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Lifestyle : Northern Territory 2012
1HERSA1 U002 All fares quoted are per person, twin share, ex Darwin. All fares include Australian GST. All tours operated by Outback Spirit Tours Pty Ltd. ACN 006 972 130. Licensed Travel Agent 2TA4575. EM_120238_SH Specialists in escorted outback travel Arnhem Land Premium Small Group Adventures 9 days $6,495 Departs May to Sep 2012 NEW FOR 2012! Explore the wonders of Arnhem Land, Kakadu & the Cobourg Peninsula on this unique adventure from Darwin. Spend 3 nights at Mount Borradaile, a unique wilderness retreat nestled against the Arnhem Land escarpment. Visit ancient and rarely seen Aboriginal rock art galleries with expert guides from Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris. Also enjoy billabong cruises, Barramundi fishing and other activities (all included). Travel up the Cobourg Peninsula and spend 2 nights at Seven Spirit Bay Eco Wilderness Resort (recently taken over by new owners). Enjoy a boat cruise to the historic Victoria Settlement at Port Essington, a fascinating part of Australian history which dates back to 1838. Also stay at the new Wildman Wilderness Lodge and cruise the Mary River wetlands. Return scenic flight to Darwin included. ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ www.outbackspirittours.com.au 2 SUNDAY, MARCH 11, 2012 THE SUN-HERALD northern territory special report For those with adventurous taste Sue Williams discovers a sophisticated outback food scene. IN THE wildest, least populated and most richly diverse landscape of all our states and territories there are many adventures to be had, and in food, perhaps most of all. From glorious sunsets over Uluru, cruising by the ochre cliffs of Katherine Gorge or strolling through the teeming night markets beachside in Darwin – of all the sights and experiences that you might plan in the Northern Territory, dining out is perhaps the most surprising. Find yourself enjoying intimate fine dining on a sand dune with the perfect view of Uluru, or grazing on bush tucker in the McDonald Ranges with an Aboriginal chef or sampling what is said to be some of the best laksa in Australia at one of Darwin’s food markets. And underneath the night skies almost anywhere in the Territory, even fish and chips can become a million- star meal. ULURU Drink French champagne by a firepit as the sun sets in a blaze of red over Uluru, then sit at a white cloth-covered table for an intimate four-course dinner on the crest of one of the closest dunes to the rock. Called Tali Wiru – Anangu for ‘‘beautiful dune’’ – this fine-dining experience is being launched by the Ayers Rock Resort in April, with the menu including wattleseed-rubbed kangaroo carpaccio and native thyme and garlic grilled wagyu fillet, with each course matched with Australian wines while a didgeridoo plays. Over desserts, such as dark chocolate and chilli mousse, a local storyteller shares creation tales. For a more informal outdoor dining event, there’s also the favourite Sounds of Silence, grazing on the barbecue buffet of barramundi, kangaroo, crocodile and bush salads, set at shared tables on another dunetop. Also from the Ayers Rock Resort, there’s a bush tucker tour, where an Aboriginal guide walks you through country, talking about how local people survived in such a hostile environment on bush plants and animals. He’ll show visitors a selection of the foods, offer tastes, grind native seeds and introduce a real flavour of old desert life. ayersrockresort.com.au. ALICE SPRINGS Join Aboriginal tour operator Bob Taylor driving diners out to a bush setting in the Western McDonnell Ranges and then cooking in a bush camp oven over mulga wood. Bob talks about the foods and cooking styles of Aboriginal people, serving up a delicious three-course meal, followed by an animal-spotlighting wander around the bush. rttoursaustralia.com.au. In the city, for top-notch dining, Hanuman can’t be beaten, a restaurant offering a heady mix of Thai, Indian and Nonya cuisine. Its dishes include roasted duck simmered in a rich coconut and red curry sauce, with Thai basil, kaffir lime leaf, lychee and fresh pineapple, and butter chicken in a silky cashew and tomato sauce. For more informal fare, there’s the outback-themed Bojangles Saloon, complete with its hearty steak and barramundi meals, stockman regalia and even a live python behind the counter. Other Call 1800 OUTBACK (1800 688 222) For your comprehensive brochure & Cobourg Peninsula Darwin Ubirr Gunbalanya (Oenpelli) Murgenella Kakadu National Park Garig Gunak Barlu National Park East Alligator River South Alligator River NT Mount Borradaile Port Essington Black Point Jabiru Cobourg Peninsula ARNHEM LAND Mary River Seven Spirit Bay Wildman Wilderness Lodge 2 2 3 1 Outback Spirit exclusive use of Mount Borradaile for 3 nights Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris ‘Mount Borradaile’ is an exclusively leased and incredibly remote 700 sq km reserve nestled against the dramatic Arnhem Land escarpment. This registered Aboriginal sacred site has been described as a national treasure trove depicting ancient human occupation. Valleys, overhangs and caves have been occupied for over 50,000 years. It’s a landscape of rugged ranges fringed by idyllic billabongs, flood plains, paper bark swamps and monsoonal rainforests. During your stay you will visit a number of rock art galleries and enjoy several stunning boat cruises. Discover Mount Borradaile in open-air safari vehicles with local guides. ✓✓ Small group adventures – maximum 26 passengers ✓✓ All meals, including breakfasts, lunches and dinners for the duration of the tour ✓✓ 5-star all terrain Mercedes Benz coach travel ✓✓ Fully escorted by professional 2 person crew, the best guides in the business ✓✓ Excellent hotel and safari lodge accommodation (all with ensuite facilities) ✓✓ All attraction, entry and permit fees ✓✓ All activities at the exclusive Mount Borradaile ✓✓ Comprehensive Explorer Pack with useful travel items Outstanding value inclusions THE SUN-HERALD SUNDAY, MARCH 11, 2012 3 northern territory special report The menu includes wattleseed-rubbed kangaroo carpaccio. Diversity . . . clockwise from left, Mindil Beach markets; Hanuman pandam chicken; barramundi burger; beetroot bush tucker style; Tali Wiru; bush tucker tour. Cover: Tali Wiru. Photos: Lonely Planet; Corbis favourites include the Overlanders Steak House, with its kangaroo, buffalo, camel and crocodile steaks, and Thailicious, an elegant restaurant housed on a deck above the main street. Just outside Alice Springs is the locals’ best-kept secret: Alice Vietnamese Restaurant, in a flower-filled indoor and outdoor setting, with its own market garden growing the organic produce used in the cooking. Set up by Vietnamese refugee Dung Le and her family, who came to Alice after spending 11 days at sea, Dung Le says she did it in response to locals who kept asking her if she could cook for them. “I did it to say thank you for their hospitality,” she says. DARWIN The NT’s capital city has been dubbed “the triumph of Australia’s TopEnd”byLonely Planet and it’s a lively, culturally diverse city that has everything from upmarket restaurants to delicious – and incredibly cheap – offerings from market stalls. Hanuman has an operation here, too, with the other top spot in town the award-winning Evoo at Skycity casino, re-opening in early April after renovations, with its seven- course degustation speciality. Serving Australian and Mediterranean dishes, with a twist on Eastern flavours, it is particularly known for its fresh seafood. Cullen Bay Marina is a stunning setting for boardwalk breakfasts, lunch or dinner at any one of its numerous restaurants. Similarly, Stokes Hill Wharf has eateries along its deck, with fish and chips a staple. At the nearby Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, on Thursday and Sunday evenings from the end of April to October, stalls sell food from all corners of the globe. On Saturday mornings, locals queue at the Parap Village Market for what many regard as the most delicious laksa in town. KATHERINE Bush raconteur Geoff Mark holds a stockman’s camp tucker night on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays every week outdoors in the grounds of the Katherine Museum. With ‘‘Marksie’’ entertaining with traditional Aussie humour and yarns, feast on roasted lamb, beef and kangaroo cooked in native spices, coal-fired vegetables, savoury dampers and gem scones. marksiescamptucker.com.au . Getting there and getting around Ǡ Catch The Ghan Travelling either weekly or bi-weekly (depending on the season) between Darwin and Adelaide, this is one of the great rail adventures in Australia. Named after the Afghan cameleers who once plied the 2979-kilometre route, there’s a one-day stop-off in Alice Springs for a look around town, a variety of tours and even sunset camel rides, helicopter flights and hot air ballooning. There’s also a break in Katherine for a cruise around the magnificent gorge. greatsouthernrail.com.au. Ǡ DIY drive Take your own car and head off on one of the best drives of your life. Most of the highways around the Northern Territory are sealed and in good condition, with the Stuart Highway the backbone all the way up the centre. ntlis.nt.gov.au/road report. Ǡ Go trekking How about going for a long, long walk along one of the country’s most beloved tracks, like the Larapinta, with its magnificent views across the MacDonnell Ranges? Choose a signposted individual section yourself or join a group like World Expeditions to ‘‘slackpack’’ with meals and tents and transfers all provided. worldexpeditions.com. Ǡ Catch the bus Greyhound Australia runs buses straight through the centre and out to Uluru. It also has special packages combining accommodation and side trips. greyhound.com.au. ǠRenta4WDPickupahire4WD and do some outback adventure touring of your own, with a choice of great 4WD routes, including the Tanami Track, the Savannah Way, the Simpson Desert crossing and the Alice to Winton track. avis.com.au; budget.com.au.
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