Travel to the Land of the Lightning Brothers
- Duration: 6 Days (approx.)
- Product code: PNLA08
Imagine camping and bush-cooking over open fires under the stars, learning about Aboriginal art, visiting ancient rock-art galleries, sleeping by the drone of the didgeridoo and wakening to the pure sounds of the Australian bush.
This trip will change your life and your perspective on one of Australia's most remote and spectacular outback destinations ...
This is far from your average Australian outback tour. It's been put together by four lifelong friends to guide you through their spiritual home, to learn about their culture, the people, landscapes and wildlife: the embodiment of Australia and its people, past and present.
This is a region few have ever (or will ever) get to experience through the stories and wisdom of these four people, together, and for that reason is perhaps one of the most exciting trips that we have had the pleasure to represent on Wildiaries.
MEET YOUR GUIDES
Bill Harney (Yudunduma)
This vast sandstone region that connects the Kimberley with Kakadu/Arnhem Land is home country of the Wardaman and legendary traditional owner Yidumduma Bill Harney, an Aboriginal elder, master storyteller and painter. Bill is a living treasure and a long time personal friend of Mike Keighley's. He has a rare skill and knowledge to interpret the spectacular art and lore of his ancestors – some paintings perhaps thousands of years old. These dramatic rock paintings and engravings tell the stories of the world’s oldest continuing culture. Human footprint impressions embedded in rock will leave you in wonderment as to just how old this civilisation must be.
Mike Keighley (Borela) – 20 years award winning Aboriginal experiences.
Fitt as a trout, furnished with a droll take on the sillier aspects of urban life and a clear-eyed view of just how lucky he is, Mike Keighley is the very model of the modern wildlife guide. Except he’s old-school funny, wise and tough – the perfect companion on an expedition deep into crocodile country. An accomplished author and wildlife expert, co-author Tom Huth (Conde Naste traveler) refers to Mike as 'the real Mick Dundee'. Highly acclaimed and award-winning, Mike brings his own level of sophistication to this trip, and a love of the Top End that he shares generously with everyone.
Tio (Kurun Warun) – acclaimed Aboriginal dancer/artist and musician.
Tio is a member of the indigenous Guntijamara tribe whose name means 'Hissing Swan'. He is best known for his exceptional dot art and talent as a didgeridoo musician. He has won international recognition in his expression of culture through art and music, performing all over the world.
Neville Beeby – (Nifty) 20 years outback guiding, cooking, camp managing in remote Australia.
Neville Beeby is a passionated guide with 20 years experience and an extensive knowledge of the Northern Territory.
Day one – Monday 31st August:
Leave Darwin 7am and head east to Arnhemland. Aboriginal guided Guluyambi cruise on the East Alligator River.
A unique boat tour on Kakadu’s scenically spectacular East Alligator River. Take in the wonderful pristine wilderness as you leisurely cruise up stream. An Aboriginal guide provides an insight into their culture, the river’s abundant food chain, traditional uses for many plants and animals as well as bush survival skills. Disembark on the Arnhem Land side of the river and be treated to a display of traditional hunting and gathering implements before heading back down stream.
Afternoon – hike into Injalak Hill with Aboriginal guides to see ancient rock art galleries. The rock art on Injalak Hill reveals facets of Pre-Estuarine, Estuarine and Contact periods identifying them as between 100 and 8,000 years old. Injalak Hill likely had continuous occupation. In 1912, the Aboriginal Protectorate Baldwin Spencer noted people heading up the hill every evening with smoldering fire sticks. This helps to explain why Injalak Hill boasts such extensive rock art galleries.
The main gallery is the first contact with rock art and is the most intense. It is an extensive shelter featuring layered paintings created over thousands of years. Other rock art gallery sites visited include Yingana or Warramurruggunddji, (the Creation Mother) and Andungun (this was told to Charles Mountford) a namarnde (evil) spirit who kills and eats people. At end of tour opportunity to view the Injalak Arts a not for profit community enterprise. Indigenous community art centres play an important role in the artistic and cultural life of traditional Aboriginal artists living in remote communities. Injalak Arts has over 200 members made up of artists and weavers from Gunbalanya and surrounding outstations. All artists are paid up front for their work. Although the Arts Centre is located in Gunbalanya, it also attempts to service those artists who choose to live at their outstations who have few other options for economic activity.
End day at Anbinik Kakadu Resort – Jabiru, Kakadu
Day two – Tuesday 1st September
Drive through Kakadu National Park to Warradjun Cultural Centre, then onto the beautiful Southern Rockhole for a swim and sunset views. End day at All Seasons Resort, Katherine.
Day three – Wednesday 2nd September
Head west into the spectacular Victoria River country where we will spend days and nights camping out and exploring one of the great rock art locations of the world in the Land of the Lightning Brothers. We will set up camp near a palm fringed waterhole – cook over an open fire and sleep beneath the star canopy on Aussie swags - or in tents if preferred.
Day four – Thursday 3rd September
The next few days we will travel to various sites – Moon Dreaming, Cockatoo Dreaming, Little Lightnings – each site remote and distinctly different.
Day five – Friday 4th September
Bill will tell us the stories of his people and the meaning of the art
Day six – Saturday 5th September
Pack camp and slowly make our way back to ‘civilisation’ via historic towns to Darwin