Sea Darwin, a Northern Territory tourism operator that received the NT Brolga Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism, has dedicated the prize money from the award to telling the story of the flatback turtles of Bare Sand Island.
New interpretive signs have been erected that recount the history of Bare Sand Island and let visitors into the world of the flatback turtles that lay their eggs in the sand dunes of the remote island. NT Department of Land and Resource Management marine scientist Rachel Groom welcomed the initiative which she said provided the public with accessible information on turtles. “Turtles are a group of species vulnerable to many impacts globally and this demonstrates a local commitment to providing a sustainable tourism opportunity.”
Chief Minister and Tourism Minister Adam Giles said he was pleased that Sea Darwin had reinvested the Brolga prize money into Bare Sand Island, and encouraged other tourism operators and businesses to nominate for this year’s Brolga Awards. “The Brolgas are the Territory’s premier tourism awards and nominations for this year’s awards are open now until Friday 14 August,” he said.
If you want to catch a glimpse of the Bare Sand Island turtles at the centre of it all, you’ll need to be quick: the Turtle Tracks experience is only available April-September around the full moon or new moon lunar cycle. The eight hour odyssey will take you from Darwin past Charles Point Lighthouse to Bare Sand Island. If you’re lucky, you may even witness baby turtles hatching from their leathery eggs. It’s the perfect opportunity witness these shy and reclusive creatures in their own native habitat.
Of course, that’s just one of the many nature-based adventures you can get up to in the Darwin area. If your sea legs aren’t too seasoned, perhaps you’d prefer a different sort of cruising: down the open road, surrounded by the striking landscapes of Northern Territory. The state has no shortage of natural attractions, many of which are world renowned for their diversity and breathtaking beauty.
Take for example Kakadu National Park. Whether you’re keen to discover the plethora of birdlife (over 280 species) that inhabits the park, or you want to see for yourself the 20,000 year old Aboriginal rock art, Kakadu has something for everyone. Maybe you just want somewhere to unwind and enjoy pristine swimming holes and gorgeous nature treks. Litchfield National Park is the place to go. Closer to Darwin than Kakadu, Litchfield is less well known but easier to access.
For those who’d rather interact with nature in a more competitive fashion, the Daly River to the west of Darwin and the waters around Katherine to the south are home to the barramundi - highly prized by fishermen for their fighting spirit and superior flavour. Plus, the Northern Territory government recently released a fishing app, NT Fishing Mate, that will keep you up to date about local rules and regulations, leaving you free to concentrate on snagging a few big ones.
There’s no need to restrict yourself to just one choice though. Picking up a Darwin motorhome rental will give you the flexibility to stay in national park campgrounds and holiday parks without having to worry about pre-booking motels or packing up when you’re ready to move on. Drive from Kakadu to Litchfield and then down to the Daly River if it takes your fancy - the whole of the Northern Territory is your oyster.
The dedication to local eco-tourism displayed by Sea Darwin is just a small taste of how NT locals care for and protect the biodiversity of the lands around Darwin City - why not escape to the beautifully preserved Northern Territory for the Australian holiday of a lifetime?