7 Night Arnhem Land Coastal Expedition, Darwin to Darwin
Day 1: Depart Darwin
A Charter Bus will greet you at your accommodation and arrange for your transportation to Reef Prince. Once aboard the vessel your friendly crew will settle you into your new home for the next 7 nights.
Today we depart the capital of the Northern Territory – Darwin and Head North to the Coburg Peninsula. On route we will use our masters experience to enjoy our first fishing expedition in our tenters and go in search of some tasty fish for the table.
Day 2: Black Point Cultural Centre & Goulburn Islands
Awake deep in Arnhem Land. Today we enjoy two shore expeditions. Firstly we will visit the Rangers Station and museum. The centre offers travellers a unique insight into the rich history of the Cobourg Peninsula. Aboriginal people, Macassan traders and European pioneers have all made their mark on this land in varying ways. The displays include traditional Aboriginal bush tucker, history and artefacts, evidence of Macassan trading and a history on the Victoria Settlement.
In the afternoon we go ashore to explore the failed settlement of Port Essington.
Day 3: Croker Island
Croker Island is approximately 200 km northeast from Darwin and located at the meeting place of the Arafura Sea and the Timor Sea. It has an area of 331.5 km² and it is separated from the nearby Cobourg Peninsula in the west by Bowen Strait.
The traditional owners are the Yammirr people. Kimberley Expeditions has negotiated a special access permit for our guests to the land on the island. Many Aboriginal people acknowledge Croker Island as the birthplace of the Rainbow Serpent – one of the most important spiritual beings in tales of the Dreamtime.
The island landscape is flat and covered with tropical rainforest, fringed by inviting sandy beaches and coral reef. Prolific Bird life includes the Brolga and graceful Black Neck Stork. Fishing can be amazing with anglers bringing in a range of fish such as trevally, queen-fish, Spanish mackerel and mangrove jack. Departing Croker Island we’ll cruise through the evening to Grant Island.
Day 4: Grant Island
Early Morning ashore to discover the beaches and turtle nesting areas of Grant island. Witness the exposure of a reef wonderland as the tide recedes. Our comfortable tenders will help us meet the locals. Green turtles, sharks, feeding herons, scores of travelling waders and reef fish inhabit the area. Departing Grant Island this afternoon we cruise through the evening to Trepang Bay.
Day 5: Trepang Bay
Up early to watch the sun rise over Trepang Bay. After a healthy breaky we’ll hop in our big safe Tenders and scoot up one of the many creek systems that feed into Trepang Bay. Flick a lure or bring your camera and discover the ecology that awaits the morning explorer. Creek systems open into vast wetlands fringed by mangroves and pandanas. Arnhem Lands’ tropical wonders await to awaken your senses. Tonight we’ll share photographs while we remain nestled within the arms of Trepang Bay.
Day 6: Cape Don Lighthouse
For those up for the Arnhem sunrise, you’ll watch Trepang Bay fade away into memories this morning as we cruise towards Cape Don lighthouse. Opened in 1917 Cape Don lighthouse remains today as an unmanned beacon since 1983. Cape Don was named by Phillip Parker King in 1818, as a compliment to General Sir George Don, the Lieutenant-Governor of Gibraltar. You may opt to have a fishing excursion or go ashore and view the 36m tall light house.
Day 7: Tiwi Island – Apsley Straight
Enjoy a locally guided tour through the community of Wurrumiyanga. Wurrumiyanga, formerly Nguiu, is a community on the southern coast of Bathurst Island. Nguiu was founded in 1911 as a Catholic mission by Francis Xavier Gsell. We hope to spend time with the locals while they work on their weaving and painting, enjoying some damper and billy tea as we watch. Visit the Patakijiyali Museum to see traditional art that depicts Tiwi Dreamtime stories. Then, enjoy a demonstration of totem dances and a smoking ceremony. Later, enjoy a cruise through the intricate creek systems of Melville Island (subject to weather and tidal conditions).
Approx. 15,000 years ago rising sea levels, at the end of the last ice age, cut off Bathurst and Melville Islands from mainland, and created Aspley and Dundas Straits. In relative isolation distinctive Tiwi culture began to evolve. Tiwi people believe they are created by their spirit ancestors. Tiwi meaning “we, the only people”.
Day 8: Disembark Darwin
Up early to watch the sun rise over Trepang Bay. Today we depart Bathurst & Melville island and make our way to Darwin. Arriving around 10 am we have organised a special tour of the historic sites of Multicultural Darwin for you. On the completion of the historic tour you’ll be dropped at your choice of accommodation.
This itinerary is an indication of what destinations are usually visited and activities are usually on offer. Throughout the expedition changes may be made to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expeditionary experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel.