5 Day Top End Explorer Trip Notes

    • 5
    • PNTK5
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $870
      CAD $930
      AUD $965
      EUR €670
      GBP £575
      NZD $1,145
      ZAR R8,785
      CHF FR825
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    • Original
Book
Print Version
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2014
5 Day Top End Explorer
Trip code: PNTK5
Validity: 01 Apr 2014 to 31 Mar 2015
Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesEmergency contact
MapGroup sizeVisas
ItineraryYour fellow travellersIssues on your trip
Also available to purchaseSingle travellersWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerAccommodationHealth
Culture shock rating MealsSafety
Physical ratingTransportTravel insurance
Physical preparationGroup leaderResponsible Travel
Included activitiesJoining point A couple of rules
Spending moneyJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
TippingFinish point Feedback
Style
Original
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Map
5 Day Top End Explorer
Itinerary
Day 1 Darwin/Kakadu
Leaving Darwin, we travel into Wulna Country and receive a Cul Cul or unique ‘Welcome to Country’ by the traditional owners of the land, the Limilngan –Wulna people. They’ll share with us their local Aboriginal culture with bush tucker talks, didgeridoo lessons, basket weaving and spear throwing. Next stop is the Mary River wetlands system, with the highest concentration of saltwater crocodiles in the southern hemisphere. Get close (but not too close) to ‘salties’ and other wild creatures on a unique billabong cruise. We arrive at history rich Ubirr in time for sunset. You will see vivid Aboriginal rock art that dates back over 20,000 years. Then we head to our overnight camp in Kakadu. (LD)
Accommodation
Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 nt)
Day 2 Kakadu
It’s an early start this morning as we travel to Twin Falls, getting in some 4WD action along the way. The spectacular gorge is experienced onboard a National Park operated boat cruise and a walk along the boardwalk. Unwind and relax for a bit on the sandy banks before we head to explore Jim Jim Falls. First we have a quick lunch break and then take in the views of this 200m natural wonder before taking the challenging walk to the base where you can choose to swim or relax on the beautiful beach. This is really a site to admire and not rush so we spend the whole afternoon enjoying the spectacular scenery and waterholes before making the short drive to our overnight bush camp. (BLD)
Accommodation
Camping (with shared facilities) (1 nt)
Day 3 Kakadu/Katherine
With more amazing waterfalls to experience we head to Maguk and cool off with a dip in the plunge pools. After lunch we take a hike to the top of Gunlom Falls after working up a sweat on the climb your efforts are rewarded with a swim in a beautiful waterhole with breathtaking views of the escarpment country. Visit the historic gold-mining centre of Pine Creek before heading further south and settling in for the night at our private campsite on the doorstep of Nitmuluk National Park. (BLD)
Accommodation
Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 nt)
Day 4 Nitmiluk National Park/Mt Bundy Station
We spend the morning at the majestic Katherine Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park. Relax and enjoy the serenity. Want to see more? Take a cruise along the gorge or rent a canoe and paddle yourself downstream. These options are seasonal and at your own expense. Next we head off to Edith Falls where you can cool down with another refreshing swim. We camp for the night at Mt Bundy Station - once the largest cattle station in the Top End and still an active working station. (BLD)
Accommodation
Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 nt)
Day 5 Litchfield National Park/Darwin
Filled with waterholes and waterfalls, Litchfield National Park is well deserving of all its hype and the perfect place to soak up the tranquillity of the tropics. Exploring Litchfield is the perfect way to complete this tour, visiting Florence Falls, Wangi Falls and the Buley Rockholes. Enjoy a picnic lunch, stroll through steamy rainforests and cool off with a dip in one of Litchfield's picture perfect swimming holes. As with all good things, this Top End tour must come to an end. Hit the road and head back to Darwin to enjoy a night on the town toasting your adventure with new friends. (BL)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • Sleeping Bag Purchase (PSB)
  • 3 Day 4WD Kakadu/ Litchfield Explorer (PNTK3)
  • 3 Day 4WD Kakadu/ Litchfield Explorer (PNTK3)
Itinerary disclaimer
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
ABORIGINAL CULTURAL EXPERIENCES/COMMUNITIES:
Please note due to cultural sensitivities, entry to particular parts of local Aboriginal communities may be unavailable.
Where Aboriginal guide is unavailable in Red Centre an Intrepid guide will lead the interpretive cultural walk. In Kakadu the Aboriginal Wulna-Limilngan cultural experience is only available during the dry season (Apr-Oct) as site is subject to flooding (contact our customer service team for availability). Participants may be absent due to cultural commitments with minimal prior notification and Intrepid reserves the right to amend the itinerary in these circumstances with no obligation to refund.
WET SEASON ITINERARY
A tropical summer itinerary applies in Kakadu Nov/Dec-May.
Itineraries may vary and/or attractions be substituted for any cause including seasonal conditions (including the opening and closing of Twin and Jim Jim Falls and other natural attractions), weather extremes, traditional owner and national park requirements.
Culture shock rating

Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
Physical rating

Be prepared for some serious physical activity. The majority of activities included on this trip will be challenging. The fitter you are, the more you'll enjoy your holiday.
Physical preparation
To get the most out of this trip you need to be prepared for walks of between 3-8 km on some days. This may be on rough ground and perhaps getting feet wet in rivers and creeks. From Oct to March you will experience temperatures of over 35 degrees Celsius (and sometimes well into the 40’s) so be prepared to endure extra physical stress due to the heat at these times, especially while on walks.
These extreme outside temperatures can also place stress on the air-conditioning units within our vehicles which can make travelling uncomfortable. Your tour guide will assist with regular breaks and information to assist in keeping well hydrated.
Included activities
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
Spending money
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Tipping
In Australia, tipping is expected for certain things, but not everything. As a guide, tipping applies when you sit down in a restaurant for a meal (10% is a general rule). When using taxis or buying drinks at a bar, rounding up is acceptable.
You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline AU$2-5 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Important notes
WET SEASON & WEATHER:
Given the unpredictable nature of weather and travel in the tropics, we are sometimes forced to make late itinerary changes due to unexpected heavy rain and/or storms and road closures. In the event of this occurring, itinerary changes may need to be implemented after commencement of you trip. In this event, your Tour Leader/Driver has full authority to change the itinerary and/or order of activities and substitute alternative destinations and activities as necessary. No refunds are available due to itinerary changes and missed activities caused by extreme weather conditions and/or road closures.
Note that the opening dates of waterfalls (including Twin and Jim Jim Falls) and attractions vary each year and can change on a daily basis in the wet and shoulder seasons. Visit this website to see live updates on which areas of the park will be open: http://kakaduroadreport.wordpress.com/ or contact our Reservations team. Due to National Park rules and road laws, we cannot guarantee the opening of Twin and Jim Jim Falls and other attractions at any time.
AGE RESTRICTIONS:
Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 12. Anyone aged under 18 must be accompanied by (and share accommodation with) a parent or guardian.
Group size
Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
Single travellers
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
Accommodation
Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (3 nts), Camping (with shared facilities) (1 nt)
PARTICIPATORY CAMPING:
To participate in this trip you must be prepared to assist with preparing meals, cleaning dishes, collecting firewood, setting up and packing up camp every day, in all conditions.
Simple permanent twin-share tents or option to swag camp (Red Centre trips only). Sleeping bags are required and are available for pre-purchase from us. Bathroom facilities are shared and are located a short walking distance from camp.
Camping consists of portable, easy to erect, dome tents. We provide comfortable swags (canvas bedroll including 2 inch mattresses). You can either bring your own sleeping bag or purchase one from us at AU$30.00 per person. Pillows are not provided so you can bring your own if you wish.
Meals
4 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Your tour includes meals as indicated in our brochure and online. On most days, breakfast, lunch and dinner will be included. Your leader will prepare most of the meals whilst on tour. Please make sure you advise us of any special dietary requirements well prior to travelling and we will endeavour to do our best to cater to them.
Our tours are activity and participation based. During your travels with us you will have the opportunity to assist with daily activities such as setting up camp, helping prepare meals and clearing dishes. None of this is difficult however many hands make light work and any assistance provided to crew is always much appreciated. Most people agree that this type of activity helps you feel like less of a tourist and more of an explorer.
DIETARY REQUIREMENTS:
Passengers with special meal requirements must ensure they or their travel agent inform Intrepid of this at the time of booking. Food for the trip is purchased prior to commencement and special requirements cannot be catered for after departing. Vegetarians and those with any special meal requirements may need to provide additional assistance to the leader for meal preparation.
Transport
All Terrain vehicle
You will be travelling in a vehicle specifically designed and built for Australian outback conditions. All our vehicles are air conditioned for your comfort, have CD players and/or Ipod connections and large panoramic windows for uninterrupted sightseeing.
Group leader
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by a group leader. In Australia your group leader is also your driver, taking you from start to finish in a specialised safari vehicle. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, organise the camp and cooking for camp cooked meals (though passengers are required to help out) and recommend great local eating venues. They will also introduce you to our local friends along the way. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the areas visited on the trip, including historical, environmental, cultural and social aspects.
Joining point
Default pick up point Adventure Tours Shop @6:50am (52 Mitchell St)
Darwin
Darwin
Northern Territory
AUSTRALIA
Joining point instructions
Meet at the Adventure Tours Australia shop (52 Mitchell St) or select Darwin accomodation. Pick up times and locations will be advised by our customer service team when booking.
Finish point
Select Darwin accommodation
Darwin CBD
Darwin
Northern Territory
AUSTRALIA
Emergency contact
In the event of an emergency, or missed pick up on the day of departure, please call Adventure Tours Australia/Intrepid Travel on 1300 654 604.
Visas
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
AUSTRALIA:
Belgium: Yes - required in advance
Canada: Yes - required in advance
Germany: Yes - required in advance
Ireland: Yes - required in advance
Netherlands: Yes - required in advance
New Zealand: Not required
South Africa: Yes - required in advance
Switzerland: Yes - required in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - required in advance
USA: Yes - required in advance
All travellers, except New Zealand citizens, must obtain a visa or travel authority before travelling to Australia. Failure to do so means you may not be allowed to board your flight to Australia. Most nationalities can obtain an Electronic Travel Authority via the internet before arrival. Please check the following website or with your relevant Australian visa issuing office for your nationalities requirements. http://www.eta.immi.gov.au/index.html
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
LUGGAGE RESTRICTION:
Pack only your bare essentials. Due to limited space and strictly enforced road laws regarding weight limits, Intrepid travellers can carry a maximum of 15 kg (10kg for any trips visiting Kakadu). You are required to limit your luggage to one small to medium sized soft bag or backpack and a small daypack, which can be carried inside the vehicle. Intrepid cannot guarantee to carry overweight or oversized luggage. Please store bulky items at your pre tour accommodation. It may be necessary to freight excess luggage at your own expense.
SLEEPING BAG & MAT:
Comfortable foam sleeping mats are provided. Please bring a sleeping bag or purchase one for $30. (if you do not wish to keep your sleeping bag they are donated to local charities).
CLOTHING & CLIMATE:
During dry season months (Apr-Sep) overnight temperatures can get below 10 degrees Celsius but daytime temperatures can still exceed 30 degrees Celsius. Daytime temperatures and humidity can be extreme from Oct to March with temperatures over 35 degrees Celsius. Night time temperatures can also be high at this time of year.
Australia has relaxed attitudes to standards of dress, however during the day extreme sunshine can cause sunburn all year round. We recommend that you bring loose, cool, cotton clothing to protect yourself from the harsh sun. A sun hat, sunscreen, swimwear, towel, sturdy walking shoes and sunglasses are a must.
WATER BOTTLE:
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilized water stored in the purpose-built storage tank or in water jerry cans in your overland vehicle. You're free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like.
BATTERIES/POWER:
Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras every couple of days. We always recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera just in case. Your vehicle will be equipped with a 12 volt “cigarette lighter” socket which may be used at the crew’s discretion, however, do bear in mind that only one piece of equipment can be charged at a time and it will not be allowed if there is a risk of running the vehicle’s batteries low. Batteries may also be recharged from hotel room wall sockets. We suggest you bring a mix of normal and rechargeable batteries and the appropriate recharging unit. Hotels and many campsites have electricity and charging of batteries is advised before checking out the following day.
HEADLAMP OR TORCH:
A headlamp or torch is recommended for around your accommodation at night. Some properties have limited lighting and are powered by generators that switch off at a certain time. It’s a good idea to bring a headlamp or torch to navigate your way around at night.
Health
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Dengue, Murray Valley Encephalitis (MVE) and Ross River Fever occur in northern parts of Australia (the Northern Territory, Northern Queensland and northern Western Australia). All three viruses are transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against them, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn. January 2009 saw an earlier than usual seasonal outbreak of dengue fever in northern Queensland, with over 600 confirmed cases in and around Cairns and Townsville.
There have been 77 confirmed cases of Whitmore disease (melioidosis) in the Northern Territory, mainly in greater Darwin, but with cases reported in the Katherine and East Arnhem regions too. One case has occurred as far south as Tennant Creek. The risk of melioidosis will continue to be present as long as the rains continue. Those most at risk are those with underlying conditions that impair the immune system such as diabetes. Please visit the NT Department of Health and Families website http://www.health.nt.gov.au - for more information.
Safety
REMOTE AREA TRAVEL:
We carry a satellite phone on all of our remote/overland trips to be used by our leaders in the event of an emergency and for your safety. In addition, all of our leaders are First Aid trained and certified.
HYDRATION:
Daytime temperatures can be extreme from Oct to March with temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius. Please bring a large refillable water bottle. We strongly recommend the use of dehydration salts and sports drinks as a way to combat dehydration during times of extreme heat.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
Travel insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
Travel Insurance for Australians travelling on trips within Australia only: Australians are not required to be covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation for trips within Australia. However we strongly recommend that you have a domestic travel insurance policy which covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
Responsible Travel
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website: