Touring the Top End - JULY 19 DEPARTURE FULLY BOOKED
For the most spectacular trip of your life

19 Jul - 3 Aug 2021

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:

  • Nhulunbuy in Arnhem Land and the magnificent Banubanu Island Retreat (https://www.banubanu.com);
  • The best of Kakadu;
  • Lake Argyle and cruising down the Ord;
  • Air tour of the north Kimberley coast;
  • The magical gorges and waterfalls of the Kimberley; and,
  • Cable Beach and Broome.

*TOUR PRICE

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.

The day to day itinerary details are constantly being updated so please check this website regularly.


Itinerary

View or Print Itinerary
Date
Activity
Overnight

Day 1

Mon 19 Jul
D

Arrive in Cairns, the gateway to northern Australia. Transfer to the hotel before a get

together with drinks and nibbles as the sun goes down.

Of course, some people will have arrived early and spent some time at Port Douglas,

on the reef or in the Daintree. There are plenty of options.

Pullman International
Cairns view website

Day 2

Tue 20 Jul
B L D

We leave Cairns and climb up to the Atherton Tableland along the famous Gillies

Highway with a brief stop at one of a chain of beautiful crystal clear crater lakes

once we reach the to. Then it’s time for a cuppa as we visit the Nerada tea plantation,

the biggest in Australia. We’ll have a tour of the tea plantation and the factory which

supplies all of the Nerada tea in Australia, then a well earned Devonshire tea.

At nearby Malanda, we’ll have lunch at the biggest timber pub in Australia, built

in 1911 where we will meet up with local farmer Dougal Millar before we tour his

plantation of 5000 avocado trees.

Later in the afternoon, we’ll continue through to the Undara Volcanic Park which has

some of the most impressive larva tubes in the world.

https://www.neradatea.com.au/visit-us

Day 3

Wed 21 Jul
B L D

Guided tour of the larva tubes in the morning before a short drive to the property St

Ronan which is being developed by Gwydir Valley based Sundown Pastoral Company

as a cattle and cropping operation with an emphasis on pioneering cotton production

in the region.

It will be lunchtime when we leave and luckily, just up the road is Pinnarendi Station

Stay & Cafe whose homemade sourdough pizzas and other delicacies are renowned

across the north, and they boast of having the best coffee anywhere. We shall see.

In the afternoon, we will continue through to Atherton with maybe a farm visit on the

way. This evening we get the chance to sample that icon of Australian country town

culinary excellence – the Chinese feed. Gluten free options available.

Atherton Motel
Atherton view website

Day 4

Thu 22 Jul
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.

On the way to Mareeba, we’ll visit a client of local farm supply company Nutrien. This

farmer has built a major farming operation from nothing to become one of the biggest

pawpaw suppliers in the country.

We will have lunch at Mareeba before the short drive to Kuranda where we will take

the world famous Kuranda Skyrail, over the tropical rainforest with spectacular views

of the Barron River and a different perspective of the lush jungle, as we wend our way

back to Cairns.

Pullman International
Cairns view website

Day 5

Fri 23 Jul
B D

A leisurely start before we head to the airport for a flight across the peninsula and the

Gulf of Carpentaria to Gove (Nhulunbuy) in north east Arnhem Land. Nhulunbuy is the

home of a large bauxite mine but is also the traditional homeland of the Yolgnu people

who are especially renowned for their art and music. It is often acknowledged as the

birthplace of the didgeridoo and the group Yothu Yindi.

When we land at Gove, we will split into two groups. The first will go into town and

take a boat offshore (15 minutes) to the remote Banubanu wilderness retreat.

The other group will travel to the world famous Yirrkala Art Centre before some

touring around this amazing part of the world and then dinner overlooking the Arafura

Sea.

Airnorth TL161 12.25-13.45

Banubanu Beach Resort
Nhulunbuy view website

Day 6

Sat 24 Jul
B L D

Time to swap around today. The first group will have to leave the island but can enjoy the peace and tranquility for most of the day. Both groups will also have the option

of a half day fishing charter from the island in these beautiful fish-rich waters (cost

about $250).

Walkabout Lodge
Nhulunbuy view website

Day 7

Sun 25 Jul
B L D

Group 1 will have a morning exploring Gove while Group 2 can relax on the island for

a little longer, before we join up again for the flight to Darwin.

Time to settle in at our hotel on the revamped Darwin Waterfront before we head to

the Darwin Sailing Club for a spectacular tropical Darwin sunset over the water and

dinner. Then back to the hotel or the opportunity to visit the famous Mindil Beach

markets.

Airnorth TL161 14.15-15.25

Day 8

Mon 26 Jul
B

A free day today with lots of different options. If you haven’t been to Kakadu, now

is your chance and there are lots of different options. Or, you can take a crocodile

jumping tour on the Adelaide River or head down to beautiful Litchfield National Park.

We will provide you with plenty of choices.

Free evening, and our hotel is located right next to a swag of good waterfront

restaurants.

Vibe Hotel
Darwin

Day 9

Tue 27 Jul
B L D

Time to look at some more farms. We will visit famous Tipperary Station and look at

their agricultural 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 get an update on the plans for a

new gin in the area.

Knotts Crossing Resort
Katherine view website

Day 10

Wed 28 Jul
B L D

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 before we 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
Timber Creek view website

Day 11

Thu 29 Jul
B L D

We will visit the massive Auvergne cattle station near the Western Australian border.

After another packed lunch under a shady tree, we will cross the Western Australian

border 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.

Kimberley Grande Resort
Kununurra view website

Day 12

Fri 30 Jul
B

OPTIONS DAY

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. Included in the

tour will be the option of a number of different tours today. Such as scenic flights to

the Bungle Bungles, day trips to El Questro and helifishing the Kimberley gorges and

coast. Take your pick.

Then back to the hotel to swap notes and compare stories.

Kimberley Grande Resort
Kununurra

Day 13

Sat 31 Jul
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 a visit to 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.

Dinner will be at the sensational Pumphouse restaurant, with an unrivalled

position on the banks of the Kununurra Diversion dam. The Pumphouse produces

internationally renowned food, with a culinary philosophy that focuses very strongly

on the fresh local produce of the Kimberley region.

Kimberley Grande Resort
Kununurra

Day 14

Sun 1 Aug
B L D

We fly to Broome this morning. After a quick lunch at an iconic Broome eating spot,

we head to the heart of Chinatown for a fascinating 2 hour Pearl Luggers tour which

gives an insight to Broome’s unique heritage of a hazardous industry which drew

people from all over the world to risk their lives in the pursuit of the riches beneath

the azure waters of Broome.

Later we will freshen up at our hotel before a short tour of Broome including the

wharf, the Japanese cemetery, Gantheaume Point and sunset drinks on the sand of

Cable Beach.

Airnorth TL332 10.50-12.15

Day 15

Mon 2 Aug
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.

Some free time in the afternoon before our farewell dinner as we watch the sun set

over Cable Beach.

Oaks Broome
Broome

Day 16

Tue 3 Aug
B

Time to explore historic downtown Broome featuring Chinatown, and, of course,

time for an investment in a Kimberley pearl.

Better still, stay an extra day or two or extend your adventure to the Horizontal

waterfalls and the 1000 island archipelago