Discover the Top End and East Kimberley on this one of a kind outback experience. This is a wild part of the country full of natural and cultural wonders. Travel in 4x4s, hike through gorges, swim under waterfalls, and camp under stars like you’ve never seen before. Get to know Aboriginal Australians through cultural exchange and service projects. Help rehabilitate sick and injured wildlife. Hang out amongst kangaroos, wallabies, birds, cows, and horses on a working cattle station. See jumping crocodiles in an action-packed service adventure!
Your Rustic Pathways leaders will meet you upon your arrival in Darwin. After a warm welcome, there will be time to settle in to the hotel, freshen up, and start your orientation. This afternoon you’ll visit the Royal Darwin Hospital to learn about various health issues that are prevalent in the Territory.
Our first stop this morning will be the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Bombing of Darwin Museum. Here you will learn all about the bombing of Darwin Wharf during World War Two through virtual reality headsets. You will also learn about the history of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. This service is incredibly important in keeping people of the Outback safe!
Late morning, it’s time to set out for a real outback experience! We’ll hit the road and make our way towards Kakadu National Park! The city outskirts will quickly fade as the road opens up into magnificent Outback Australia.
First stop is an Aboriginal cultural workshop with a local family. Here you’ll learn about the traditional owners of the Adelaide River region. Learn how to weave baskets, throw a spear, play a didgeridoo and learn about the local bush food and medicine. Enjoy some damper and billy tea at the end of the experience.
Continuing into Kakadu, we head to Ubirr – a group of rocky outcrops that contain some of Australia’s best Aboriginal rock art. We’ll walk around the site to see and learn about the artwork in the natural rock shelters. Then we’ll walk to a lookout for a breathtaking sunset across the floodplain. There’ll be time to photograph and sketch from this magnificent lookout before making our way to camp.
Overnight: Kakadu National Park
Kakadu is considered a living cultural landscape. The traditional owners – the Bininj Mungguy – represent the longest continuous surviving human culture in the world. Descendants of the First Australians still live in Kakadu today! The Bininj Mungguy have a deep spiritual connection with the land. They have been caretakers of this country for over 50,000 years.
We’ll leave camp early this morning and drive into Arnhem Land. First we’ll cross the East Alligator River at Cahill’s Crossing. Then we’ll make our way to the town of Gunbalanya and visit the Injalak Hill Arts Centre. The members of Injalak Arts are Kunwinjku, Mengerrdji and Erre people, all of whom today speak the Kunwinjku language. You’ll tour the arts centre and learn about the artists’ connection with the environment. No outback experience is complete without understanding the deep connection the traditional owners have with the land.
Overnight: Kakadu National Park
Today we’ll make our way towards the park’s southern gates. Then we’ll continue south to Katherine. This afternoon will be spent exploring Nitmiluk National Park to see the magnificent Katherine Gorge. Carved by the Katherine River, the spectacular gorges have stunning sandstone cliffs and lush rainforest gullies. Taking a boat through the gorges is one of the best ways to see the area. Our cruise this afternoon will take you through two of the thirteen gorges in the park. Aboriginal guides will tell you stories of their heritage that dates back tens of thousands of years.
Overnight: Nitmiluk National Park
This morning we’ll soak in the local hot springs before embarking on a 6-hour drive into Western Australia. You’ll gain an appreciation for the remoteness and isolation of the people living in this region. You will pass through small towns that barely exist on the map. Life is very different in this part of the world! After crossing the state border, you will end the day’s drive in Kununurra, the regional centre of the Eastern Kimberley.
Kununurra’s population is quite diverse. Many young children here do not have stable support from their families. Without positive role models, children here can quickly find themselves on a destructive path that compromises their future. Rustic Pathways has partnered with several local organisations to provide youth enrichment and development activities to kids in Kununurra. You’ll hear from leaders within the community and learn about the various issues children face in this region of Australia.
Your service days will involve working with one or more of our amazing community partners to support an ongoing project. Which project you work on will depend on the season, school calendar, and needs of our partners. Our Australia Community Impact Manager will place you on a project that best meets community needs. No matter which project you contribute to, you will be making a difference to the lives of the locals. One afternoon, you will get the chance to meet a local doctor and learn about various health issues that are affecting community members of the East Kimberley.
Explore El Questro! Begin your day by soaking up the natural hot springs of Zebedee Springs. Relax under lush palm trees and epic red rock walls. This afternoon you will venture out to Emma Gorge. This is one of El Questro’s most breathtaking waterholes and gorge walks. First you’ll make your way along the rocky creek bed inside the gorge. Then you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking waterhole. Float on your back watching water droplets fall from the towering 65m cliffs surrounding the waterhole. Tonight, spend time around the campfire sharing memories & stories of your Outback adventure so far.
Overnight: El Questro Wilderness Park
After a relaxed breakfast, pack up camp and head back to Kununurra. Wave goodbye to the Cockburn Ranges and the beauty of the Kimberley. In town, there will be final opportunities for souvenirs and local mango smoothies. This afternoon you will check-in to your departing flight from Kununurra. Safe travels!