Journeys for Women

Heart of Kakadu

Departing 05 August 2022

A Journey Woven in Time

Join us on this all inclusive journey to the Northern Territory to connect with country and learn the ancient art of weaving with indigenous female elders. We will discover a place that is pure, authentic and undisturbed by crowds and, beneath the huge territory sky, we will be guided in the traditional art of weaving by the women of the Manilikarr Clan.

From your tented lodge, in a remote and restricted area of Kakadu, we will learn the skills of collecting pandanus and preparing the fibres for dyeing, before weaving our very own masterpiece. And in between our weaving workshops we will swim in cool rock pools (crocs permitting!), walk through wetlands and discover hidden creeks, waterfalls and view Aboriginal art that is seldom seen. We will cruise the scenically spectacular East Alligator River, wander beneath the sandstone cliffs of Arnhem Land, tour Injalak Arts – the non-profit Aboriginal owned social enterprise, and we will end each day witnessing spectacular sunsets, with a glass of wine in hand, before delicious dinners beneath a star studded territory sky.

This ten day journey delves into Dreamtime, offers a rare insight into traditional indigenous art & provides the opportunity to discover the Tiwi Islands in the Arafura Sea and the delights of Darwin – from the thriving waterfront and hidden treasures of the city to the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets where fire twirlers, musicians and street performers will entertain.

Be humbled by extraordinarily beautiful landscapes and enjoy a meaningful travel experience as we connect with Australian Indigenous culture. You will return home infinitely richer for having spent time with likeminded ladies and wonderful weaving women.

Due to Bininj cultural restrictions this exclusive departure is only open to women.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers please note that the content may contain images and names of people who have passed.


You will love

  • Kakadu & Arnhem Land adventure
  • Indigenous weaving workshop
  • Tiwi Islands visit
  • Iconic landscapes
  • An array of activities
  • Cultural immersion
  • All inclusive & rare opportunity
  • Small group departure



If you have never travelled on one of Australia’s most iconic rail journeys this is your chance!  The Outback Spirit Northbound adventure departs Adelaide on Wednesday 03 August and arrives in Darwin on Friday 05 August – Day One of our Into the Heart of Kakadu journey.  For details on this exceptional pre-tour add on please click here.


Darwin is world famous for its fabulous food, colourful outdoor markets and a diverse range of activities – and we will have plenty of time to enjoy them during our time in the Territory’s tropical capital!

On arrival we will be met and privately transferred to The Vibe Hotel on the famous Darwin Waterfront.  Those arriving throughout the day are at leisure until your fellow travellers pull in on The Ghan this evening.  A welcome cocktail or coffee will be enjoyed before retiring for the evening in prepaaration for a fabulous week ahead!

Accommodation :  The Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront


Today we will attend the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) a prestigious event that is one of the most significant festivals showcasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts in the world. There is a range of artistic styles, mediums and products on display including: paintings on canvas, bark paintings, works on paper including limited edition prints, sculpture, didgeridoos, fibre art and cultural regalia. The diversity of Indigenous art at the DAAF is remarkable!

The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair boasts a program of artist workshops, spectacular traditional dance performances, film, fashion and more. You will have the opportunity to meet both emerging and established artists from more than 75 communities across Australia – a memorable experience engaging with the oldest continuous living culture in the world!

Lunch today is to your own account as there are several food outlets for you to choose what tickles your tastebuds.

Return to The Vibe Hotel at your leisure this afternoon to prepare for a hosted dinner this evening at Wharf One – walking distance from our hotel.  In this award-winning NT restaurant we will dine, alfresco, on a wood-fired tapas menu – delighting in small bites such as wood-grilled SA squid with smoked hummus and lemon; wood-fired prawns with radish salad and chilli jam; followed by NT barramundi with miso and pickled daikon (or similar).

Accommodation :  The Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront


After breakfast this morning we depart for one of Australia’s most majestic natural wonderlands, Kakadu National Park, registered as a World Heritage Area. This is a timeless place of extraordinary ecological and biological diversity that supports an astonishing array of endemic plants and animals. The unique tropical environment encompasses eight distinct habitats including deep shaded woodlands, stunningly beautiful rock formations, towering sandstone escarpments, monsoon vine forests, lowland savannas, broad floodplain, deep gorges, tumbling waterfalls and mangrove-covered tidal flats. It has been home to more than 19 traditional-owner clan groups, known as Bininj, for more than 65,000 years and showcases a spectacular collection of Aboriginal rock art.

Our first stop on entering Kakadu National Park is the Bowali (pronounced Bor-Warl-ee)  Visitor Centre west of Jabiru where there are interpretative displays that will provide a deeper understanding of this fascinating landscape the people and the flora and fauna of the region.

We will then delve into the landscape for a first-hand encounter, bound for Hawk Dreaming Wilderness Lodge. This is our home for the next four nights – ‘glamping’ in tents complete with comfortable twin beds, a full bathroom, storage space and a small deck. With canvas and fly screens for walls there is little between us and the tranquil sounds of nature.

Hawk Dreaming Wilderness Lodge is located in an exclusive and restricted area of Kakadu National Park, an extremely special and justifiably renowned part of Kakadu, known as Cannon Hill. The area is abundant in wildlife, especially bird and marine life, and is where Kakadu’s diverse landscape elements come together. Cannon Hill is a registered sacred site with the sandstone outliers around Cannon Hill hosting significant rock art dating back many thousands of years. The lodge is owned and managed by the traditional land owners and features just 12 ensuite safari tents complete with comfortable twin beds with crisp linen, a light, fan, bedside table and a small verandah. We are warmly welcomed into camp by our hosts before travelling to a stunning sandstone escarpment to watch our first spectacular sunset over the wetlands. We will return to camp for a delicious evening meal, accompanied by fine wine, beneath a blanket of stars before retiring to the comfort of our tented safari cabin in preparation for our heart warming cultural immersion in the days ahead.

Accommodation :  Hawk Dreaming Wilderness Lodge


This morning we awake in this ancient and powerful landscape. After breakfast we will meet Anita Nayinggul of the Manilikarr clan, our chief weaving instructor, along with theincredible women who will generously welcome us into their lives, onto their land and who will share with us their knowledge and the weaving skills that have been handed down through generations.

Every day will be negotiated between us, the balanda (white) women, and the Manilikarr women. There is no pre-set itinerary.

Our teaching will be conducted as it has been done for thousands of years in traditional Aboriginal communities. Together we will harvest fibre from the Pandanus tree and strip the plant in preparation for dyeing and weaving. We will forage for sand palm and other natural dyes –Wirdlwirdl (the red bulb of Haemadorum breviculae grass) for brown, Windilk (the seeds of the Haemodorum Coccineum plant, related to Kangaroo Paw) for pink, Mandjurndum (the bright orange roots of the Pognolobus reticulatus bush) for yellow and ashes from burnt bark for red – all the while also learning their traditional culinary (‘bush tucker’) or medicinal purposes.

We will grind and pound the plant matter on rocks as the ladies avidly chatter in their language before boiling the Pandanus leaves in the variety of colours we create. Then together we will sit, we will observe the women’s techniques, learn some local language and we will begin to weave under the watchful, smiling eyes of the women, guided by their experienced, strong hands. And all the while we will share stories, we will listen and we will laugh.


When we are not weaving we explore Kakadu National Park. Crocs permitting (!) we will swim in cool rock pools, enjoy daily Sunset Safaris, walk through wetlands and discover hidden creeks, waterfalls and seldom seen Aboriginal art.

We will enjoy a Guluyambi Cultural Cruise – the acclaimed unique boat cruise that operates on the scenically spectacular East Alligator River which separates Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land. We will take in the wonderful pristine wilderness of this World Heritage landscape and culture as we leisurely cruise up stream. An Aboriginal guide will provide us with an insight into their culture, local mythology, the river’s abundant food chain, traditional uses for many plants and animals as well as bush survival skills. We have the opportunity to disembark on the Arnhem Land side of the river – one of the most remote regions in all of Australia.

We will also tour the Injalak Arts and Crafts Centre – a non-profit Aboriginal owned social enterprise, in Gunbalanya where we can watch the local artists painting and weaving and, if you wish, we can purchase artworks direct from the Art Centre benefiting the artists living in remote communities.

Each night we will sit back, glass of wine in hand, around the fire beneath a star bright territory sky.

Accommodation :  Hawk Dreaming Wilderness Lodge


On our final morning in Kakadu the women will take us to a site for women’s business only. They will call to the spirits and we will bid farewell to the ancestors. Returning to the lodge we will pack up and begin our return journey to Darwin, saying our goodbyes, tinged with sadness but also with gratitude for all our weaving guides have shared; and happy in the knowledge that we have empowered them by attending this weaving workshop so that they can continue to work on their own land and bring up their children and grandchildren in a safe environment, with pride in their own culture.

Arriving in Darwin we have the option to continue straight to The Vibe Hotel or alight and explore the famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets.

Local markets are a big part of Darwin’s personality and the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets provide us with the opportunity to treat ourselves, or find the perfect gift, among stalls of art and craft before enjoying fire twirlers, musicians and street performers and sampling international cuisine from some 60 food stalls – Sri Lankan, Turkish, Greek, Cambodian, Japanese.   Dinner this evening is to your own account whether you elect to stop off at the markets or opt to return to the hotel to take a swim, indulge in the spa and dine in. The choice is yours now that we are ‘back in the big smoke’.

Accommodation :  The Vibe Hotel Darwin


An early start this morning with a 7:30am departure for Cullen Bay Wharf where we will board the ferry bound for the Tiwi Islands.

Upon arrival, it won’t be long before we discover why they call this beautiful place the ‘Island of Smiles’ as the people of the Tiwi Islands provide us with a warm welcome to their remarkable home in the Arafura Sea. We will have the chance to tour the Tiwi Museum and visit one of the oldest and most artistically diverse art centres in Australia – Tiwi by Design.  Here we will learn from the local artists about their very unique style of art, and during this very personal experience, we will create our very own screen-printed Indigenous art textile.  Lunch is included today before we depart mid-afternoon on the 2.5hr return journey from Bathurst Island to Darwin arriving at 6pm.

We will have time to freshen up before walking to the iconic Admiralty House – home to Darwin’s premier dining destinations Char Restaurant & the Darwin Club.   Renowned for its exceptional steaks Char also offers a delicious selection of seafood, sides, spuds and pasta.

Accommodation :  The Vibe Hotel Darwin


Enjoy breakfast within the hotel this morning before we head out on a 2 hour Guided Heritage Walk.

Escorted by an expert guide we will gain a local’s insight, and enjoy an informative commentary, on the WWII bombings, Cyclone Tracy, the Overland Telegraph Line, the 1800s gold rush, Aboriginal culture and ‘Australia’ the movie; before arriving at Snapper Rocks Restaurant – winner of the Best Contemporary Restaurant NT – Gold Plates Award in 2020.

After our walk this morning we will tuck into wild caught snapper, salt and pepper crocodile or Gulf of Carpentaria Bay Lobster!

We will return to The Vibe Hotel for an afternoon siesta before rendezvousing at 4pm for a 15 minute walk to Stones Hill Wharf to board Sea Darwin for a Sunset Cruise. 

Leaving Stokes Hill Wharf with a glass of bubbles in hand, we’ll head out from Kitchener Bay to view the harbour at the best time of the day. We’re headed for Cullen Bay, taking in the sights of the Darwin city seascape, including HMAS Coonawarra & Parliament House, to pick up our dinner – deliciously fresh, local, wild caught fish (accompanied by hot chips of course!) from the award-winning La Beach Restaurant. Dining on board we’ll enjoy the delightfully warm breeze, exquisite tropical sunset and harbour full of intrigue. Depending on the tide we may experience a walk on the Fannie Bay sandbar or dine amongst a pod of frolicking dolphins or dugong.

At the end of our cruise (7:15pm) we will wander back to the Waterfront for a Farewell Cocktail to celebrate our final evening in Darwin and raise a toast to our fabulous week in the Top End!

Accommodation :  The Vibe Hotel Darwin


Your final morning in Darwin is relaxed. An opportunity to enjoy a long lazy breakfast, explore under your own steam or join a quick trip to Aboriginal Bush Traders for some last-minute retail therapy and a bush cuppa.  The group departure transfer to Darwin Airport is at 11:30am when we will bid farewell to newfound friends and begin our journey home.


10 days | Departs Darwin 05 August 2022

10 days
Departs Darwin 05 August 2022

$5,990 per person twin share

$5,990 per person twin share

START: Darwin, NT     |     Finish: Darwin, NT

Destinations: Darwin | Kakadu | Arnhem Land | Kakadu | Darwin

OPTIONAL PRE TOUR EXTENSION:  THE GHAN – 3 days ex Adelaide from A$2,995 per person twin share


  • 5 nights in The Vibe Hotel Darwin including breakfast
  • 4 nights in Hawk Dreaming Wilderness Lodge including all meals
  • Dinners & lunches in Darwin as detailed
  • Transfers to and from, and entry to, The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair
  • Walking Tour of Darwin (2hrs)
  • Visit to Mindil Sunset Markets
  • 3 day Aboriginal Women’s Weaving experience
  • Kakadu National Parks Pass
  • Arnhem Land Permit
  • Guluyambi Cruise on the East Alligator River
  • Mindil Sunset Markets visit
  • Tiwi Islands Day Trip
  • Welcome & Farewell Cocktail in Darwin
  • Wine with group dinners & at Hawk Dreaming Lodge
  • Arrival and departure airport transfers in Darwin and transportation to / from Kakadu National Park
  • Safari shirt & leather luggage tags
  • Hosted by Sarah Hoyland – Director of The Classic Safari Company & Founder of The Secret Women’s Series and Journeys for Women


  • Flights to and from Darwin
  • Meals (2 dinners + 2 lunches) and drinks other than Welcome & Farewell Cocktail & wine with dinner in Kakadu
  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance
  • Optional touring, items of a personal nature & personal purchases
  • Arrival & departure airport transfers for flights other than Qantas to/from Sydney, or arrival on the Ghan, if arrival & departure times are vastly different
  • Gratuities
  • Any item not specified

Recommended flights ex Sydney are :
FRI 05 AUG QF840 Sydney 0830 Darwin 1230
SUN 14 AUG QF841 Darwin 1320 Sydney 1800
For recommended flights from alternate cities please contact us



SPECIAL DINNERS : Dinner at Wharf One Food & Wine, Darwin | Char Restaurant in Admiralty House, Darwin | Welcome to Country and Sunset drinks on arrival in Kakadu National Park | Lunch at Snapper Rocks Restaurant, Darwin | Three course meals beneath the Territory’s star studded sky in Hawk Dreaming Wilderness Camp

EXCURSIONS & ACTIVITIES : Weaving with the daluk (women) of the Bininj people in Kakadu National Park | Heritage Walking Tour of Darwin | Visit to the famous Mindil Sunset Markets | Daily excursions in Kakadu National Park to view ancient rock art, spectacular vistas and birds and wildlife | Visit to the Injalak Arts Centre | Visit to the Bowali Visitor Centre in Jabiru | Guluyambi Cultural Cruise on the East Alligator River | Walk on Arnhem Land | Attendance at the Aboriginal Art Fair in Darwin | Day trip to the Tiwi Islands

Please note that all cultural interactions in Kakadu & Arnhem Land are subject to change due to any unmissable, spur-of-the-moment opportunities that may arise, along with any last-minute directives or restrictions imposed by the traditional owners of the land.




Hosted by...

Sarah Hoyland

Sarah is the Founder of our Journeys for Women collection and co-Director of The Classic Safari Company. Over the years she's travelled to all seven continents, visited over 63 countries, forged global lifelong friendships and honed her haggling skills to perfection! In her own words 'I am happiest when I am lost in a souk, on safari in Africa, travelling with my daughters or when I have the privilege of viewing wild and wonderful places afresh through the eyes of the ladies I host on our womens-only soirees!'.

Firstly thank you for introducing me to the wonderful tours of the Secret Women's Series / Journeys for Women. The trip was superbly organised, the hotels brilliant and activities, informative and spectacular. This definitely won't be the last trip that I take.

Kris I

Sarah was full of fun, life ideas, knowledge and of course madly making it all happen seamlessly for us!! So so appreciate everything you did for us, our survey was just full points on every score because everything to do with the trip was full points on every score!

Jacquie R

OMG – what an unbelievably, amazing experience we all had. All accommodation and staff were fabulous. So blessed and so lucky – still smiling as I think about my adventure!! Thank you Sarah for such an amazing trip. I can’t begin to tell you how fabulous it was and how much of a spectacular time I had.

Dianne B

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