Across the Top End 2023
FULLY BOOKED - Waitlist available

30 Aug - 14 Sep 2023

Agriculture in Australia’s north is booming. New developments in dryland and irrigated cotton and other crops; large horticulture developments finding ready markets in Asia and, of course, the beef success story of recent years.  And there is no more beautiful place on earth.

Agricultural highlights include:

  • The Atherton Tableland, one of the most varied, beautiful and successful agricultural regions in Australia;
  • Pioneering cotton farms around Mount Garnet;
  • Northern Territory farmers who are getting great results growing cotton. We should arrive at or just before picking and get an update the on plans for a cotton gin in the area;
  • Near the WA border, we will visit big cattle stations with a long history of Kimberley development; and,

A full day of visits in the Ord irrigation area.
 
There will be plenty of opportunity to sample the best scenery, landscapes and activities the north has to offer. For instance:

  • The best of Kakadu;
  • Lake Argyle and cruising down the Ord;
  • East Kimberley coast;
  • The magical gorges and waterfalls of the Kimberley; and,
  • Cable Beach and Broome.

Exciting add-on to Horizontal Waterfalls

At the end of the tour there is an option to take a day trip to the Dampier Peninsula and Horizontal Waterfalls. Visit Cygnet Bay and fly over the amazing Buccaneer Archipelago to the Horizontal Waterfalls where you will land on Talbot Bay for lunch, maybe a (safe) swim in the beautiful Kimberley water and an exhilarating boat ride through the "Horis" before float plane return to Broome.

Because group members will be arriving from all parts of the country, the tour is priced out of Cairns. Airfares (or other means of travel) to Cairns and out of Broome are additional. We are happy to help arrange these.


Itinerary

View or Print Itinerary
Date
Activity
Overnight

Day 1

Wed 30 Aug
D

Arrive in Cairns, the gateway to northern Australia. Transfer (own arrangements unless otherwise advised) to the Pacific Hotel Cairns (43 The Esplanade) before 6.30pm welcome drinks and dinner at the fantastic Piccolo Cucina restaurant, a 300 metre stroll from the hotel.

Of course, there’s always the option to arrive early and spend some time in the tropical north.

Australia

Pacific Hotel Cairns
Cairns view website

Day 2

Thu 31 Aug
B L D

We'll head up the beautiful coastal road, visiting Mosman Gorge and exploring the Daintree area before heading back as far as Port Douglas for the night.

Oaks Port Douglas
Port Douglas view website

Day 3

Fri 1 Sep
B L D

We trek inland to visit the amazing Lakeland Downs, growing a large range of crops on a grand scale. We'll spend most of the day here, then head onto the Tablelands as far as Atherton for overnight.

Atherton Motel
Atherton view website

Day 4

Sat 2 Sep
B L D

In the morning we will catch up again with Dougal Millar who will show us around for the day. The first visit will be with Laurie Masasso who farms a variety of crops and also runs a packing shed operation for other clients including Dougal. Laurie will give a great insight into the operation of the supply chain from north Queensland farms to southern supermarkets. The range of crops grown on the Atherton Tablelands is truly amazing.

There are 39 large agricultural industries on the Tablelands including sugarcane, bananas, avocados, dairy and beef cattle, mangos, potatoes, citrus and papaya, with cotton emerging as a potential new crop.

Atherton Motel
Atherton

Day 5

Sun 3 Sep
B L D

Today we travel west through the Tablelands and will visit the St Ronans' ag development, operated by Sundown Pastoral Company. We will then continue on to the nearby Undara Volcanic National Park with a guided tour of the larva tubes in the late afternoon.

Undara Resort
Undara view website

Day 6

Mon 4 Sep
B L

After a bush breakfast at Undara, we track eastwards again towards Malanda. We have a tour and lunch at Nerada Tea before continuing on to Kuranda. Here we have some free time before boarding the spectacular Skyrail to descend through the rainforest tree tops and back to sea-level.

Our bus rejoins us at the bottom for transfer to our hotel and a free evening.

Pacific Hotel Cairns
Cairns view website

Day 7

Tue 5 Sep
B L D

Fly to Darwin and say hello to Bushie, our bus owner/driver who will be with us all the way to Broome.

It's lunchtime when we arrive so we're off to the famous Humpty Doo pub for a meal. We are in the midst of some impressive horticulture, aquaculture, livestock and cropping enterprises so after lunch, we will take the "farming route" back to Darwin and hotel check-in.

The Adina has a fantastic location on the revamped Darwin Waterfront. We will have some time to settle in before heading to the Darwin Sailing Club for a spectacular tropical Darwin sunset over the water and dinner.

Adina Apartment Hotel Waterfront
Darwin view website

Day 8

Wed 6 Sep
B

This morning Bushie will take us on a Darwin city tour of the main highlights. We'll also hear about how Darwin is deeply embedded in Australia's military history.

As a strategic Allied military base, Darwin was the target of Japanese air raids in February 1942, with more bombs dropped on the city than on Pearl Harbour. Savage air raids continued to rain across the Top End during World War II, leading to a repositioning of armed forces in the Darwin region. Adelaide River, 100 km south of Darwin, become a huge base for Australian and American headquarters.

Around 10.30 am we return to our hotel.

Then it's a free day and evening. Our hotel has a swag of good restaurants, shops and other sights within walking distance.

Adina Apartment Hotel Waterfront
Darwin

Day 9

Thu 7 Sep
B L D

Time to look at some more farms. We will make an early start to visit famous Tipperary Station and look at their cattle and cropping operations including their recent foray into cotton production.

After our packed lunch under the shade of a suitable tree, we will visit and talk to other pioneering cotton growers in the region and visit the new gin in the area.

Knotts Crossing Resort
Katherine view website

Day 10

Fri 8 Sep
B L D

8am departure for the morning cruise on the Katherine Gorge then a farm visit near Katherine before we head west and watch the country change into a Kimberley landscape and then enjoy some real country hospitality at Timber Creek. The area has some amazing history and nearby is the Victoria River, one of the most beautiful in Australia.

Timber Creek Hotel and Caravan Park
Timber Creek view website

Day 11

Sat 9 Sep
B L D

We will cross the Western Australian border (turning clocks back 90 minutes) and continue to the massive Lake Argyle to get a panoramic view of the lake and maybe a visit to the Durack Homestead museum which was dismantled and rebuilt stone by stone as the lake waters rose, before an afternoon cruise down the Ord River to Kununurra.

We take an unforgettable cruise on Lake Argyle, feed the local catfish and with a swimming option not to be missed. After a quick lunch at the local hotel, we will take a leisurely cruise from the base of the dam down the Old Revert arrive at Kununurra as the sun sets.

Kimberley Grande Resort
Kununurra view website

Day 12

Sun 10 Sep
B L

The East Kimberley is not only home to Lake Argyle and the Ord Irrigation Area, it is a base to explore arguably the best scenic areas of the Kimberley.

This morning we will visit some of the highlights of the Ord such as Ivanhoe Crossing and a visit to the Research Station which has been the focus of much of the agricultural development.

After lunch, we’ll board our charter flights for a two hour aerial tour which gives a birds-eye overview of the irrigation area, Lake Argyle and the diversion dam, the Lower Ord and Wyndham with the late afternoon sun giving an unforgettable panorama of the Cockburn Ranges.

Kimberley Grande Resort
Kununurra

Day 13

Mon 11 Sep
B L D

Full day of farm visits in the Ord, including the latest Stage 2 area. We will discuss cropping opportunities with a range of local farmers and other experts.

We’ll talk with Kimberley Agricultural Industries, the developers of Ord Stage 2, visit a Sandalwood plantation and catch up with farmers growing crops such as hay, corn, cotton, rockmelons, honeydews, pumpkins, chickpeas, Borlottis – just about anything.

A highlight (for some) will be lunch at The Hoochery, a rum distillery developed by local farming legend Spike Dessert who passed away 4 years ago. The award winning distillery is the ultimate in farm diversification and is still operated by Spike’s family.

Return to Kununurra for sunset drinks and dinner at The Pumphouse.

Kimberley Grande Resort
Kununurra

Day 14

Tue 12 Sep
B L D

We fly to Broome this morning. After a quick lunch at an iconic Broome eating spot, we take a tour of this historic town including the wharf, the Japanese cemetery and Gantheaume Point.

Later we will freshen up at our hotel before dinner at Zanders restaurant which has the best possible view of the sunset over Cable Beach.

Mangrove Hotel
Broome view website

Day 15

Wed 13 Sep
B L D

This morning, we head north of town to the Willie Creek Pearl Farm nestled on a tropical inlet of the Indian Ocean. You will learn about the collection and spawning of oysters in the purpose-built hatchery, appreciate the delicate operations of seeding and harvesting oysters and understand the value of pearls and the creation of stunning jewellery.

A highlight of the tour will be cruising Willie Creek’s calm azure waters and view live oysters suspended in their natural environment.

After lunch, we will head back to Broome with options such as the Pearl Luggers tour, a visit to the dinosaur footprints or just some shopping for a wonderful Kimberley Pearl. Dinner at the Mangrove Hotel, overlooking beautiful Roebuck Bay.

ALTERNATIVE ON SEPTEMBER 13 (EXTRA COST):

An option to take a day trip to the Dampier Peninsula and Horizontal Waterfalls. Visit Cygnet Bay and fly over the amazing Buccaneer Archipelago to the Horizontal Waterfalls where you will land on Talbot Bay for lunch, maybe a (safe) swim in the beautiful Kimberley water and an exhilarating boat ride through the "Horis" before float plane return to Broome.

Mangrove Hotel
Broome

Day 16

Thu 14 Sep

Departure for flights home or stay an extra day or two or join the tour to the Pilbara.