Home' Get Up and Go : Autumn 2014 Contents TRAVEL FACTS
r Getting there
Cicada Lodge is 300km south of
Darwin and 32km from Katherine.
Pick ups can be arranged.
e Staying There
Cicada Lodge is the only luxury
property in the Top End to open
A two night luxury escape costs
$715.50 per person twin share. It
includes champagne on arrival;
complimentary drinks and tapas
each evening at sunset on the
pool deck; cooked breakfast
each morning; and a three course
dinner and wine each evening.
There’s free WiFi and broadband
and a tour desk service.
Tel: 1800 242 232 or visit
For Northern Territory tourism
details visit [@] travelnt.com
Moonlight is shining on the
still waters of the Northern
Territory’s Katherine River
in Nitmiluk Gorge as candles flicker in
the breeze and we dine on barramundi
and freshwater prawns.
In the dark, my thoughts turn
to stories told earlier today by the
Jawoyn people, who are custodians of
Nitmiluk National Park.
Under shady trees we learnt how
Nabilil, an important figure of the
Jawoyn Creation Time, named the
gorge area Nitmiluk, which means
“As Nabilil travels through the
country he comes to the gorge where
he hears the song of the cicada crying
‘nit nit nit’ and so the name was
given,” says one of the Jawoyn people.
All is quiet in the gorge now except
for the sound of cicadas and the story
becomes all the more poignant.
Nitmiluk Gorge is one of those
places where the landscape takes
centre stage and nothing prepares you
for the grandeur of the red sandstone
cliffs that date back 23 million years.
Thirteen deep gorges stretch over
16km, creating an extraordinary mix
of ancient escarpments, waterways,
limestone caves, thermal springs and
Cicada Lodge, a new luxury eco-
friendly retreat nestled in the bush
high above the waterway, is a great
base to explore the area and enjoy the
good things of life.
Guests are welcomed with a glass
of French bubbles and shown around
the stylish lodge that showcases the
colourful indigenous artwork of John
Dewar and others.
The chic 18 airconditioned, elevated
rooms are spacious with private
balconies, and Bvlgari bathroom
products, free in-house movies and
room service is offered. From my
room I count six wallabies watching
me as intently as I am watching them. I
later discover they are called left-hand
wallabies due to their habit of waving
their front paws in circular motions.
The restaurant serves all meals and
overlooks the pool where guests cool
off after a busy day of sightseeing.
Complimentary sunset drinks and
canapes are served at dusk providing
a chance to mingle and chat about the
Dining is a treat at Cicada Lodge
chef Kenneth Clapham
incorporates native Australian foods
in his contemporary menu.
He mixes and matches traditional
herbs and fruits with local produce
from the region and the tastes
Northern Territory banana prawns
with avocado and preserved lemon
salad, barramundi with fresh spinach
and prawns in paperbark and a finale
of rosewater-scented milk pudding
with stewed rhubarb and Chantilly
cream are highlights.
Cicada Lodge offers helicopter
flights to see the gorges in all their
glory and to remote locations where
guests can swim in crystal-clear waters
or visit remote rock art sites with an
Some of the rock art sites have been
carbon dated to 40,000 years old.
Back at the gorge, there’s a choice
of a two-hour cruise to the first two
gorges, a four-hour cruise to the first
three or an eight-hour gorge safari
that explores up to the fifth gorge.
Our sunset cruise visits the first
two gorges and involves an easy walk
over the rocks before returning for a
gourmet dinner of crocodile bisque,
local barramundi with lemon myrtle,
salads and ginger and coconut creme
Throughout the cruise our eyes
are peeled for freshwater crocodiles,
known as freshies, which are very
timid and rarely bite unless provoked,
unlike their saltwater cousins.
Our guide spots a small freshie that
doesn’t hang around for long and we
also see turtles and water monitors.
As for those cicadas, back at the
lodge they are in full chorus and like
the story of Nabilil, they provide
lasting memories of a visit to this
magical landscape. •
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