Frequently Asked Questions
Below we have put together some responses to the most commonly asked questions through our tour enquiry & booking process. Whether you are interested in a Kimberley Tour, Kakadu Tour or Karijini Tour, the information below is designed to help you choose the most suitable tour options for you and, once booked, to prepare for your tour experience. For further insights into our tours, please also check out our Photo Gallery and Tour Reviews.
Once you have found a tour you are interested in, 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 that our style of touring is the right choice for you, we will send you our booking form to complete. A 20% deposit payment will secure your booking, with full tour payment due 60 days prior to tour departure. You can pay by direct bank transfer or credit card and we will issue an invoice accordingly.
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.
We have a number of proposed Kimberley Tour departure dates to choose from on the individual Kimberley Tour pages of our website (browse Kimberley Tours). The majority of our Kimberley Tours are private tours, while we have a selected number of scheduled 9 day mixed group Kimberley Tours available each season. Please contact us to find out what mixed group dates are available. On our private tours, 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 all private tours with flexible departure dates, therefore, we do not advertise specific tour dates for these tours on our website. Please contact us for a quote and to arrange your private tour dates.
Karijini Tours & the Pilbara:
Our Karijini and Pilbara Tours are available as private tours only. Please contact us for a quote and booking.
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 openly advertised.
If you are looking for a tour outside of the peak season and school holiday periods, booking around three months ahead is a good guideline. For all of our tour destinations, school holiday periods are very popular travel periods and regularly book up at least six months ahead. Please plan early for these periods.
All accommodated programs should also be booked well in advance, as accommodation both in Kakadu and The Kimberley is very popular and very limited. The earlier you book, the more choices will be available.
Please read our booking and cancellation terms here: Terms & Conditions.
Absolutely! Travel insurance is essential for any holiday, and particularly when travelling in remote and rugged parts of Australia. Injuries happen, belongings can get lost or damaged, and unseasonable weather events can lead to travel delays etc. If you need to cancel your tour with us at short notice, for example due to illness or injury, your travel insurance will cover you. We will work with you and your insurer to ensure you receive any refunds or payments you are entitles to, therefore Please organise comprehensive cover as soon as you have confirmed your booking with us.
While our private tours are fully customizable and can be adjusted to your fitness capacity, to fully enjoy our active experiences and the rugged destinations we visit, a medium level of fitness is recommended. Most attractions in the Kimberley, Kakadu and Beyond are only accessible via walking trails which are often over rocky, sometimes undulating terrain while also being sandy and slippery. The warm northern climate can also make activities more challenging. For safety reasons, we require all of our tour guests to advise us of any health or fitness conditions that may require adjustments to your tour program prior to booking.
Our mixed group Kimberley Tours require at least a medium level of fitness to participate in the tour activities. any of all group members need to be able to complete the activities as we are unable to separate group members due to our equal duty of care for everyone. As it is a bit tricky to define the word “fit” and there may be different perceptions of what “medium level of fitness” means, here are some of the things that will be included on our tours:
- Walking/ hiking in warm temperatures of around 30 degrees Celsius
- Exploring for up to 2-5 hours per day with some breaks and swims
- Walking on often uneven and undulating terrain
- Navigating rocky and slippery terrain, requiring good balance and agility
- Rock hopping and creek crossing, navigating large boulders
- Sleeping in swags and tent at ground level (Unless staying in room accommodation)
- Setting and packing up tents and swags
- Car travel on often corrugated and/ or bumpy roads in drive blocks of up to two hours
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. We offer fully accommodated tours for travellers who prefer not to camp.
For ultimate passenger comfort and safety, we use modern air conditioned comfortable 4WD vehicles. Our vehicles can seat up to seven passengers, 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.
Due to the size and separation of the Northern Australian destinations we visit on our tours, a fair amount of unavoidable driving is required. Through decades of touring experience, our tour itineraries are designed to balance out activities and drive times comfortably over the duration of the tour. We keep driving blocks to a maximum of two hours at any time, while including regular comfort stops and breaks. We regularly include stops for photographs, viewing sights of interest, ‘stretch the legs’ or have snacks and refreshments. While on tour there will be more driving time on some days than others- for example; on some days we might only drive for an 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 tour length, and we are happy to provide further information through the booking process.
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 also use bush camps 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 tour so special. If you are joining us on a Kakadu Tour, all camping will be inside the park boundaries and therefore 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.
Designated campgrounds such as National Park campgrounds provide toilets, and sometimes even showers. Private campgrounds on stations etc. generally have flushing toilets and showers. Most campgrounds will have running water, but for those which don’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, we can access showers most nights if you really need, and there will be lots of swimming during the days. On any Kakadu Tour, there is a choice of larger campgrounds with full amenities, or more secluded options with basic (drop) toilets only. Your camping preferences can be discussed upon booking or with your guide while on tour.
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, sheets, doona and a pillow. We provide dome tents that are easy and quick to set up, and can be used with a fly sheet for added privacy, or just as a net to allow you to see the night sky. Single travellers will be provided with their own tent. We usually use standing room tents for adults and couples, while children will be provided with a smaller dome tent.
Yes, there is! As the only tour operator in Northern Australia, Charter North 4WD Safaris offer 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 most suitable for families and is available on our private camping tours on request. Click here for more information.
Yes, absolutely. All of our private tours can be organised as fully or partially accommodated tours. We are happy to recommend and book on your behalf, according to your budget and preferences. Accommodation options range from hotel style, station stays and safari tents to luxury lodges. As accommodation availability in remote areas of Northern Australia is limited and popular, we recommend booking well in advance, particularly for the months of July and August. We do not offer any mixed group tours with accommodation.
All Charter North 4WD Safaris, 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 and gluten free. You might be surprised at what is possible on, over or around a camp fire! For more detailed information please click here.
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 around these 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. 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.
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 night time and for the early morning (for example jumper and track pants, light jacket). If you are joining us on a Kimberley Tour between June and August, be aware that night time temperatures at Purnululu National Park and in the central plateau area can plummet to 5 degrees Celsius. We recommend packing an extra layer for our Kimberley tours, plus a beanie to keep your crown and ears warm on cold nights.
From September onward humidity levels and day time temperatures in Northern Australia start to rise, while nights also stay warmer.
Please also refer to:
Upon booking, Charter North 4WD Safaris will provide a comprehensive packing list to ensure you are adequately prepared for your tour.
Is there a luggage limit? Why?
Yes, we have a luggage limit of 15kgs per person in a soft travel bag- smaller groups or couples might be advised of a higher limit. We are a fully mobile, self- sufficient operation and transport 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 presents OH&S issues for our guides. A minimalist packing approach will be more practical for you while on tour.
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. Unless you are travelling on an overland tour between Darwin and Broome, 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. We will assist you in organising luggage freight in advance. We have found Greyhound to be the most reliable and affordable, however, there might be other options available to you. Please contact us if you need any further information.
Yes, we will pick you up at your accommodation on the morning of departure at your advised pick up time. We will also drop you off at your accommodation after your tour. Airport pick ups and drops offs can also be organised within the tour timeframe.