After lockdowns put a pin in our plans in 2021, we kicked off our inaugural Great Top End Escape which can only be described as spectacular.
Over 8-days we journeyed through the Northern Territory on a unique bike riding tour packed with bucket list experiences.
Riders were welcomed to the Top End with a beautiful sunset dinner at Darwin Sailing Club and a welcome to country delivered by Mary Williams on behalf of the Traditional Owners of the Darwin region.
Our first ride day was an easy Sunday pedal around Darwin to acclimatise to the gorgeous sunshine and 30+ degree weather while stopping to explore the Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Military Museum and Nightcliff foreshore. At night, the famous Mindel Markets were bustling with plenty of culinary delights to discover before finding a spot on the beach to watch the sunset.
Day two we departed the city for Litchfield National Park where the days route was highlighted by waterfalls and swimming holes including Wangi Falls, Buley Rockhole and Florence Falls.
A highlight for many was Nitmiluk Gorge, one of Northern Territory’s most famous landmarks. Here, we had the opportunity to learn about the cultural and spiritual significance of the gorge for its Traditional Owners, the Jawoyn and Dagomen people, during a special cultural tour and boat cruise through the gorge.
Rest day was just that for some, but the fun didn’t stop for others. Some continued the adventure on a 4WD cultural tour through Arnham Land while others meandered through rainforest and ancient sandstone pillars on the self-guided Bardeddjilidji Walk.
Day seven began with the truly unforgettable Yellow Water River Cruise. For two-hours we were immersed in nature as we travelled through the glorious billabong and floodplains learning about the local flora and fauna thriving in the area for kilometers.
The breathtaking sunset at Ubirr was a sight to behold and experience many will remember for a lifetime. It was a great opportunity for all to pause and reflect while the red sun disappeared over the horizon of the vast floodplain before us. The following day would see us return to Darwin after a quick dip in the tranquil waters of Berry Springs.
The event was hit by great sadness when we suddenly lost our new friend, James (Jimmy) Hayter. We are warmed knowing Jimmy was having a wonderful time with dear friends, meeting new people, exploring the NT by bike and enjoying the odd cocktail or two. Our thoughts remain with his friends and family and we thank all of you for your support and kindness during a difficult time.
We’d like to give a huge thank you to everyone who played a part in making this such a special experience. An extra shout out to our amazing mechanic Troy from Pedal Power Garage and the ever-reliable truck drivers Dwayne and Chris.
Finally, from the Top End team – David, Caitlin, Mark, Jaimie, Louis, Sarah, Troy, Bec, Crossy, Sam and Craig – thank you to all the riders for an adventure we’ll never forget.
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