Frequently Asked Questions
At Charter North 4WD Safaris, we understand that it can be challenging to choose the most suitable tour option for you and to find out what to expect. Whether you are looking for a Kimberley Tour, Kakadu Tour or Karijini Tour, below we have answered some of our guests’ frequently asked questions to help you choose and prepare for your tour. Another good way to get an idea of the type of experiences we offer is by checking out our Photo Gallery and by browsing our Tour Reviews.
1. How do I book a tour with Charter North?
Once you have chosen your preferred Kakadu, Karijini or Kimberley Tour and tour dates, simply click through to our contact form, complete it and submit. We will respond to your enquiry as quickly as we can, usually within 48 hours. We will confirm availability and reply to any tour related questions you might have. Once you have decided to book, we will send you our booking form. A 30% deposit payment will secure your booking, with two payment options, either direct bank deposit or credit card (all credit cards incur a 2.65% merchant fee). Full tour payment is due 90 days prior to tour departure.
If you haven’t decided on a specific tour or travel dates yet, or have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us either by phone or email. We will reply to any questions you might have in helping you choose the right tour.
2. How do I find tour dates for Kimberley, Kakadu & Karijini Tours?
We have a number of proposed Kimberley Tour departure dates to choose from on our individual Kimberley Tour pages of our website (browse Kimberley Tours). The majority of our Kimberley Tours are private charters, while we have a selected number of scheduled mixed group Kimberley Tours available each season. Please contact us to find out what mixed group dates are available. If you are looking for a Private Kimberley Tour,we have some flexibility with your departure date which can be discussed through the booking process.
Kakadu Tours & Beyond:
Our Kakadu Tours and Top End Tours are predominately private tours with flexible departure dates. We do not usually advertise specific tour dates for these tours on our website, unless we open up specific dates for mixed group programs. Please contact us to arrange your private tour dates. If you are an individual traveller wanting to join a mixed group Kakadu Tour or Kakadu & Beyond Tour, please contact us with your preferred dates, we might still be able to help you.
Karijini Tours & the Pilbara:
Our Karijini and Pilbara Tours are available as private tours and as mixed group departures. Private tour dates are flexible while suggested mixed group dates are displayed on our Karijini tour page. However, if no dates are displayed, we might still be able to schedule a mixed group tour for you to join. Please contact us if you are interested in joining a mixed group or to arrange your private tour dates.
Please contact us if you cannot find any suitable tour dates on our website, as we may have a number of options available for you to choose from, even if they are not advertised specifically.
3. How far in advance should I book my tour?
For all Kimberley Tours, Karijini Tours and Kakadu Tours, booking around six months ahead is a good guideline. However, please note that for all destinations, school holiday periods are very popular travel periods (April, July, September), which regularly book out over six months ahead. Please plan early for these periods to avoid missing out.
4. What are the booking / cancellation terms & conditions
Please visit our Terms & Conditions.
5. Should I have Travel Insurance?
Absolutely! Travel insurance is essential, particularly when travelling in remote and rugged parts of Australia. Injuries happen, belongings can get lost or damaged and unseasonable weather events could lead to road closures and travel delays etc. If you have to cancel your tour with us at short notice, for example due to illness or injury, your travel insurance will cover you. Please organise comprehensive cover as soon as you have confirmed your booking with us.
6. What level of fitness is required to participate?
All of our tour participants need to be in good health, and we require you to advise us of any health conditions prior to booking. A medium level of fitness is required to participate in our Kimberley Tours, Karijini Tours & Kakadu Tours. On any mixed group tour, all group members need to be able to complete the activities listed on our standard tour itineraries, as we are unable to separate groups due to our equal duty of care for everyone. As it is a bit tricky to define the word “fit” and everyone may have different perceptions of what “medium level of fitness” means, here are some of the things that you will need to be able to do to fully enjoy our tours:
- Walk in warm temperatures of 28 degrees and over
- Walk for up to 2-4 hours per day with breaks
- Walk for up to 2 hours at the time with only short breaks
- Walk on often uneven and undulating terrain
- Navigate rocky terrain that requires good balance and agility
- Sometimes rock hop and cross creeks, climb over or around large rock boulders
- Sleep in swags in a tent at ground level (our swags are comfy with high density foam mattresses and pillows, however you will need to be able to get up and down from your swag)
If you are unsure about some of these requirements, please contact us for further advice. All of our private tour itineraries can be adjusted to your preferences and fitness levels, for example, we can shorten hikes, include more or longer breaks etc. Some attractions require good fitness levels to be reached safely and in an enjoyable fashion, and we will advise you accordingly.
7. What vehicles are used on tour?
For ultimate passenger comfort, we use 4WD Toyota Landcruiser 200 series GXLs. These vehicles sit up to eight adults including the driver, however, we only ever take up to six adult passengers per tour in order to guarantee comfortable seating space. Our vehicles are forward facing, fully air conditioned and fitted with airbags throughout. All vehicles carry satellite phones, fire extinguishers and remote first aid kits. Our vehicles have also undergone suspension upgrades for extra comfort and to smooth out some of the bumps encountered off road.
8. How much driving will there be on Kimberley, Karijini & Kakadu Tours?
Due to the size of the Northern Australia destinations we visit, and the distances between attractions, a fair amount of driving is required on all of our tours. Our tour itineraries are designed to balance out activities and drive times over the duration of the tour, and we keep driving blocks to a maximum of 2 hours at the time after which we take a break. We make stops regularly to take photographs, view sights of interest, stretch the legs or have a coffee, snack or refreshments. There will be more driving on some days then others, for example, on some days we might only drive for and hour or two, while other days will require five to six hours of driving over the course of the day. The exact driving implications will depend on the tour destination and lenght, and we are happy to provide further information through the booking process.
9. Where do we camp while on tour?
On all of our Kimberley, Pilbara and Top End Tours, we use a mix of national park campgrounds, station campgrounds and bush camps. We camp in designated camping areas where required, for example in National Parks and Nature Reserves, or on private leases such as cattle stations or indigenous reserves. When possible, we prefer to bush camp away from other people, noise and light pollution (great for star gazing!). Particularly when visiting the Kimberley, bush camping is one of the unique experiences that makes a Kimberley trip so special. If you are joining us on a Kakadu Tour, all camping will be in designated NP campgrounds as per national park guidelines. If you have booked a private tour, we are happy to discuss your camping options and plan around your preferences.
10. Will there be toilets and showers at our tour camps?
Designated campgrounds such as National Park campgrounds usually provide toilets, and sometimes even showers. Private campgrounds on stations etc. generally have toilets and showers. Most camp grounds will have running water, but for those which haven’t, we carry our own on board potable water. As campgrounds can get busy, particularly during popular travel periods, bush camps are a great alternative. Bush camps also allow us to maximise our tour timing by camping in the most convenient locations. While they do not have any facilities, bush camps provide an unforgettable camping experience under the stars! All of our private tours can be organised around your camping preferences. On our mixed group Kimberley tours, you can expect to have access to showers every third to forth night of your tour and there will be lots of swimming during the days. You might also be interested in reading our blog post on showers and camping. On any Kakadu Tour, there is a choice of larger campgrounds with full facilities, or more secluded options with toilets. Your camping preferences can be discussed upon booking or with your guide on tour.
11.1. What are the sleeping arrangements on Kimberley, Karijini & Kakadu camping tours?
On our camping programs, our guests sleep in quality swags and dome tents. Swags are a thick canvas “bed roll” fitted with a high density foam mattress or a deluxe self-inflating foam mattress and pillow. For hygiene reasons, we ask you to please bring your own sleeping bag unless otherwise arranged. We provide dome tents that are easy and quick to set up, and can be used with a fly sheet, or just as a net to allow you to see the night sky. Single travellers will be provided with their own tent.
11.2. Is there an affordable alternative to tent camping?
We can now proudly say: Yes, there is! As the only tour operator in Northern Australia, Charter North 4WD Safaris are offering a camping trailer tour option. This option provides above ground sleeping in “real beds” and added privacy thanks to the trailer’s large annex; all while maintaining our authentic camping concept. Our camper trailer is available for our Private Tours to the Kimberley, Karijini & the Pilbara and Kakadu & Beyond. Click here for more information.
12. What accommodation is available on Kimberley Tours, Karijini Tours and Kakadu Tours?
On all of our private tours, we can arrange a fully accommodated program, or a mix of camping and accommodation. If you wish to add accommodation to your private tour, we will recommend the most suitable options according to your tour itinerary, budget and preferences. Accommodation options in the Kimberley, the Pilbara and the Top End range from hotel style, cabin style and authentic station accommodation to luxury lodges. Accommodated programs require a suitably adjusted tour itinerary, therefore we are unable to offer full accommodation on our mixed group tours.
Please note that accommodation is subject to availability and, due to limited availability, should be secured at least six months ahead, particularly for the Kimberley and for school holiday periods.
13. What food will be served on tour?
All Charter North cooking is on the open camp fire (unless fire restrictions are in place) and we serve fresh, healthy & wholesome meals daily. We cater for a variety of dietary requirements, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and celiac. You might be surprised at what is possible on, over or around a camp fire! For more detailed information please click here.
14. And what about drinks?
Charter North 4WD Safaris provide potable water, juice and/or cordial while on tour. Please purchase any preferred soft drinks and alcoholic beverages pre departure. Due to our travel timing and alcohol restrictions at our destinations, it will most likely not be possible to purchase alcoholic beverages while on tour. There are limited rubbish disposal facilities in remote locations, therefore please purchase your drinks in cans if possible; they can be crushed up and take up less space than glass bottles. There is no limit to how many drinks you can bring, we will ensure your drinks are kept cool for you to enjoy around the campfire. Please keep in mind that alcohol should always be consumed in a responsible manner, and the consumption of alcohol can contribute to dehydration.
15. What will the weather be like?
During our dry season from May to September, temperatures during the day will be warm, normally around 28-32 degrees Celsius, with blue skies, low humidity and next to no chance of rain. Remember to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun, preferably with long loose fitting clothing and broad brimmed hat & sunglasses.
Because Northern Australia is known for its warm climate, many people don’t realise that it can actually get quite cool at night. Particularly between the months of June to August, you will need warm clothing at nighttime and for the early morning (for example jumper and track pants). If you are joining us on a Kimberley Tour, be aware that nighttime temperatures at Purnululu National Park and in the central plateau area can get down to 0 degrees. If you are quite sensitive to cold weather, consider bringing extra warm clothing.
From September onward humidity levels and day time temperatures in Northern Australia start to rise, while nights also stay warmer.
Please also refer to:
16. What should I bring on my Tour?
Upon booking, Charter North 4WD Safaris will provide a comprehensive packing list to ensure you are adequately prepared for your tour.
17. Is there a luggage limit? Why?
Yes, we have a luggage limit of usually 10kgs per person in a soft travel bag. You might be able to bring a little more if you have booked a private tour for a small group of four people or less, or a couple. We are a fully mobile, self- sufficient operation and take everything we need on tour with us in our custom built tour trailers. Our trailers are very strong and designed for off road conditions, however, there is a limit to the weight any trailer can handle in these conditions, and room is limited. Moreover, repeatedly lifting and shifting heavy bags represents OH&S issues. A minimalist packing approach will also be more practical for you while on tour.
18. What if I have more luggage?
In some cases you might have more luggage than what you need on your Charter North Tour, for example if you are visiting from overseas and/ or are on an extended trip. If you are travelling on a Darwin- Darwin/ Broome- Broome program, you should be able to store your luggage at your hotel while you are on tour. On directional programs, excess luggage can be transported to your destination by Greyhound freight. Please organise transport in advance. There might be other options available to you. Please contact us if you need any further information.
19. What is the best hotel in Darwin/ Broome?
We have put together a list of recommendations for accommodation in both Broome and Darwin.
20. Will I be picked up at my accommodation?
Yes, we will pick you up at your accommodation on the morning of departure. Unless otherwise specified, pick up time for Kakadu Tours is 7am, pick up time for Kimberley Tours and Karijini Tours is 6.30am. We will also drop you off at your accommodation after your tour. Airport pick ups and drops offs can be organised as well.
Still got questions?
Please contact us.
We are your best contact, as we guide the tours!