The trip my children will tell their children about
Having done all the overseas trips with my family (husband and 22 and 18 year old daughters), this trip to Kakadu with Greig of Charter North 4WD Safaris will be THE one my girls will tell their children about. Kakadu is absolutely stunning in its pristine beauty. The play of the light on the landscape changing all the time is a photographer’s dream. Being able to appreciate it better through the guidance of Charter North enhanced our experience 100 fold. Greig was able to take our small party of 4 away from all the tourists and on secluded walks and to private water holes. From his vast knowledge, we learned about local culture, plants and animals and felt like the first explorers ever to enjoy the magnificent views from the huge rock outcrops. Greig judged our fitness and climbing skills like the true professional he is, challenging all of us in different ways with the 12km Barrk Walk, rock scrambling, and jumping off rocks into deep waterholes, at all times keenly aware of safety issues but also entertaining us with stories of crocodiles and buffalo and the elusive macropods! As a parent, I saw a new side to my children, engaging in fast flowing conversation with Greig, such as debating about the aboriginal rock paintings – was that a head dress or did the hunter sit on the same rock as us just before a storm and his hair stood on end too with the electricity in the air? There was much laughter on our trip and we are definitely looking at asking Greig to plan a Kimberley tour for us in the future. Charter North offered modern, clean and comfortable equipment, from the 4WD to tents and swags (with pillows!). The numerous emails and “what to bring” list was spot on, and ensured we were well prepared. The day was always started with a fresh cup of percolated coffee and a spread of cereals, breads, fresh fruit and when time permitted damper, eggs and bacon, often with an open fire. We were all surprised at the quality and variety of food Greig prepared. Fresh, organic, delicious and plenty thereof, always thinking of the environment in our use of the camping area, roads and bush. Thank you Greig for giving us a first class insight into our wonderful country.Travelled on 4 Day Kakadu Tour in April 2018.
Fantastic, family friendly trip - I can't recommend it highly enough!My family and I (wife and kids who are 7 and 9) recently completed an 8 day trip from Darwin to Broome. I can honestly say it was one of the great family holidays we've taken. We opted for a personal tour because we are relative newcomers to the world of 4-wheel driving and camping, we were on a reasonably tight timeframe and because we were slightly apprehensive about taking on a trip of that scale with relatively small kids. After a fair bit of online research, we decided upon Charter North because of the ability to do a private tour, but also because they allowed flexibility in the itinerary, which we felt was important with the kids. It proved to be an inspired choice. GT and Alina were fantastic in their communication and advice in the lead up to the trip, which ensured we were well prepared, and from the moment GT picked us up from our hotel in Darwin, he was a fantastic and engaging host. He is a walking encyclopaedia of knowledge about the region, and is more than happy to impart that knowledge. He was great with the kids, and engaged with them really well. We took up a package with a camp trailer, which meant we had very comfortable accomodation, and GT's well choreographed evening routine meant we could go from pulling over at a campsite, to having the camp trailer popped, beds ready, the fire going, snacks being served and a cold beer in hand (in a can preferably) in less than 30 mins. And then GT would invariably demonstrate his culinary skills using a trusty wok and a campfire - I was expecting 8 nights of BBQ'ed sausages, but we ended up with everything from stir fries to tacos to pasta, all cooked on an open fire. So the dinners were great, and it would be remiss of me not to mention Alina's muesli and GT's coffee, which got the mornings off to a great start. The campsites we used were a combination of established camps and bush camps. GT knows the area like the back of his hand, so the bush camps were great, and if you ask the kids, probably their pick of the places we stayed (although they loved night swimming in Manning River one evening, so that's right up there as well). And then the days themselves were packed with great experiences - from the Bungles (helicopter flight highly recommended), through Emma Gorge, Manning Gorge, Bell Gorge, Barnett River Gorge, Winjana Gorge, each day was like a highlights package. There was some hiking involved, which could have been challenging with the kids, but GT tailored it well for us, and most hikes ended up with a swim under a waterfall, or in a deep gorge, so that allowed us to bribe the kids to get them through to the end. It was hot, but not oppressively so because humidity was low when we were there, but generally we'd look to be hiking early morning or late afternoon, and avoid the heat of the day, which made it all very manageable with the kids. And beyond the physical beauty, the kids also loved some of the wildlife experiences - freshwater crocs, water monitors, wallabies, bower birds and a friendly snake, as well as some of the cultural highlights such as aboriginal rock art, and the broader history of the area, which I don't think is generally well understood. At no stage did we feel the slightest hint of danger - we felt we were in safe hands the whole way, helped by GT's meticulous preparation. So if you combine professional and knowledgeable service, with great company, super comfortable accomodation, good food and coffee, with great experiences all in a safe and kid-friendly package, it's a pretty hard combination to beat. So we would all highly recommend the tour, and if anyone has reservations about taking on a trip like this with kids, I can honestly say that it's one of the great family holidays, and those concerns can be put to rest. Cheers! Travelled in September 2017 on 8 Day Family Kimberley Tour.
Amazing 4 day/3 night tour of Kakadu and Litchfield
We’re a family of five (17, 15 and 10 year old kids) who’ve just returned from a fabulous trip with Charter North to Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks. I’m so happy I discovered this great tour guiding company after chancing upon reviews on Trip Advisor; now I’m hoping someone else will read my review and make a booking! First up, Charter North really can provide a unique ‘bespoke’ tour that can cater for all individual needs. They are so flexible and we were very impressed with their clear and comprehensive communications in the run up to our trip. Initially we were going to do a 3 night/4 day camp, but unseasonably hot and humid conditions were persisting in mid- April, so Alina and Greig gave us the last minute option of switching to air-conditioned accommodation. With temps of 38 degrees every day and hot nights, we were happy we made the last minute change (the 10 year old was struggling a bit with the heat). The accommodation selected worked perfectly, we particularly loved Mount Bundy Station and just wish we had more time to spend there. Even after the owner Sue casually mentioned that a 6 foot freshie had strolled across the driveway a couple of days before! Greig is truly a master at his job. He really is like an ever-ready battery with boundless energy; if he wasn’t guiding us around the Aboriginal rock art and hikes etc, then he was busy driving or preparing delicious meals for us. His passion for the environment and reverence for the Aboriginal culture and rock art is infectious. Greig was so personable and respectful and had a knack of making each person feel special. His knowledge about the indigenous culture, wildlife and the diverse landscapes is second to none. We fully expected 3 nights of BBQ sausage in rolls so it was fantastic to get a really delicious home-cooked meal every evening, from stir fries to homemade pasta sauces. Plenty of snacks and a hearty breakfast (and espresso coffee..no international roast here!) set us up for the day. Greig just seemed to keep on producing more and more food from ‘the tardis’ trailer, which meant we never went hungry; including two plus-six foot teenage boys. There’s no doubt in my mind that we wouldn’t have got anywhere near as much out of a self-drive to Kakadu. Greig took us to some magical sites, some of which were not yet accessible to the general public. Highlights: the infinity pool at Gunlom Falls; the incredible rock art at Ubirr; the most stunning sunset at Nardab Lookout with 360 degree panoramic views of Kakadu; campfire under the stars at Mount Bundy Station; swimming under waterfalls in Litchfield...the list could go on and on. I really hope that some day we might be able to do another Charter North tour to the Kimberley. Greig and Alina: you provide an exceptional and unique service, thank you!Travelled in April 2018.
The Real Deal
I’m one of those people who is difficult to please. I want to see the most beautiful sights and sites on Earth, but I don’t want anyone else to be there. I want to ‘get back to nature’, but I want crisp linen sheets and sparkling clean glassware. I adore being social and chatty - but love my solitude. So is always a struggle for me to find the perfect solution when we travel to tourist locations. I think Charter North was the ideal choice for our family. An early pick up from our hotel in Darwin got us on the road for the quick trip to Coroboree Creek for our boat cruise. We’d done a ‘jumping croc’ tour a few days ago and had no interest in doing another, but thankfully this was a complete contrast. A cool early morning breeze meant that it was extremely pleasant cruising down the billabong and we saw crocs, an abundance of birds and some gorgeous lillys. Then off to Ubirr for the rock art and sunset. Our guide has an intimate knowledge and love of indigenous culture and heritage - we never felt like we were just getting a ‘spiel’. In fact one of the highlights of the tour was just how well our guide interacted with my two children - either he’s the world’s best actor or he genuinely relates to young people (the latter for sure!). Our first night’s camp was a bit of a disaster - Kakadu had had a long, hot wet season and we caught the tail end. So we were assaulted by a plague of mosquitos, a stinking hot night and techno music drifting over from the backpackers camp next door. To be fair Charter North did warn us that it would unpleasant and offered us the choice of booking into accommodation. But, being the awkward bugger that I am, I insisted on camping and then whinged about how awful it was! We hightailed it out of the mozzie hell hole first thing and instead had a lovely breakfast under a tree just before our first hike to a secret water hole. This was more like it - not a soul and just pristine water and wilderness. I wanted the whole tour to focus around water - I knew the only way I could get the kids to go on hikes in 38 degree heat was to plunge into a waterfall at the end of it. So Charter North certainly delivered - we visited 4 totally different water holes, with the highlight being an early morning visit to Gunlom where we were the ONLY people there. Unheard of and the reason it’s definitely worth booking with a well established tour operator who has early season access permits to avoid the crowds. The second campsite was a real hit - hardly any mozzies, a handy Creek down the road for a quick dip and absolute serenity on the second night when the backpackers left after the weekend. Meals were healthy and huge portions. We never went hungry. As I said in the title to this review - Charter North is the real deal. It’s definitely not glamping - if you’re soft and want hot and cold running water, flushing toilets and French linen then stick to Longitude 131. But if you want a genuine, fully immersive, no BS, true blue Aussie bush experience with guides who are truly passionate about what they do and live, breathe and dream Kakadu then book with Charter North.Travelled on 4 Day Kakadu Tour in April 2018.
12 Day Kakadu & Kimberley TourAlina and Greig offered us an exceptional customised 12 day tour with 3 days of camping in Kakadu followed by 9 days in the Kimberley. My husband is not well and it was to be the trip of a lifetime for us. Greig was our driver, guide, cook and cleaner! I didn't have to do a thing and my husband was able to completely relax. Greig has such expert knowledge of the areas and was able to be entirely flexible in our day to day needs. We saw the absolute best of Kakadu and the Kimberleys. It is so hard to say which sight was the best from Ubirr, Maguk Watefall, Gunlom Natural Infinity Pool, Riverside camping, Bungle Bungles and Cathedral Gorge, Geike Gorge and on and on. Sunset and Sunrise viewing Greig had it all planned for us. The most amazing places we have seen, and we have travelled extensively overseas. I can't recommend it more highly. Due to my husband’s illness we had to have a very specific diet, which Alina planned expertly for Greig to prepare each day. They provided us with a complete list of items to take, including warm wear for the cold nights in the desert. You will not be disappointed. From the outset communication was easy with prompt answers and honest recommendations, I felt completely at ease with their organisation. Travelled on 12 Day Private Kakadu & Kimberley Tour May/June 2018.
A choice you will not regret...I took a 5-day private tour of Kakadu and Litchfield with my two children aged 8 and 12 in April 2018. It was a much anticipated part of our trip to Australia and our expectations were high. We were not disappointed. GT and Alina made sure from the beginning of the booking process that we had all of the information we needed and responded rapidly to our questions. From the time we were collected by GT on the first morning in his spotless 4WD, I was sure that we were in good hands and that we were with someone who is very comfortable interacting with children. GT is very well informed about the places visited, indigenous culture and painting and also about the local flora and fauna. He is a walking encyclopaedia if you will. He is also a master of fading into the background at certain times to allow you and your tour group private time together. We really appreciated these two facets. We took the option of the camping trailer, rather than camping in tents. It is a great choice for those who prefer to sleep up off the ground in a real bed with fresh sheets, duvets and pillows. Such luxury for a camping holiday! The food served at each meal, as others have described, is another luxury that one does not necessarily expect when camping. A highlight of the food was the freshly made coffee each morning and the home-made pasta sauce, which disappeared from our plates with great gusto. As for the places that we went on tour, we were so fortunate to often be the only ones there, or be leaving just as others arrived. The fact that GT timed our visits very carefully gave us this wonderful experience. We were lucky to visit Gunlom - with it's marvelous natural infinity pool - as GT had obtained special early permission to be there. Another place we loved was Yurmikmik which was easily accessible and a great place for a swim; and again we were the only ones there! We loved our trip so much that we would love to come back one day to do a Kimberley tour with Charter North 4WD safaris. To go with them is really is a choice you will not regret!Travelled on 5 Day Kakadu Tour in April 2018.
A beautiful escape from daily life...
Our family enjoyed the most fantastic private tour with Charter North in April. We were shown the delights and beauty of Kakadu and benefited greatly from GT's local knowledge. We visited stunning locations, billabongs and relaxed in the beautiful surroundings. GT was an excellent guide and we would have no reservations about recommending this trip to other families.Travelled on 4 Day Kakadu Camping Tour in April 2018.
Totally loved our time spent exploring Kakadu National Park. The expert guidance, knowledge of the indigenous history and care from GT our tour guide, made this a holiday of a lifetime. The 3 nights and 4 days were packed with amazing moments: Country is a spectacular sacred space, the views from the mountain top overlooking the wet lands just blew my mind, the infinity pool and the natural spa whirl pool were moments that took my breath away. I feel the call of the ancient wild ways and some part of me will forever remain embedded in the rich red earth. The memories will forever live on in my heart. Thank you!!Travelled in October 2017 on 4 Day Private Kakadu Tour.
Awesome! A ton of fun and quite an experience!
My girlfriend and I were lucky enough to be the last tour party for this year. Greig (GT) was our wonderful tour guide, and he kept up a constant string of stories, jokes and regional information during the travel segments. The countryside is a sight to behold, with the most incredible vistas, waterfalls, valleys and rock structures. We got to see some amazing rock art, all sorts of wildlife, and the most incredible rock pools I’ve experienced. You’ll be thankful for a quick swim when the heat gets up there. On our last night we were treated to the first electrical storm of the season with the best vantage point to enjoy the thunder, lightning and rain. Thankfully the tent was up to the job! Being in the middle of all that natural splendor was a real honor. The food, banter, and company were all excellent and I can’t recommend these guys highly enough.Travelled in October 2017 on private 4 day Kakadu Tour.
4 Day/3 Night Tour of Kakadu and Litchfield ParkAMAZING!!! We are a family 5 with children 8,10 & 12 and could not have been happier with the entire experience. Communication with Alina and Grieg leading up to our tour was great so that we could have input on what we wanted to get from tour; the itinerary suited us perfectly; and our tour guide Heath was fabulous! Doing this tour was so far removed from our normal lives and kinds of holidays that we normally do and whilst I was a bit anxious setting out I was nearly crying heading back at the end - I did not want to leave! We left the kid's screens at home and the lack of 3G in most areas meant that my husband was free from work e-mails and calls!! We spotted native animals, saw some aboriginal drawings and went swimming in the most beautiful waterfalls. We gathered firewood and enjoyed surprisingly great food all cooked over campfire. They had all the supplies we needed and the experience to make it awesome. Already trying to figure out when we can make it back and do the Kimberley Tour! Travelled August 2017 on Private 4 Day Kakadu & Litchfield Tour.
9 day Kimberley Tour from Darwin to Broome
We were a French familiy (3 teenagers with their parents) visiting Australia for the first time. We wanted to experience something different and authentic there. We really enjoyed our 9 day trip from Darwin to Broome, camping in awesome sites we probably wouldn't have been able to find by ourselves if Greg and Alina hadn't been there, to guide us around the fabulous Gibb River Road. Beautiful weather (not too hot in August) ; blue skies during days, many stars at night ; amazing sunrises, sunsets ... and moonrises ! Looking now, back to France, at the fabulous pictures we took there, we would absolutely recommend to visit Lake Argyle (stunning sunset !), the Bungle Bungle Range (don't miss the helicopter flight !), the Cockburn Range behind the Pentecost River (drinking a beer while the sunset is coming is really a great memory), wild Barnett River and Manning Gorges ... and so many other places ... We regret only one thing : not to have had more time to see more ! Thanks a lot to Greg and Alina !Travelled on 9 Day Private Kimberley Tour, August 2017.
Fabulous experience - fell asleep watching the stars
We thoroughly enjoyed our 6 days exploring Kakadu and Litchfield. It was an experience we'll never forget. Lying in our swags and looking up through our netted tent to a million stars. Magical. The sunrise at the Yellow Water Cruise with mist rising off the river and the miriad of bird-life waking up. Katherine Gorge - spectacular. Do the helicopter flight too. It's worth it. Jim Jim Falls and swimming in crystal clear water holes. We were four adults plus guide so fitted comfortably into the four-wheel drive vehicle. Heath was friendly, efficient, knowledgeable and resourceful. Added to that he had a great sense of humour something which is a must when travelling at such close range for a period of time. Not a bad cook either! He also had a broad interest and knowledge of the bird life and the methods of using plants and other objects from nature which would have featured in the lives of indigenous Australians for thousands of years. I'm glad too that I shared this time with good friends as we'll recount our adventure for years to come.Travelled on private 6 Day Kakadu & Beyond Tour, July 2017.
A million star experience...
We have just returned from our 8 day Darwin-Broome trip with Charter North – what a fantastic experience for my family of four! From the very first contact with Greig (GT) and Alina, I was confident that we were in safe and experienced hands, and their prompt and detailed communication (despite their frequent road trips) answered any questions we had. GT tailored a terrific itinerary to suit our family’s individual needs, and adjusted it daily on the road as required to suit tired children. His welcome in Darwin was terrific and put us immediately at ease, and I relaxed as he took care of driving on the 2800 kilometres of road ahead. GT is the ultimate leader – his knowledge of the environment (animals, plants, weather and landscapes) is enormous, and he loves to share his enthusiasm for the Kimberley. His trailer was like a magical world – each night he would conjure up incredible meals, and the breakfasts and lunches weren’t neglected either, with bacon and eggs, French toast, pancakes (to celebrate Bastille Day!) and damper filling our stomachs each morning. Alina’s muesli was delicious too. Our family love fresh, home cooked meals, and it was nothing short of amazing to see fresh food, including fruit and salad, appear every day on the road, despite the lack of electricity and distance from shops. My caffeine-obsessed husband fell upon the strong fresh coffee GT brewed on the campfire each morning. That Tardis-like trailer also housed every necessity for our luxurious camping. We all preferred bush camping sites (my girls loved not having to shower each day!), and my husband and I loved the tranquillity and space in camping away from the crowds. Our tents were spacious, and the swags were so comfortable and warm – in fact, with the warm nights, we often found ourselves sleeping on top of our swags. GT is so incredibly organised and has anticipated every need, so that we wanted for absolutely nothing. He also keeps an eagle eye out observing your preferences at mealtimes, camps and hikes, so that the trip became even more customised as it progressed. I have organised trips like this in the past, and I truly appreciated the level of detail and care invested in our charter, and the amount of effort this would have taken. His equipment is top notch, including sturdy camp chairs and a food preparation table, great cooking supplies, not to mention the very comfortable Landcruiser in which we travelled. Take note of his detailed pre-departure packing lists and advice too: this will make your trip all the more comfortable if you are travelling lightly but with all the essentials he suggests. We used Greyhound Freight to transport our excess luggage from Darwin to Broome at GT’s suggestion, and it was terrific to travel simply, but then arrive at our accommodation in Broome to find a suitcase of clean clothes awaiting us. The Kimberley is not a bad backdrop to this experience either. GT knows all the best places to watch sunrises and sunsets, and the most perfect campsite locations. You can’t place a price on this sort of knowledge. From our first moonlit campsite somewhere east of the NT-WA border, to drinks and nibbles overlooking the sunset over Purnululu, to watching the moon rise at Home Valley, and even to our last peaceful camp in Boab Valley, every location was perfect, and has given our family great memories to share. Every suggestion GT makes is worth taking up – from a helicopter tour over Purnululu (you won’t regret the 30 minute ride, and with the doors off the helicopter the view is sensational and the ride so thrilling), to freshly baked scones at Ellenbrae Station, to hikes and swims by gorges, and even to fish and chips in Derby on our last day (easily the best barramundi of our Top End holiday!). And the soundtrack to these places and experiences is GT’s wonderful storytelling, bringing the history and current events of the Kimberley to life. Your tour with Charter North is truly a million star experience, as each evening we sat by the campfire and looked up into the sky to see planets, satellites, shooting stars and the Milky Way. Don’t hesitate: if you are active and adventurous, and wanting the best possible experience of the Kimberley, this tour is absolutely for you. We cannot wait to return.Travelled on private 8 Day Kimberley Tour ion July 2017.
10 day Camping trip Broome to Darwin
Absolutely fantastic. Just the right amount of adventure in this stunning area. Loved the bush camping. Every day we set out for a new adventure, experienced new beautiful sights. GT amazed us with his knowledge on history and indigenous culture. The cooking skills also exceeded expectation, never thought it possible to cook such good meals on a camp fire. And in between all that there was plenty of banter and laughter which made it fun for everyone, if you were friends already or not. An experience of a lifetime I can wholly recommend. Thanks to GT and our friends who invited us along.Travelled on 10 Day mixed group Kimberley Tour, July 2017.
Ten day camping trip Broome to DarwinHow does one put into words such an awesome experience? Greig is the best outdoor guide I have ever encountered and I have experienced many. Not only does he have deep knowledge of the geography, history and indigenous people, he knows how to share it with guests in an interesting and entertaining way. It's pretty wild and lonely in the Kimberleys, but we had full confidence in him to take care of us in every respect. The food far exceeded our expectations thanks to his culinary skills. Greig possesses great people skills and ensured every member of the trip was included. Most of all we had a huge amount of fun! Thanks so much. Highly recommend Charter North to anyone wanting to explore the top of Australia.Travelled on 10 Day mixed group Kimberley Tour, July 2017.
Six day trip to Kakadu and Katherine Gorge and LitchfieldWe, a family of four, children aged 12 and 15, had a 6 day tour of Kakadu. This was a great trip with Heath, far exceeded our expectations, we really enjoyed the whole experience. We went to some amazing and beautiful places, Heath was a great guide, really knowledgeable but also had a real love for the place and that really showed through. We had been a bit nervous about the camping but in actual fact really enjoyed this especially our last night when we went bush camping, actually wishing we had done more of this. We would definitely recommend Charter North, we loved going with a small company who listened to what we had to say about what we wanted to do and also took into account some of the reservations that we had. For us this was one of our best holidays, great for families, good to be together and away from technology. Would love to go again and will hopefully return to do see the Kimberly, if we do we would choose Charter North and would be very happy to have Heath as our guide again.Travelled on private 6 Day Kakadu & Beyond Tour, August 2017.
Fantastic Broome to Darwin outback campingWow....what an amazing outback camping experience. Trip of a lifetime. My wife and I, with our good friends, cannot thank Greig enough for sharing his experience and vast knowledge of the Kimberley. Every day, we were in absolute awe of this beautiful enormous landscape; and Greig simply let it unfold before us. His professional management and good humour made the trip so much fun....and he can also cook and sing. A highly recommended bush camping experience for anyone wishing to leave the phone at home. Alina is right, Greig should be cloned. Travelled on 10 Day mixed group Kimberley Tour, July 2017.
Dreamland of KakaduWe had a magnificent 6 day adventure with best of what Kakadu offers with Charter North. Great camp sites, great breakfasts and dinners over the fire.... every day varied and full of action and memories to last a lifetime. We had super cool guide who knew exactly where to go and what to do and there was plenty of surprise every day and many stops for coffees and icecremes and swimming spots... A definite must do! Thanks to our guide Heath who was highly experienced and knowledgeable and made great dinners and baked bread over the fire and for for making our trip excellent!Travelled on private 6 Day Kakadu & Beyond Tour July 2017.
Inspiring Broome to Darwin camping adventure
Our family is from Melbourne , we have a 15 year old boy and 12 year old girl and we really wanted them to experience the real Australia. We all went outside our comfort zones with " Bush " camping [ no toilets or showers] and it was amazing. Greig and Alina made it look very easy. The hiking was terrific and revealed so much of the hidden beauty of Australia. Greig's knowledge of the land and the indigenous people and the history of the area was brilliant. As a private tour he was also able to tailor the trip to personal interests, such as rock art, photography, helicopter flights etc.Travelled on private 8 Day Kimberley Tour in July 2017.
Fantastic family holiday we'll never forget
We have just returned from an extraordinary 7 day Kakadu and Beyond private charter with Charter North 4WD Safaris and could not recommend the experience more highly! We started planning the trip with Greig back in January and were impressed with his knowledge of the Top end and willingness to tailor the itinerary to our requirements. We had a long 2 hour teleconference where we explored options and devised a program which included 5 days in Kakadu, 1 day at Katherine Gorge and 1 day in Litchfield NP. We were a little disappointed that Greig was touring the Kimberley at the time and was therefore unable to be our guide, but we were totally delighted with our guide Heath Whiley.
Heath knows the top end like the back of his hand. Quite frankly, he provided us with an adventure that we would not have been able to procure on our own. As we were up for a bit of adventure, Heath took us off the beaten track, away from the crowds. We climbed up to the plunge pools at the top of Jim Jim where we saw only one other group the entire day - amazing views and a refreshing swim in many many pools. We explored the gorges behind the Gumlom and Maguk plunge pools - clambering over rocks and duck diving through submerged holes in the rock. We avoided the crowds at Litchfield by taking a 4WD track through 0.5m deep water and then hiking to the secluded Tjaynera falls. We camped only at bush camps (again at our request to avoid crowds) and enjoyed an amazing sunrise over Sandy Billabong and sunset over a lagoon near Edith falls. We loved our scenic flight with Kakadu Air (highly recommended on day 1 to get a sense of the amazing landscape); our canoe trip on the second and third gorges of Katherine Gorge and a sunset cruise on the Yellow Water Lagoon where we saw 7 salt water crocs. Heath has incredible knowledge about bird life and our 13 year old son was soon spotting birds and using Heath's phone app to identify their calls. He taught us all about bush tucker and even persuaded our 9 year old daughter to lick the bottom of a weaver ant (yes, it tastes like lime!) By the end of the week, we were all dusting off the nectar of fern leaf grevillea (so sweet) and (once outside the park) putting the yellow kapok flowers on our salad. Heath shared his passion for photography with us all, but especially our 15 year old son who was soon borrowing Heaths's tripod to capture sunset & moon rising shots at Ubirr Rock and at Jim Jim (amazing water reflections of the sandstone escarpment). He taught us all about the indigenous rock art @ Nubirr and Nourlangie and aboriginal bush craft. He gave the younger kids a DJ name (for when they took turns choosing the tunes for car trips); was patient with my husband and his torn hammy and dealt with my FOMO! We all thought he was fantastic! As for the camping, we used the new camper trailer which popped out in 15 minutes. We called it the "Taj" - with two double mattresses and plenty of room for 2 swags and extra gear, it was super deluxe. The food was great & all meals other than lunch were cooked over the fire. We enjoyed freshly brewed coffee and cooked breakfasts (eggs and bacon; jaffles); bread cooked in the camp oven (including damper; multigrain and a banana bread); Bbqs, curries, pasta and stir fries for dinner and plenty of chocolate and marshmallows for toasting over the fire while star gazing. Heath had snacks aplenty, including wine/beer and cheese and dips for sunset (we also took some wine on tour). All in all, it was an incredible holiday which we could not recommend more highly.Travelled on private 7 Day kakadu & Beyond Tour in July 2017