Traveller Cassandra E shares her recent winter escape to the Top End. Thanks Cass !
I recently set off on an adventure in the Top End of Australia. I thought about hiring a car and staying in hotels and motels along the way. However car hire in the Northern Territory does not come with unlimited kilometres and I wanted to explore Katherine and Kakadu as well as Darwin itself. So I then thought about Campervan hire. I had never hired a Campervan before and I wondered if I would like it or not. I took my chances and was certainly not disappointed. It was surely the best way to explore the Top End. I hired the Maui Ultima 2 Berth Campervan.
The Maui Ultima is a perfect vehicle for two adults wanting to explore the country in 5 star comfort and style. The Maui Ultima is your home on wheels, with full kitchen, toilet and shower, king size bed and even climate control in the living area. The bed can be kept as two singles or made into a double. I thought keeping the beds as two singles would not allow much room to sleep but I was proven wrong. Maui have considered every type of traveller when designing this vehicle. The vehicle is perfect for a couple or even two friends travelling together.
When we arrived at the depot on the first day to collect our vehicle the process was very quick. We signed the rental agreement and were then given a DVD to watch. The DVD explained the features of the vehicle and how to set up the campervan. We were then shown the vehicle by the lovely staff member and went over the condition report. It was then time to set off on an adventure.
The vehicle was easier to drive then I thought. This was my biggest concern, were we actually going to be able to drive the campervan. I was pleasantly surprised, the vehicle was easy to drive and we had no problems parking the van. The driver and passenger seats were very comfortable and made for a pleasant trip.
Our first stop was Katherine Gorge. We went on a cruise down the amazing Katherine Gorge. I would definitely recommend it.
That night we arrived at the Caravan Park and proceeded to our allocated site. We parked the van and started to set ourselves up for the night. We plugged into to mains power, set up the camper table and chairs we hired and got ourselves ready to get dinner sorted. The Maui Ultima has a gas stove inside the vehicle and also a pull out BBQ on the side of the vehicle. We opted to cook outside in the beautiful fresh air. Once dinner was done all we had to do was wash up and turn the gas off. We turned the air conditioned on and then settled in to watch a DVD on the campervan’s TV.
Preparing the van the next morning to set off to Kakadu was easy. All we had to do was unplug from mains power, empty the waste water, and make sure loose items were stored properly in the van. We were all ready to go in about 20 minutes.
The town of Katherine is well worth a visit. There is definitely more to see than just Katherine Gorge.
Katherine is steeped in history, from its beginnings as an Overland Telegraph Station to today being the central gateway for tourists exploring Central Australia and the Top End. The Katherine Museum is a great place to explore and learn about the history of this significant town.
The second stop for our trip was Kakadu National Park. This was the most memorable part of my trip. We did a Yellow Water Billabong Cruise at Sunrise. The cruise was truly unique; it was amazing to see the wetlands come to life with an abundance of birdlife and even some Saltwater Crocodiles.
After the cruise we packed up are campervan and headed for Jabiru. Along the way to Jabiru we took a short diversion to Nourlangie Rock. Nourlangie Rock is a great stop along the way as it is accessible by sealed road and there are parking spaces for campervans. There are a few walks you can do from there and there are also a few Aboriginal Rock Art paintings. From the top of the lookout you can see a great view of Kakadu National Park. It was a perfect stop off for keen photographers.
From the Jabiru airport you can take a scenic flight over Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land. You will see more on a scenic flight over Kakadu then you will if you were just driving. It is absolutely breath taking to see the vast landscape from the air, a must do!
It was time to head back to Darwin but our trip was not finished yet. There are a few great stops along the way that are accessible by a 2WD Campervan. Mamukala Wetlands and Windows on the Wetlands are a perfect place to get out and stretch your legs. There are definitely plenty of notable places to stop along the way that are accessible via sealed roads.
That night we arrived in Darwin and it was time to set up the Campervan again. By this time we were experts at setting up the campervan and it took us less than 20 minutes to get it all set up and ready to begin cooking our dinner on the fabulous put out BBQ.
Sadly the next morning it was time to return the Maui Ultima. We had such a wonderful time travelling around the Top End in style. The Campervan return process was very quick. We parked the campervan in the return bay and proceeded to the office. The staff member asked us if we had any damage to report, to which the answer was of course no. We then handed in our keys and the staff member very nicely called a Taxi for us. The return process took all of about 15 minutes.
There is no better way to explore all that this country has to offer, than in a campervan. You have the freedom to relax and unwind and explore the country at leisure. The Maui Ultima certainly lived up to my expectations and I would hire it again in a heartbeat.
If you would like to learn more about Northern Territory Camper options visit our Darwin Campervan hire page for priving and vehicle options.