (1/11/2023) and may differ when you book your travel. Please contact us for our current pricing and itinerary details*
Guests will depart from Darwin early morning towards the World Heritage Listed Kakadu National Park to visit the magnificent Fogg Dam Reserve during morning light. These wetlands fringed by rainforest are a birdwatchers paradise, with year round water coverage assuring its position as an important feeding and roosting site for over 200 different bird species, water pythons and freshwater turtles. The large expanses also provide fantastic opportunities for panoramic photos. There will be abundant opportunities to capture Forest and Azure Kingfishers, Magpie Geese, spoonbills, egrets, ibis, herons, Whistling & Black Kites and cormorants.
“Fogg Dam is a location where we often see birds en masse, and it’s a very interesting setting because it’s a dam wall, with lush wetlands on one side and dry wetlands and grasslands on the other. Ducks and ibises abound in huge numbers in the wetlands, while Magpie Geese, spoonbills, brolgas and jabirus are easily spotted on the dry side. Some guests have never seen so many birds in one place and on such a scale. We’re talking thousands and thousands of birds at the one time.”
Dean Hoath - Guide
Then onto Mary River wetlands where you shall enjoy a 45 min Airboat Safari is a truly unique experience which takes you where no one else can go. Travel through the seemingly endless floodplains of the Mary River Wetlands system spotting crocodiles and countless birds on one of our amazing airboats. You will feel like you are hovering above the blanket of lilies and reeds that add to the natural beauty of your surroundings.
A short detour off the highway is the beautiful Leaning Tree Lagoon; this Billabong is often covered in flowering Blue Lillies making, it a popular quick stop for photographers. Lunch is at the Bark Hut Inn; this Aussie Roadhouse was built during the buffalo era and is a reminder of earlier, wilder times. The last stop for the day is at Cooinda to experience one of Kakadu’s icons; a Yellow Water Cruise.
This pristine environment supports a truly wonderful variety of plants, birds, crocodiles and Top End wildlife. The immense concentration of birds, especially in the dry season including Magpie Geese, Whistling Ducks, Great Egrets, Royal Spoonbills, Black-winged Stilts, Comb-crested Jacanas, Azure Kingfishers, Sacred Kingfishers, White Bellied Sea-Eagles, Brahminy Kites, Plumed Whistling Ducks, Nankeen Night-Heron and Little Bitterns make this one of the world’s greatest birdwatching sites. Around the conclusion of the cruise, guests will witness at one of the ‘Top End’s’ great sunsets and stunning photography opportunities.
Overnight Accommodation: Lords Private Tented Camp
The second day of touring will take guests to the Southern end of Kakadu, to experience a spectacular pristine waterfall, Gunlom (Waterfall Creek). This area was immortalised in the first 'Crocodile Dundee' movie, due to its white sandy beach and 120 metre cascading waterfall, that is best experienced until the end of July, providing another fabulous photo opportunity.
A more challenging walk to the top of the waterfall is rewarded with a swim and the best view for miles around. It is common to see the Antilopine Wallaroo and Black-breasted Buzzards, with the Gouldian Finch and Hooded Parrot an occasional sighting. There are many unique plants in the area including the beautifully coloured Salmon Gum, Freshwater Mangrove, Silver-leafed Paperback and Yellow Bladderwort orchid.
Overnight Accommodation: Lords Private Tented Camp
Departing the Southern region of Kakadu National Park, travellers will venture across the East Alligator River and enter Arnhem Land; this area is restricted to a select group of tour operators. The scenic drive to the Gunbalanya Aboriginal community provides some of the best driving views in the Top End with floodplains, billabongs & the Arnhem Land escarpment. Guests will stop off at scenic viewpoints along the way to capture the remarkable colours that makes this region so famous.
We shall then head up into Mikinj Valley where you shall be able to see some amazing Rock art & some incredible views. This is a very special place not only for the local people but for the Lord Safaris. Upon arrival at Gunbalanya guests will visit the Injalak Arts and Craft Centre to meet and watch traditional local artists in action. This offers an intimate setting to get to know the artist and see first-hand how artworks are created.
Gunbalanya is the Aboriginal name for the Oenpelli settlement (which was originally a mission). The area includes the flood plains of the East Alligator River that are covered by water from December to April and a rocky sandstone plateau rising up to 200 metres above the plains. Photographers will see excellent examples of rock art on Injalak Hill, documented as having some of the best rock art examples in Western Arnhem Land, up to 8,000 years old. The rock art on Injalak Hill reveals facets of Pre-Estuarine, Estuarine and Contact periods identifying them as between 100 and 8,000 years old.
“We’re looking at drawings that are thousands and thousands of years old, so that’s older than any art hanging on the walls of galleries. Then physically the area where the rock art is found is big, too. The rock itself is about one kilometre long, and although we spend three to four hours walking around, we only see a small part of it. One of the important paintings here is of Eingana, the creation mother. The Galiwin’ku people believe that the first spirit was a woman who came walking out of the ocean, with a whole lot of dilly bags (traditional bags made from reeds or grasses) full of food which she scattered over the landscape."
Dean Hoath - Guide
The view from the top of the hill is simply breath-taking, looking out across the floodplains and around the Arnhemland escarpment while having lunch in the shade of one the many overhanging ledges. When travellers farewell the Aboriginal guide back at the Injalak Art & Craft Centre, there is an opportunity to browse or purchase goods from this non-profit Aboriginal organisation.
Across the sandstone escarpments, visitors may spot the Brolga, Black Necked Stork (Jabirus), honeyeaters, Sandstone Thrush, Black Wallaroo, Chestnut-quilled Rock Pigeon, Wilkins' Rock Wallaby, Channel-billed Cuckoo, Pheasant Coucal and the Fire-tailed Skink. Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris lodge is the next stop, situated in the northwest corner of Arnhem Land, adjacent to Kakadu National Park and the Coburg Peninsula.
Overnight Accommodation: Davidson's Arnhemland Safaris Lodge
Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris at Mt Borradaile is a registered Aboriginal sacred site nestled against the majestic Arnhem Land escarpment. This is a landscape of rugged ranges fringed by idyllic billabongs, flood plains, paperbark swamps and monsoonal rainforests. Valleys, overhangs and caves have been occupied for over 50,000 years and offer magnificent galleries of rock art as well as occupation and burial sites.
“My favourite place is Arnhem Land. Due to the permit requirement, it’s not crowded and it just feels spiritually moving when I’m there sitting down on the ground with the Aboriginal people. Taking guests in there is an important component of the trip because they get an appreciation of how special and lucky we are to live in a country where we live in relative harmony compared to many other areas around the world. It’s an interesting experience for many guests, as the local Aboriginal people don’t really follow what’s going on around the world. They are traditional people, so the most important thing to them is their land and their family."
Sab Lord - Guide & Founder
Photographers will have the opportunity to capture both sunrise and sunset shots across these idyllic landscapes, as well as billabong cruises for more wildlife captures. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy Aboriginal Art and wetlands exploration to spot numerous species including Agile, Wilkins' Rock and Nabarlek Wallabies, Ghost Bats, flying foxes, Freshwater and Saltwater Crocodiles, Dingos, Leichhardt Grasshoppers, Jabirus, Brolgas, egrets, kingfishers, Blue Winged Kookaburras, Red Tailed Black Cockatoos, Red Winged Parrots, Black Tailed Tree Creepers, White-faced and White-bellied Cuckoos and various Honeyeaters.
Overnight Accommodation: Davidson's Arnhemland Safaris Lodge
Photographers will have the opportunity to capture one more sunrise and spot numerous species including Agile Wallabies, Saltwater Crocodiles, Jabirus, Brolgas, Magpie Geese, Azure Kingfishers, Blue Winged Kookaburras, Red Tailed Black Cockatoos, lorikeets, honeyeaters and Whistling Kites.
The group will enjoy a delicious lunch before heading back to Darwin, undoubtedly with a series of photos and memories that will last a lifetime.
Private Group Size: Maximum 6 guests.
Pick-up and Drop Off Point: Darwin
Pick-up and Drop-off Time: Approximately 8:00am, returns at approximately 5:00pm.
Please note that this experience does not include photography instruction or a workshop element, but is designed to put guests in the optimal positions to take photographs of landscapes and wildlife.
Lords Kakadu & Arnhemland Safaris contributes observations of flora & fauna via iNaturalist, the world’s leading global social biodiversity network. This platform allows our team to create research-quality citizen science data that enables a more detailed picture of our national biodiversity, and assists bodies such as the CSIRO, ecologists and other decision makers to deliver better outcomes for the environment and our species.
Our guides record observations with iNaturalist Australia by using the iNaturalist app on mobile phones or desktop computers. An observation records an encounter with an individual organism at a particular time and location in the Top End. We require photos to be attached to observations for them to become research grade and added to the Atlas of Living Australia.
This is where you can greatly assist us in capturing images out in the field! Although we make broader observations that we think are valuable to the local scientific community, we have identified the following species to track when we are exploring the Top End by vehicle or on foot.
Key species we're looking out for include:
Lords Kakadu & Arnhemland Safaris has spent decades working closely with local Aboriginal clans and share a mutual respect with the local indigenous people and their relationship with the land. Owner, Sab Lord, was raised on a station that is now part of World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, with his father employing Aboriginal families who taught him their indigenous language and involved him in traditional ceremonies.
Sab's ongoing relationships and understanding of their culture has earned him the rare permission to share culturally significant sites and stories.
On itineraries featuring Arnhem Land, guests visit Injalak Hill, to experience the traditional culture of the Kunwinjku people hosted by an Aboriginal guide employed by the organisation. This area is documented as having some of the best rock art examples in Australia. Upon arrival at Gunbalanya, guests visit the Injalak Arts and Crafts Centre to see artists producing their works, whether that be fabric, weaving or painting. Injalak Arts is a nonprofit Aboriginal-owned social enterprise whose members are the artists and community. Injalak artists produce traditional art inspired by ancient Dreamtime stories. Nearby rock art galleries demonstrate an unbroken link between the present generation of Kunwinjku people and their ancestors.
Lords Kakadu & Arnhemland Safaris operate a permanent Kakadu Bush Camp, almost entirely energy neutral, with solar panels powering lighting, fridges and fans. Australian Wildlife Journeys is in the process of setting science-based targets, implementing mechanisms to enable the calculation of carbon emissions across all organisation types and decreasing emissions through technological advancements in hybrid and hydrogen technologies.