By Georgie
INSPIRED TRAVEL EXPERIENCES

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Representing the Worlds most inspired travel experiences, united by a belief in the singular power of travel to surprise, delight and transform. 

Posts in Wild Bush Luxury - AU
Crackling campfires, crocodiles and kangaroos
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A Wild Bush Luxury experience provides ingredients that are key to the perfect family holiday. Abundant wildlife, spectacular and inspirational landscapes, guides and experiences that broaden horizons both in an environmental and adventure sense and above all a chance to get the children off their iPads and into nature.

Nearly all children have a genuine love of animals and Australia offers an astounding amount of wildlife to satisfy even the smallest of souls. The beautiful Bamurru Plains is a unique safari lodge located just to the west of Kakadu National Park - home to the highest concentration of saltwater crocodiles in the Southern hemisphere. Offering a touch of style to a remote and beautiful wilderness, adults with children from six years old can experience the outback with the luxury of home comforts, including top end food and an incredible wet edge pool looking out to the bush and passing wildlife.

Families will be on the lookout for wildlife from open-top safari vehicles. They'll have the opportunity to head off the beaten path on a quad bike adventure, spot crocodiles on a river cruise departing from their own private pontoon and learn to crack a stock whip to name but a few. For parents, there is still the prospect of gourmet dinners, premium wine in comfort and civilization at the safari lodge.

Wild Bush Luxury believe that connecting children to the bush is fundamental to their education and life experience. Arkaba Conservancy, a one-time sheep farming homestead set in 60,000 acres, is an outback adventure for all to treasure and a great counter distraction to television and computer games. Swag camping under the most brilliant starry sky, dinner by the camp fire, stalking kangaroos at the waterhole with expert guides, fossil hunting in Brachina Gorge, feral food at the local pub, sitting motionless in the hide waiting for the galahs to drink, the awe-inspiring beauty of the outback.....these are all things that the team at Wild Bush Luxury know to provide life-long shared memories. They know this because they are parents too!

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Wild Bush Luxury's guiding philosophy is to provoke, inspire and reconnect travellers to the bush through experiences that are exclusive, natural and above all, quintessentially Australian. They offer a truly unique way for ethically minded travellers to take a self-satisfying life break in order to make a tangible eco-contribution.

Conservation is at the heart of everything Wild Bush do, inspiring clients to embrace the natural world for a more richly rewarding, immersive experience. Arkaba, in South Australia's Ikara-Flinders Ranges is a private wildlife conservancy set in 60,000 acres. Guests can expect astonishing birds-eye views of the natural landscape via a private helicopter, allowing time to take in the raw appeal of the beautiful Australian outback. Landing at an exclusive swag camp for the evening, a full bush dinner awaits, before guests retire for the night to their cozy swag under the stars.

Aside from merely observing native habitat and vegetation, guests can also gain a rare insight into what's involved in conservation, with some hands-on activities. These can include working at close-quarters with nature guides tracking a radio-collared feral cat with a telemetry device, to better understand how to protect native species and the environment through feral control. It's the perfect blend for those wanting to broaden their horizons and return home with the knowledge they have contributed to a better world.

For a truly aspirational experience, Bamurru Plains safari lodge offers exclusive access to 300 square kilometres of private floodplains and savanna woodland on the Mary River, on the edge of the Kakadu National Park. A profusion of bird and wildlife are on the doorstep of this unique bush experience that exudes 'Wild Bush Luxury.' Glide across seemingly endless floodplains on an airboat safari, offering clients an exhilarating glimpse of that rarity - stunning landscapes without the crowds. Amidst a wild tangle of lush foliage and wetlands, it's also a chance to witness an extraordinary plethora of wildlife including saltwater crocodiles, buffalo bulls, kingfishers and magpie geese, highlighting Australia's extraordinarily diverse habitat.

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A place for headspacE
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Known for its love of all things health and fitness related, Australia offers a range of retreats and escapes as varied as its landscape. Snorkeling or scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, stand-up paddle boarding, hiking in the beautiful national parks.... endless natural beauty locations to truly unplug from the fast-paced world we all live in.

Nestled within the Flinders Ranges, the 60,000-acre private Arkaba Conservancy is an opportunity for clients to reconnect with the land, themselves and each other. Each and every stay supports active conservation work, is an immersive outback experience and an opportunity for guests to explore a different cultural approach to their own wellbeing. It's an idyllic way to connect with nature and encourage a digital detox - devices won't beep out here and the regular city soundscape is replaced by the morning sounds of galahs from the Arkaba Creek. With no televisions, telephones or the typical features of a hotel room to distract, the focus is on engaging the senses in one of the most beautiful properties in Australia. 

The Arkaba Walk offers camping in signature swags under the stars for those looking to leave civilization truly behind to experience an authentic wild bush adventure. Bush walks with a private guide, four-wheel drive ridge-top tours, wildlife viewing safaris or mountain biking offer the perfect blend of health-focused experiences. 

Bamurru Plains is an exclusive safari lodge on the edge of Kakadu National Park, set amongst a profusion of birds and wildlife. With only 10 safari-style luxury bungalows set in wilderness, guests who have become slaves to their digital devices slow down, breathe freely and enjoy an off-the-grid experience, all against the beautiful backdrop of the enormous, biodiverse nature reserve.

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A TRIP WITH RUGGED GOOD LOOKS
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Australia is the great outdoors! The adventures here are as vast as its romantic horizons, and much of Australia's captivating spirit is in its breathtaking wilderness and inspiring landscapes. 

Two come together as one at safari-inspired, Bamurru Plains, where a sleep out in the Treetop Hide is the ultimate in togetherness! After a beautiful chef-prepared dinner in the main lodge, adventurous romantics can quietly slip away to the Hide, spotlighting nocturnal wildlife along the way.  Tune into the sounds of the bush; the call of a Barking Owl, the snort of a buffalo and the thud of a wallaby far below the treetop aerie. Slip into a deluxe swag for a night that is impossibly far from the rest of the world and the very epitome of romantic escapes.  

Arkaba Conservancy's Heli-Swag Experience includes a 30 minute flight over the 60,000 acres of Arkaba and the Elder Range; this is some of Australia's most impressive outback country. Landing at an exclusive site, guests enjoy a romantic-fire-side dinner and an overnight under the Milky Way. In the morning, they awake to a hand-warming hot drink, as the ranges are lit up by the sun, followed by a morning wildlife drive back to the Homestead. The Arkaba Conservancy night skies are huge - from here you can literally see the moon, a billion stars and more. It's the perfect place to curl up with a loved one and dream of what might be.

For those that prefer a 'less exposed' approach to romance, Arkaba offer a helicopter sundowner; beginning with a scenic flight over the spectacular Wilpena Pound. Land at a vantage point to enjoy sparkling wine & canapés at the heart of a 360-degree panorama of natural beauty and changing light. Return to the homestead for a delicious dinner.

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RECONNECTING WITH NATURE
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Wild Bush Luxury's natural experiences are exclusive, using food and environment as a clear way to connect guests with the country that sustains them.  

Bamurru's culinary approach combines contemporary Australian cuisine with ingredients native to the surrounding bush; as with all they do at Bamurru, the dining experience aims to inspire and reconnect diners with nature.  Favourite ingredients are those that can be sourced from the bush, Finger lime, Lemon Myrtle and Quandong are all local to the area and extremely versatile in the kitchen. On the menu is anything truly Australian from kangaroo skewers to crispy barramundi with finger lime salsa and Quandong ice-cream.  

'The Hide' has been designed in true Wild Bush Luxury style. An authentic Australian picnic lunch is packed and you are dropped out at the wildlife observation deck overlooking the flood plains with lunch, bird book, binoculars and bottle of premium Aussie vino in hand! 

Pre-dinner canapes are served in the bush, either at a waterhole or out on the floodplain with a classic Top End sunset as background. To follow, expect a three-course dinner, hosted by your field guide. Watch a gourmet chef create his favourite bush spiced duck confit in the open kitchen from your dinner table. 

Arkaba has adopted a 'buy local' principle and the head chef uses the very best of South Australia's produce. Meals are based on contemporary Australian cuisine, with a sprinkling of native favourites. Dining is on the outdoor terrace with the ever-changing light and sounds of the bush all around. A firepit in the corner of the garden provides a great spot to retire to after dinner, with a glass of wine or port. 

Helicopter safari - Explore this ancient landscape by helicopter, swoop down through Brachina and Edeowie Gorges before touching-down on a private mountain plateau for a gourmet picnic lunch. Take in magnificent aerial views to the north of Wilpena Pound, east to the Chace Range, west to the Elder and Red Range and south to Yappala and Yourambulla Ranges. The experience is nothing short of spectacular.  

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THE ARKABA WALK, FLINDERS RANGES
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The Arkaba Walk is redefining the classic Aussie 'bush walk', adding luxury touches to a four-day  hike in the Flinders Ranges. Traversing an ancient landscape and private wildlife conservancy, you'll be immersed in the story of the land.  Framed by the rugged wall of Wilpena Pound and the red-hued ridges of the Elder Range, Arkaba is one of Australia's most accessible outback experiences. The Arkaba Walk (maximum 10 guests) is inclusive of two night's camping in deluxe swags on one of the signature star beds and one night in the 1850s Arkaba Homestead.  

As you arrive hot and dusty into camp, you are offered chilled hand towels; as the night cools, warm "bush showers" come with an unmatched view of the surrounding landscape and you'll find a hot water bottle in your swag. Every dinner is a three-course, chef-prepared feast, served at tables spread with white linen, glassware and bottles of South Australian wines, under lanterns hung in the trees.  Remarkably, sleeping turns out to be the highlight of the trip for many and your bed is a 'swag' - the bedding of choice for generations of Australian pioneers, a canvas envelope that is comfortable and waterproof, and also protects from the elements. Sleeping under the stars wrapped up in a cosy swag surrounded by raw, open landscape ....well you could hardly be more Australian.

Early in the morning on day three you don't have to leave your swag to enjoy the sunrise. Could there be a more peaceful way to greet the day than this? - sipping English Breakfast tea (brought to you by a guide), still in your PJs, while the sun's first rays shine on the red-rock face of the Elder Range, seemingly just beyond the foot of your swag.  

The final night is spent in the comfort of historic Arkaba homestead where another Australian life and story is shared by all.  

The Arkaba Walk runs from mid-March to mid-October each year.  Departures every Thursday (and every Friday during March, April, August and September).  

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John COOPER
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John Cooper, arguably one of Australia's best guides, is the manager of Bamurru Plains in the Top End of Australia near Kakadu. He has an underlying passion for the North of Australia and shares pioneering stories, wildlife knowledge and experiences of Australia’s last frontiers. Having grown up in Central Queensland, he spent as much time as he could in the outdoors and with a family history in the cattle trade, he was drawn northwards to the vast untouched remoteness of the Northern Territory. The wildlife, landscapes, extremes in weather, along with the challenges of managing a Luxury Lodge drive him daily to showcase this amazing property.

Bamurru Plains is Australia’s version of the Okavango Delta. The range of guided experiences on offer includes skimming across the floodplains by airboat, fishing, spotting crocs from the river boat and viewing the agile wallaby and buffalo on open-top safaris. John’s tours are, for want of a better word, “raw.” He guides in a landscape that changes daily with a large array of wildlife in their natural environment and you cannot script a tour when faced with these two things. To John this is the real Australia and the environment has so many stories to tell. His favourite animal is the Saltwater Crocodile…he says “200 million years they have been around so they must be doing something right!” Asked how people can follow him on social media John replies, “They cannot, my only connection is with the land. Up until recently I thought a tweet was a noise that most people thought a bird made!

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Bamurru's new Kingfisher Suite

The Kingfisher Suite reflects Bamurru's core philosophy of blending the accommodation as closely as possible with the surrounding bush. However, it is also designed to allow guests a superior feeling of seclusion while retaining a spectacular outlook on the Swim Creek floodplain. The sense of scale in this floodplain setting is accentuated by the size of the suite and Bamurru's trademark ceiling-to-floor mesh screens allow guests an intimate exposure to the wildlife and wilderness outside. 

With 81m2 of space in the bedroom alone, the suite features a king size bed, lounge area and (if travelling as a family) space to accommodate a family of 5 in comfort - deluxe swags are provided for children to sleep out on the enclosed suite verandah. The proximity and sounds of the bush at night provide a sense of excitement and yet guests are securely tucked up behind the screened walls of the suite. 

For honeymooners after a little romance, the Kingfisher Suite offers in-room dining, with a camp table set up for an intimate candlelit dinner against the backdrop of the nocturnal bush orchestra! 

The bathroom features twin basins and showers, set within a décor of rustic chic timber and corrugated walls utterly in tune with the environment and pastoral heritage of the area. For maximum exposure (and only the local Agile Wallabies as company) the suite also offers a shower with full floor to ceiling views across the floodplain and surrounding paperbark forests. 

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Arkaba - Finalist in the National Geographic World Legacy Awards
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The World Legacy Awards showcase the leading travel and tourism companies, organizations and destinations driving the sustainable tourism transformation of the travel industry. The finalists are recognised for conserving the natural world, supporting the preservation of nature, restoring natural habitat and protecting rare and endangered species, whether on land or in the ocean.

The Wild Bush Luxury team at Arkaba are doing just that! They have systematically restored a 60,000 acre sheep station into a thriving wildlife conservancy; sharing their scientific monitoring of the area’s biodiversity with guests, conservation groups and community members. Arkaba is living proof that ecotourism can be a vehicle for nature conservation and rural economic growth.

Costas Christ, Chairman of National Geographic World Legacy Awards, said, “Sustainable tourism is the foundation for the future of the travel industry, and those destinations and companies that understand this today will be the global leaders of tomorrow. Tourism is based on selling culture and nature — the very things sustainable tourism practices work to protect. Have you ever heard someone come back from a vacation and say, ‘I just had a great holiday hiking in a dead rain forest and then staying on a beach filled with trash?’

The 15 finalists are all about protecting the places travellers love to visit and benefiting the local people who live there. They are working towards a future when all tourism will be sustainable. The winners will be announced at a ceremony on 10 March 2016 at ITB Berlin. Finalists and winners will also be featured in National Geographic Traveller magazine and other National Geographic media. We've got everything crossed!

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The Hide at Bamurru Plains
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Raised 6 metres above the ground in the tree canopy overlooking the Mary River floodplain, The Hide is the ultimate eyrie from which birdlife and other wildlife can be observed undisturbed in their natural habitat.

The 24m2 screened platform allows photographic or ornithological groups as well as individuals a unique perspective on this fragile environment. Guests will have a 360º view of the floodplain, canopy and background woodland with adjustable flaps to allow cameras and binoculars to be focussed on the surrounding wildlife, birdlife and floodplains. A Nikon Prostaff Fieldscope has been fitted for maximum visibility.

With a picnic hamper, a selection of premium wines, a bird book, binoculars and a two way radio to stay in touch, spend a few hours enjoying a romantic lunch and afternoon siesta in The Hide - the sounds and sights of the floodplain will provide background 'music'.

Feeling adventurous - perhaps spend a night in The Hide! After enjoying a beautiful chef-prepared three course dinner in the main lodge, head out to The Hide, spotlighting nocturnal floodplain wildlife on your way. Tune your senses to the sounds of the bush at night, listen for the call of a Barking Owl or the snort of a buffalo before slipping into your deluxe swag for a night in this private treehouse away from civilisation and the worries of the world. A 7:30am pick-up the next day has you back at the main lodge in-time for breakfast.

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