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Published on December 5th, 2012 | by john.weir


What’s up in the Northern Territory ?


Ancient Living Culture comes to life at Cicada Lodge -New for 2013 

The NorthernTerritory’s newest luxury property, Cicada Lodge, is due to open its doors on the 1st March 2013 to coincide with the start of the new season. Currently under construction, the lodge will be situated in Nitmiluk National Park on a ridge overlooking the Katherine River, 300km south of Darwin and 32km from Katherine town centre.


The stylish 18 room-lodge will boast panoramic views of the vast rock country with its abundance of native flora and wildlife, a vista that guests will be able to enjoy from their own private balcony. The central reception and welcome area will have an open deck pool looking out over the Katherine River. The Lodge’s design emphasises and facilitates natural airflow, while blending well with its surrounds, and the panoramic windows help create the visual effect of inviting the outside in. Cicada Lodge will even celebrate the park’s monsoonal climate – seasonal tropical rains ensure the Lodge has access to an unlimited supply of fresh water and the giant 250mm “raindrop” showerheads in every bathroom have been specifically designed to pay tribute to the giant tropical monsoon raindrops.


Furnishings cleverly harness the local Jawoyn People’s colours of rich ochres and earthy browns, the orange hues of sunrise and sunset and the muted greens of the Australian bush. Every room will host original indigenous paintings.


Cicada Lodge is a joint venture between the local Jawoyn people and the Indigenous Business Australia (IBA). Prices start from £210 (AU$322.50) per person per night on a bed and breakfast basis including a courtesy bar and canapés.  Package rates including room, breakfast, gorge dinner cruise and courtesy bar and canapés cost from £305 (AU$467.50) per person per night. www.cicadalodge.com


Revitalisation of Ayers Rock Resort

Premium Ayers Rock Resort hotel, Sails in the Desert, has undergone a complete refreshment with a new contemporary, indigenous design throughout the public areas and within the 228 guest rooms.


A range of new dining options has also been launched. The main restaurant, Ilkari, establishes its dining philosophy in the natural flavours of the finest produce available along with a sense of theatre provided at live cooking stations. The new premier dining experience, Mayu, serves up a truly innovative and modern a la carte menu, while the lobby bar, Walpa, offers a more relaxed setting. Poolside bar, Pira, offers a sun-kissed setting for casual dining or relaxed cocktails with a menu of tapas style dishes and classic Australian staples.  www.ayersrockresort.com.au.



New tour showcases the cream of the Top End

A new six night self-drive ‘Best of the Top End’ tour will show off the very best of the Territory, staying at the cream of the Top End’s accommodation whilst taking in all the sights from Darwin to Katherine.


The package includes two nights in one of Darwin’s most unique properties, Mandalay Luxury Stay, two nights exploring Kakadu with Wildman Wilderness Lodge and two nights in thenewly opened Cicada Lodge on Nitmiluk Gorge.


Mandalay Luxury Stay is Darwin’s most exclusive accommodation offering, providing guests with the ultimate level of self contained luxury and location in the state’s vibrant capital. The property features three king bedrooms, a lavish lounge, separate dining room and a fully equipped kitchen. Wildman Wilderness Lodge offers an extraordinary wetlands safari experience, situated in the Mary River Wetlands area half way between Darwin and Kakadu National Park. Cicada Lodge is the new premier accommodation property operated by the Jawoyn Association, set overlooking the Katherine River and centrally positioned below the escarpment and entrance to the Gorge system.


The tour costs from £1,132 (AU$2,042) per person including accommodation on a self-catering basis at Mandalay Luxury Stay, half board at Wildman Wilderness Lodge and Cicada Lodge, and is valid for travel  1 April 2013 30 November 2013. www.cicadalodge.com.au


Campfire yarns for free

Guests at Ayers Rock Resort can now enjoy an iconic Outback experience for free, as part of their popular FREE Guest Activities programme. The new Campfire Yarns experience is offered nightly within the Resort campground. Travellers will have an opportunity to hear and share stories and music whilst toasting marshmallows and drinking billy tea under the stars, the perfect end to the day’s adventures. This is offered nightly between 8-9pm. http://www.ayersrockresort.com.au/activities/




Cage of Death…feeding time at Australia’s only crocodile dive

Visitors who choose to take the plunge and come face to face with the crocs will now have the opportunity to see them feed as part of the enhanced Cage of Death experience at Crocosaurus Cove.


The Cage of Death, one of a kind in Australia, offers plucky visitors the opportunity to dive within the protection of a Perspex cage, into the depths of a giant salties’ lair and come face to face with the crocs. Every dive will now include 15 minutes in the enclosure with one of these massive reptiles, while they are fed by the experienced reptile handlers from outside the enclosure. The cage has recently been transformed to a cylindrical design, making for better viewing.


The experience operates 10 times a day and participants can either go it alone or bring a friend.  From £72  (AU$110) per person. http://www.crocosauruscove.com/


New Defence of Darwin Memorial Wall

A new Memorial Wall is being developed at the Defence of Darwin Experience to pay homage to soldiers who passed through the Top End in WWII en route from Western Australia to Queensland.


The Defence of Darwin Experience opened in February 2012 to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Bombing
of Darwin, providing an opportunity for visitors to glean an insight into the impact the war had on Darwin and its inhabitants, both civilian and military.  During WWII many civilians and service personnel fought, died, or were dispossessed, and the interactive exhibition acknowledges the sacrifice of those who lost their lives, and the courage of all who served in the defence of the Northern Territory. Admission to the Defence of Darwin Experience includes entrance to the Darwin Military Museum Precinct and costs AU$14 per person.


The Memorial Wall is scheduled to open in February 2013. www.defenceofdarwin.nt.gov.au




The Tiwi Islands Annual Football Art Sale, 17th March 2013

A must for AussieRules Football lovers, but also a fantastic chance to view and buy some Tiwi Island artwork, this quirky annual event gives visitors the rare opportunity to explore the Tiwi Islands, located north of Darwin, without a permit.


The Tiwi Islands Art Sale coincides each year with the Tiwi Islands Football Grand Final. This massive family gathering provides a rare opportunity for people to visit Bathurst Island and buy Tiwi art and crafts at community prices. The sale begins at 9am concluding around 1pm when the Football Grand Final kicks off, one of the Territory’s most eagerly anticipated sporting events. Many players elect to play barefoot and the game is fast and skilful.

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