Sleeping under a mosquito net during your time on the Northern Territory's Jatbula Hike is an indulgence of a different kind.
The third morning of World Expeditions’ six-day Jatbula Trail hike is like no other. Campers are roused from sleep by the soft chirping of rainbow lorikeets in the grevilleas. A cuppa is enjoyed on the banks of a gently flowing creek as the sunrise is reflected on the water. “Then it’s a slow, leisurely meander, passing spear grass glistening in the morning light, bright orange flowering eucalypts and soft cream melaleucas,” says guide Timmi Sanders of World Expeditions, who’s spent six years relishing the marvels along the trail.
Arriving at the Amphitheatre, a towering sandstone cliff face, trekkers are greeted with ancient rock art created by the Jawoyn and Dagoman peoples. “It’s a privilege to witness some of the oldest rock art in the world, knowing that you’re one of only a handful of people who get to view it each year,” says Sanders.
This is just one epic day on Jatbula Trail, which starts at Nitmiluk Gorge and ends at Leliyn (Edith Falls). Over 60 kilometres – with a daily average of about 10 kilometres – you’ll carry your own pack but there are plenty of stops to rest, refuel and be still in the rugged terrain. At night, sleeping mats draped with mosquito nets allow you to see the star-filled sky as you drift off to sleep.
The idea, explains Sanders, is to have no greater concern each day than moving forward, choosing which tree canopy to sit under or finding a billabong to dive into. Sometimes, the simplicity of nature is the greatest luxury of all.
Image credit: Peter Eve.