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Pungalina Station, NT

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The remote Gulf area in the Northern Territory stretches east of Katherine to the Gulf of Carpentaria, a shallow sea between Australia and Papua New Guinea.

It is home to four main indigenous language groups and one of Australia's best fishing destinations. It also has several enormous cattle stations, including Pungalina Station.

The remote outback eco-wilderness safari camp covers more than 203,000 hectares of beautiful wilderness. There are sandstone escarpments, rugged gorges, crystal-clear rivers, stromatolite formations and 1500 million-year-old limestone caves.

Plant and animal wildlife is diverse and fascinating. There are waterholes and crocodile habitats and on a barramundi fishing tour of the coast, you will see pythons and masses of birdlife. So far, 112 species have been sighted and listed, including brolgas, jabiru, egrets, owls and lotus birds.

Visitors to Pungalina enjoy a total eco-wilderness experience, all in the one location. The camp is in a shady and lush grassed area adjacent to a natural underground thermal spring near the Calvert River.

The site provides safe and healthy water and the springs are perfect for swimming. Accommodation is in spacious, insect-screened individual or twin-share tents. Each tent has its own permanent lighting and beds are very comfortable.

The dining tent is next to a bubbling spring but many meals are served outside in the shade. A central marquee houses a kitchen and food storage area, next to an outside cooking area. Meals consist of locally grown fruit and vegetables, quality local meat and fresh fish. Sometimes bush tucker is served.

There is plenty of hot water and an ablutions block provides mains-type pressure for refreshing showers, hand basins and flush toilets.

There are lots of activities to enjoy. The Calvert River flows through the property, travelling north-east to the coast. Fishing for barramundi at the Bluff Water Hole on the river is an absolute must. The Karns Creek that flows into the Calvert has excellent fishing spots, including Crocodile Hole and the Lost World. There is also fishing from boats or from the river banks with fresh and saltwater.angling options.

Fishing is at its peak when the water is warm, so aim for late April to early June and again from late September to early November.

A canoe trip along the Calvert River will also present lots of flora and fauna as you glide past magnificent ochre cliffs. A longer trip takes you through shallow and easy rapids from the Bluff Water Hole to Kirkby Waters. For something more adventurous, there is a day trip from the Calvert Escarpment, paddling and dragging canoes upstream to the Surprise Creek entrance. That involves canoeing for five kilometres and walking for 1.5 kilometres.

Pungalina has many limestone caves and interesting geological areas. You can climb into 15-metre limestone sink holes, thick with black and white butterflies.

Adventurers will be delighted by the cavernous limestone caves. These include massive 2.5m stalactite and stalagmite formations. They are very hot and a swim is always welcome after exploring the caves.

Guide Paul Brooker is an explorer at heart. He loves caving and has discovered never-seen-before cave networks and hopes there are more waiting to be found.

Pungalina is an 800-kilometre drive from Mt Isa, but if you don't fancy driving that distance, Kirkhope Aviation has charter flights from Darwin, Mt Isa, Cairns and Townsville.

Location

The Northern Territory Gulf area

Cost

Pungalina Station is $535 per person twin-share for one day if you make your own way there. It's $515 a day for two days and $485 a day for three.

Kirkhope Aviation has seven-day air tour charters. Seven-day air tour charters from Melbourne with four days at Pungalina are $4995 per person. They include flight, meals, accommodation, tours, guides and activities. They use comfortable all-weather, twin-engine aircraft which take eight passengers.

Prices correct at 13.03.2008.

For further information:

Pungalina Station
Tennant Creek
Northern Territory 0861
Ph/Fax: (03) 9882-4236
Mobile: 0418 379-263
www.pungalinasafaris.com.au
akirk@ozemail.com.au

Kirkehope Aviation
8 Kasouka Road
Camberwell 3124
Ph/Fax: (03) 9882 4236
Mobile: 0418 379 263
www.kirkhopeaviation.com.au
akirk@ozemail.com.au
k.siler@bigpond.com

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