POST-BIENNIAL – DARWIN, NORTHERN TERRITORIES, AUSTRALIA

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Date/Time
Date(s) - 06/21/2016 - 06/26/2016
All Day

Location
Darwin, Northern Territories, Australia

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POST-BIENNIAL – DARWIN, NORTHERN TERRITORIES, AUSTRALIA

Dates: Monday June 20, 2016 – Saturday June 252016

Cost$1,500 per person in double room and $1,925 for a single room.
All reservations must by made by February 29, 2016, or until all places have been sold, which ever occurs first.

This tour has been designed to see a wide range of palms in habitat in the Northern Territory of Australia, along with several of the must-see cultural and wildlife attractions unique to this part of the world. We will visit a diverse set of palm habitats, from dense rainforest-like settings with palms such as Ptychosperma and Carpenteria to dramatic desert-like settings that contain unique and colorful palms like Livistona victoriae and L. inermis. One common thread among all of these habitats is that they are largely pristine, containing significant numbers of mature palms with few if any invasive weed species present. In addition, we will have a chance to see a wide range of stunning outback scenery, including waterfalls, cliffs, and far-reaching vistas. In particular, the views we will experience during a four-hour boat tour of the Nitmiluk Gorge will be once-in-a-lifetime. The tour also includes a cruise in the Yellow Waters Wetland area of Kakadu National Park, which is world famous for it bird and wildlife viewing. Another highlight will be the aboriginal rock art at Nourlangie Rock. This tour includes several hiking options, most of which are 1-3 km in length (0.5 – 1.5 miles). However, nearly all of the palms and habitats can be experienced with little or no walking.

Day 0 – Sunday June 19, 2016
This is a travel day from the biennial in Singapore. Most flights depart from Singapore in the late evening and arrive in Darwin early the following morning, with the best option likely to be the Jetstar Asia flight departing Singapore at 11:05PM and arriving in Darwin at 5:15AM. The itinerary is based on taking an overnight flight, and it therefore does not include a hotel in Darwin for this evening. If you plan to arrive in Darwin on this day, then you will need to book a hotel room at your own cost. This hotel will need to be coordinated with the tour operator to arrange for pickup the following morning.

Day 1 – Monday June 20, 2016 (L)*
Attendees will be picked up at the airport following an overnight flight from Singapore (attendees arriving the previous day will be picked up at their hotel). We will then depart on the 45-minute drive to the Territory Wildlife Park. This park will provide an introduction to the woodland, wetland, and monsoon rainforest habitats that exist in the Northern Territory, including the plants and animals that are typical to the area. We will return to Darwin for an included lunch, followed by an early afternoon check in to the Travelodge Mirambeena Resort Darwin. Those who wish to rest following the overnight flight may do so. Alternatively, attendees will be free to explore Darwin and the George Brown Botanical Garden (a 20 minute walk one-way from the hotel). This is an old garden with many mature palms, including a trio of Lodoicea maldivica. Attendees will be on their own for dinner on this day, and there is a wide range of restaurants within walking distance of the hotel.

Day 2 – Tuesday June 21, 2016 
We will have an early departure for the short drive to Holmes Jungle Nature Park, where we will explore the dense stands of Livistona benthamii. The next stop, after a 90-minute drive, will be Wangi Falls inside Litchfield National Park where we will view large stands of Carpenteria acuminata and Livistona humilis. Attendees will have enough time to hike to the top of the falls to obtain amazing views over the park and an eye-level perspective on the crowns of mature Carpenterias. Lunch will be provided.A 45-minute drive will then take us to the magnetic termite mounds in Litchfield National Park, where we can observe Livistona humilis in a surreal setting among the large mounds. The day will conclude with a scenic three-hour drive to Katherine through the outback. Dinner will be provided in Katherine prior to retiring for the night in the IBIS Hotel Katherine.

Day 3 – Wednesday June 22, 2016 (BLD)
We will have breakfast before an early departure from the hotel for the two-hour drive to the escarpment walk in Gregory National Park. This three km trail weaves up to the base of red sandstone cliffs through a forest of icy-blue-colored Livistona victoriae. The contrast of color and overall scenery is truly amazing. After exploring the area we will have a box lunch before returning to Katherine and then venturing onward to the Mataranka thermal pool in Elsey National Park. The warm waters are popular for swimming or relaxing, and provide a scenic foreground to the stands of Livistona mariae var. rigida. After enjoying the pools we’ll make the one-hour return drive to Katherine, where dinner will again be provided before a second night in the IBIS Hotel Katherine.

Day 4 – Thursday June 23, 2016 
After breakfast we will check out of the IBIS Hotel and make the short drive to the Nitmiluk Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park. We will first take a four-hour boat cruise of the gorge (including lunch) and we will then have some time to explore more of the park via a wide range of hiking trails. The areas surrounding the gorge contain large numbers of Livistona inermis, an elegant palm with blue leaves and bright red petioles. After departing the park we will take the drive over to and through Kakadu National Park, where we will have a scenic view over the outback with a chance to see Livistona humilis. We will then continue with a scenic two-hour drive through Kakadu before arriving at the Mercure Crocodile Kakadu Hotel for the evening. Dinner will be provided.

Day 5 – Friday June 24, 2016 
After an early breakfast we’ll check out of the Mercure for the 45-minute drive to Yellow Waters where we’ll take a two-hour wetlands cruise tour in this bird and wildlife hotspot. We will then make the short drive to Nourlangie Rock in Kakadu National Park. The loop trail will provide access to Livistona inermis, along with numerous aboriginal rock art sites. Lunch will be included. The next stop, after a 45-minute drive, will be the East Arm of the West Alligator River in Kakadu National Park, where attendees will be able to see large stands of Hydriastele ramsayi, a truly spectacular palm that is almost unknown in cultivation. A two-hour drive will then take us to Howard Springs Nature Park where we will take a short rainforest walk to see Livistona benthamiiCarpenteria acuminata, and Ptychosperma bleeseri.We will then depart for the Travelodge Mirambeena Resort Darwin for the night. After checking in, attendees will be free to have dinner on their own at any of the range of restaurants within walking distance.

Day 6 – Saturday June 25, 2016 
Departure day. Breakfast will be provided, along with shuttle service to the hotel. Attendees can also opt to spend more time in Northern Australia on their own, for example to view the amazing wildlife in Kakadu National Park.

THE TOUR PRICE INCLUDES:

  • All ground transportation from Darwin Airport
  • All overnight accommodations
  • All fees for activities and park entries
  • Meals as indicated

THE TOUR PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Alcoholic beverages, juices and carbonated drinks
  • Airfare to and from Darwin
  • Tips and Gratuities
  • Optional activities / items not mentioned
  • Meals except as indicated

*B – Breakfast included; L = Lunch included; D = Dinner included.