Rustic Luxury in the Australian Outback
An Indigenous word for Magpie Goose, Bammaru has also lent itself to the luxury property Bammaru Plains. Established in 2009 just outside of Darwin, it was the first estate by Wild Bush Luxury and includes a 300-square-metre buffalo station on the western boundary of Kakadu National Park. The resort is nestled in a striking landscape of low-lying coastal floodplains and wetlands, mangroves and Savannah woodlands. A nine-room Wild Bush Luxury safari camp, it borrows from the luxury camp concept that dots Africa, though guests are guaranteed a uniquely Australian experience through the cuisine (which includes kangaroo and crocodile meat) and a distinctly Aussie ‘down to earth’ friendliness of service.
Most guests arrive by light aircraft to the property’s airstrip, where they are met by a guide for the immediately captivating 15-minute jeep drive back to camp, during which they will immediately cross paths with hundreds of birds types, buffalo, wallabies and all variety of flora, all pointed out by the guide.
The camp itself blends harmoniously in with the local environment. The tents are luxuriously appointed and spacious, while also securely screened to protect from insects and ‘mozzies’. With no TVs or internet connectivity, you're able to switch-off and become entirely present in the Australian bush. A chorus of frogs, barking owls and the odd dingo will lull you to sleep each night and as day breaks, you’ll awake to the melody of the Magpie Geese and the bounding of agile Wallabies — all just outside your room.
You can also relax at the main lodge, where you’ll discover an infinity pool and shaded areas to read and unwind in the fresh breeze. Canapés prepared by a the resident chef are served at sunset with sundowner drinks, again allowing you to indulge in life’s finer luxuries. Gourmet meals are served at long wooden tables in the main lodge, where shared conversation with other guests take place.
Aside from pure relaxation, the camp offers many unique seasonal activities to take in. Unlike most camps, Bammaru Plains remains open through the wet season each year from January through March when the rains cause the rivers to bulge and break their banks, allowing the water (and crocodiles!) to spread across the plains. Water lilies carpet the plains in colours reminiscent of a Monet painting and there is a sudden eruption of life in the area as the animals and birds begin their annual breeding cycles.
This is perhaps the best time of year to awake before sunrise for an airboat ride through the long grasses, which skim over the wetlands, offering the best way to see the abundant birdlife. Maybe you'll get lucky and spot a ‘croc’ while you stop for tea and cake surrounded by the magical water lilies.
Other activities include cruises on the Sampan River, wildlife drives, bush walking and even barramundi fishing. On guided walks you will catch glimpses of buffalo, horses, dingos, wallabies and the occasional deadly snake!
One may also opt to visit by chopper nearby Kakadu National Park. Over 2,000 million years old and now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the park is Australia’s largest national park and contains over 50,000 years of Indigenous occupation recorded here in the form of rock engravings, unveiling a depth of history and culture less often seen in contemporary Australia.
Whether a wildlife lover or not, the Wild Bush Luxury experience at Bammaru Plains will remain etched in your mind forever as you take away a deeper understanding not just of Australian landscapes and culture but also of one of the world’s few untouched areas of extreme magic and natural beauty.
Text / Hilary Lancaster
Images / Frederic Ducout