At Charter North, we understand it can be a challenge choosing the right Kimberley or Kakadu Tour, trying to imagine what it will be like before you actually get there. This is why we have tried to help you by answering some of our guests frequently asked questions.
1. How do I book a tour with Charter North?
Once you have chosen your preferred Kakadu or Kimberley Tour and tour dates, simply click through to our contact form, we will get back in touch with you asap (normally within 24 hours). We will confirm availability, send you our booking form and reply to any tour related questions you might have. A 20% deposit will secure your seat with us immediately, with two payment options, either direct bank deposit or credit card (all credit cards incur a 2.6% merchant fee).
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 direct phone or email service. 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 and Kakadu Tours?
At Charter North 4WD Safaris we always have a number of scheduled Kimberley Tours dates to choose from on the individual tour pages of our website (browse Kimberley Tours). These tours are mixed group tours for individuals, couples or groups to join. Please contact us if you are looking for a Private Kimberley Tour, and we can arrange your perfect tour dates.
Kakadu Tours & Beyond:
Our Kakadu Tours and Beyond are predominately private tours. Therefore, we do not normally advertise tour dates for these tours on our website, except if we have availability on special mixed group programs. Please contact us to arrange your private tour dates. If you are an individual traveler wanting to join a mixed group Kakadu Tour or Kakadu & Beyond Tour, please feel free to contact us with your preferred dates, we might still be able to help you.
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 both Kimberley Tours and Kakadu Tours, booking ahead 3- 6 months is a good guideline.
However, please note that for both destinations, the months of June and July are very popular travel periods, therefore it is advisable to book no less than 6 months ahead if you wish to travel during this period. Many people book as far as 12 months ahead, and as usually, first in best dressed…
4. What are the booking / cancellation terms & conditions
Please visit our Terms & Conditions.
5. Should I have Travel Insurance?
Absolutely! Travel insurance is essential, especially when travelling in remote and rugged parts of Australia. Injuries happen, belongings can get lost or damaged and weather conditions can 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 from the time of reservation, and at the latest 60 days prior to departure.
6. What level of fitness is required to participate?
A medium level of fitness is required to participate in our Kimberley & Kakadu tours. 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 you will need to consider:
– Walk in hot temperatures of 30 degrees and over, on sometimes uneven terrain
– Walk for up to 2-3 hours at a time with only short breaks
– Navigate rocky terrain that requires good balance and agility
– Sleep in swags in a tent and at ground level (our swags are comfy with extra thick mattresses and pillows, however you will need to be able to get up and down from your swag)
If you are unsure whether you are fit enough to participate in our Kimberley Tours or Kakadu Tours, please contact us for further advice.
For those who prefer a less active program with perhaps shorter walks, longer breaks and lower fitness requirements, our private tours are your perfect alternative. On our private tours, we are able to adjust our itineraries and activities to exactly what you wish to do and achieve.
7. What vehicles are used on tour?
For ultimate passenger comfort, we use late model 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 full airbags. For safety reasons, 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 and Kakadu Tours?
Northern Australia destinations are huge! That’s no a secret. So to get to all those amazing spots in a limited time frame, driving long distances in inevitable. At Charter North, we keep driving blocks to a maximum of 2 hours at all times. We also take breaks regularly for picture stops, to view sights of interest, or possibly just for a coffee and/or refreshments. There will be more driving on some days than others, however due to our experience, we have designed programs that have a great balance between driving and activities. There is generally more driving required in the Kimberley than there is in Kakadu National Park and surrounding areas, but overall our luxury 4WD vehicle transforms any road time into a leisurely and enjoyable sightseeing drive.
9. Where do we camp while on tour?
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 aboriginal reserves. When possible, we prefer to bush camp away from the crowds (great for star gazing!).
10. Will there be toilets and showers at our tour camp?
In the Kimberley we have access to toilets and/ or showers on some nights, when camping in designated camping areas (Bungles, Mitchell Falls, Windjana Gorge…). Facilities available at camp grounds can vary depending on where we are. Private camp grounds generally have toilets and showers, whereas National Park camp grounds may have toilets only. 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 very busy especially in the peak season, we often prefer to bush camp away from the crowds. Bush camps do not have any facilities, however they provide an unforgettable camping experience under the stars!
On our Kakadu Tours & Beyond we can plan the tour around having access to showers & toilets on all nights if you wish. All tours can incorporate “True Aussi bush camping experiences” if you prefer to “totally escape the crowds”. Please read our blog post on showers and camping for further information.
11.1. What are the sleeping arrangements on Kimberley and Kakadu camping tours?
On our camping programs, our guests sleep in quality swags and easy to erect dome tents. Our swags are wide single swags, a thick canvas “bed roll” fitted with a high density foam mattress. You will be surprised how comfortable sleeping on the ground can be! We provide fresh sheets, pillows and pillow cases. For hygiene reasons, we ask you to bring your own sleeping bag, unless otherwise arranged. Singles will be provided with their own two person dome style tent, while couples have a choice of this same tent or a larger, standing room dome style tent. Yes, you will need to chip in when setting up camp, which is why we choose equipment that is easy to handle. We normally set up camp and have a fire going within 15mins of arrival at camp, then you are free to relax!
11.2. Is there an affordable alternative to tent camping?
We can now proudly say: Yes, there is! As the only tour operator in the Top End, Charter North 4WD Safaris are offering a trailer camping tour option. This option provides above ground “real beds” and extra comfort & privacy, while maintaining our true camping concept. Our camper trailer is available for our Private Tours to the Kimberley and Kakadu & Beyond. Click here for more info.
12. What accommodation is available on Kimberley Tours and Kakadu Tours?
Charter North 4WD Tours are generally camping tours. As we are a small operator and follow leave no trace policies, we set up camp as we go with as little impact on the environment as possible. This also allows for some flexibility as to where we camp, depending on timing and on our guests’ preferences. Whether accommodation is available to add on to your Kimberley and Kakadu Tour program mainly depends on whether you are booking a private or mixed group tour with us.
On our private Kimberley and Kakadu Tours, we can arrange a fully accommodated, a partly accommodated or a full camping program, that is totally up to you. If you wish to add accommodation to a private tour, we can recommend the most suitable places depending on your tour itinerary and preferences. We will put a package together for you and organise and book everything, so that you don’t have to worry about anything other than enjoying your holiday. The cost of accommodation will be charged at the standard retail rate of the provider, with no fees added by us.
If you are joining us on a mixed group Kimberley or Kakadu Tour, accommodation can also be available on some nights, but will be limited by the specific tour itinerary.
For example, on our mixed group Kimberley Tours, accommodation can be added on our nights at Home Valley Station and the Bungle Bungles. Again, we will organise and book accommodation on your behalf at the standard rate of the provider.
Please note that accommodation is subject to availability. If you wish to travel during the months of June & July, accommodation should be secured at least 6 months ahead.
Pre- Tour Information
13. What food will be served?
All of our cooking is on the open camp fire (when permitted), we serve fresh healthy & wholesome food daily, and cater for all dietary requirements, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and celiac.
For breakfast, we provide freshly brewed espresso coffee and tea, cereals, muesli, fruit, yogurt, toast and spreads. On some mornings you will also have the choice of a cooked breakfast, including eggs and/or pancakes.
Lunches are generally wraps or bread rolls with fresh salads & veg, cheese, meats, spreads & fresh fruit. We always try and mix it up a little, with some picnic lunches at waterfalls or swimming holes while out hiking and exploring.
Dinners are freshly prepared and include lots of veggies and salads, with a range of different meats and fish. We create a variety of dishes from the “real Aussi BBQ” to stir- fry’s, curries, couscous, Mexican tacos, ground bakes etc. And of course who can resist a classic “Aussi bush damper”? You might be surprised at what is possible on, over or around a camp fire!
14. And what about drinks?
Charter North 4WD Safaris provide potable water, juices on cordials while on tour. Please purchase any preferred soft drinks and alcoholic beverages pre departure. Due to our travel timing and alcohol restriction at our destinations, it is mostly not possible to purchase alcohol while on tour. Please purchase your drinks in cans whenever possible. There is limited rubbish disposal at our destinations, and we can crush down cans for easier transport. However, if you are a wine drinker or your favourite beer comes in a bottle, that’s fine. There is no limit as to how many drinks you can bring. We will ensure they are kept cool for you to enjoy around the campfire.
15. What will the weather be like?
During our dry season from May to September, the weather in Northern Australia is the most pleasant, which is why it is our main tourist season. Temperatures during the day will be warm, normally around 30 degrees Celsius, with blue skies and very little chance of rain. Because the humidity is low compared to our wet season, it doesn’t feel as hot and our regular swims in local water holes add just the right amount of refreshment from our generally warm climate. Remember to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun, preferably with long loose fitting clothing and broad brimmed hat. From September onward humidity levels in Northern Australia rise, making temperatures appear to be hotter.
Because Northern Australia is known for its warm climate, many people don’t realise that it can actually get quite cool at nighttime. Especially between the months of June to August, you will need warm clothing at nighttime and for the early morning. If you are joining us on a Kimberley Tour, be aware that nighttime temperatures at Purnululu National Park can be around 0, as it is close to the desert. If you are someone who feels the cold a lot, consider bringing extra warm clothing.
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. Why is there a luggage limit?
We are a fully mobile operation and take everything we need with us in our custom built trailers. Our tour trailers are very strong and designed for off road conditions, however, there is a limit to what any trailer can handle. Heavy bags and sturdy suitcases can upset the balance of our trailer and lead to damage. Just as importantly, lifting and shifting heavy bags every day while on tour represents OH&S issues for our guides. We therefore have to ask you to only bring soft travel bags of a maximum of 10kgs per person.
18. What do I do with excess luggage?
If you are travelling on a Darwin to Darwin program, most hotels will provide secure storage while you are on tour, if you are returning to the same hotel after your tour. Otherwise, we can store your excess luggage at our base in Darwin for you. On directional programs, excess luggage will have to be transported to your destination by Greyhound freight at your own expense. Please organise this pre-departure. Having only what you need with you while on tour will contribute to a more comfortable trip.
19. Where should I stay in Darwin and 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 in Darwin or Broome?
Yes, we will pick you up at your accommodation on the morning of departure for your Kakadu and Kimberley Tours. Unless otherwise specified, pick up time for Kakadu Tours is 7am, pick up time for Kimberley 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!