An almost-royal itinerary in the NT

The premium suite of Bamurru Plains, where the almost royals were rumoured to stay, costs a cool $2,700 a night. Wildlife roam freely in the area.

The premium suite of Bamurru Plains, where the almost royals were rumoured to stay, costs a cool $2,700 a night. Wildlife roam freely in the area.

This article was sponsored by Tourism NT

Some were surprised when the enigmatic socialite-turn-much-more-famous-socialite and sister of the Duchess of Cambridge (what’s the appropriate title? Almost-royal?) Pippa Middleton landed in Sydney after boarding a flight many speculated was only destined for French Polynesia.

Pippa and her beau James Matherson were probably envisaging lazy afternoons spent at Bronte Beach on a $1,000 beach towel from Goop, and balmy evenings sipping a kangaroo-infused martini on a rooftop bar overlooking the Opera House and ten thousand paparazzi. But late May is no summer delight in New South Wales with Sydney clocking lows of eight degrees.

No wonder the pair landed in the much warmer Top End soon after, disembarking a commercial plane and boarding a private charter bound for their accommodation.

As Chief Minister Michael Gunner said: “I can understand why Pippa and James chose the Top End dry season for their honeymoon; the Territory’s open spaces and 60,000 years of continuous culture — it’s the perfect antidote to a London ‘summer’.”

And to an Australian winter, too. 

It’s rumoured Pippa and James chose to stay at luxury wild bush resort Bamurru Plains, located in the Kakadu National Park with nothing but local wildlife largely unaware of their almost-fame for company. 

The pair left the cold behind in Sydney and arrived in the warmth of Darwin soon after.

The pair left the cold behind in Sydney and arrived in the warmth of Darwin soon after.

Bamurru Plains has just 10 safari-style bungalows, with the focus of the resort very much on everything but the resort – the sprawling floodplains that surround the bungalows ripe with wildlife and flora, all visible through a mesh wall of three sides of the bungalows. Picture waking to the call of the magpie geese as the golden light of dawn lights up the floodplain.

It’d be hardly a surprising choice for the 33-year-old adventure-seeking socialite, who has expressed an enjoyment for camping – or should we say ‘glamping’ – in her 2012 book Celebrate, where she reveals her almost-royal secrets to ‘hosting a successful party with recipes, tips and detailed instructions on how to throw a memorable event’.

“Whatever form it takes, camping is earthy, soul enriching and character building, and there can be few such satisfying moments as having your tent pitched and the smoke rising from your campfire as the golden sun sets on the horizon.” 

The almost-royals would have enjoyed one of the many guided experiences on offer, including skimming across the floodplains by airboat, fishing, spotting crocodiles from the river boat and viewing the agile wallaby and buffalo on open-top safaris. 

Pippa and James were spotted by a savvy fellow cruiser. Image source: NT News

Pippa and James were spotted by a savvy fellow cruiser. Image source: NT News

Pippa and James also enjoyed a leisurely cruise on Kakadu’s East Alligator river on a Guluyambi Cultural Cruise. The intimate tour is hosted by an indigenous tour guide who provides detail about the rich, ancient history of indigenous Australians in the area as the humid and lively landscape goes by. 

Bush survival skills and traditional uses for plants are just some of the insights learnt as you cruise up the river to the soundtrack of the birds. The East Alligator river is teeming with an abundant food chain as part of the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. The tour disembarks on the Arnhem Land side of the river for a display of traditional hunting and gathering implements.

Pippa follows in the royal footsteps of sister Kate and Prince William, who visited Uluru during a tour of the Red Centre in April 2014. The royals took part in a guided walk around Uluru and watched a traditional indigenous dance performance at the National Park’s cultural centre.

This article was sponsored by Tourism NT

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