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Bamurru Plains Lodge

Every minute a new color composition at the sunset at the Mary River / © Photo: Georg Berg

Every minute a new color composition at the sunset at the Mary River / © Photo: Georg Berg

Outback luxury in the wild north of Australia

It is only a 25-minute flight from Darwin by Cessna 210 into the outback to Mary River Airstrip, from where Bamurru Plains Lodge is quickly accessible by all-terrain vehicle. The landscape at the Top End of Australia is comparable to the African Okavango Delta. There is hardly any other place in the world that has a larger population of wildlife on vast expanses of water. Except that in Australia, crocodiles and water buffalo take center stage instead of zebras and lions.

A flock of feathered wigeon takes to the skies / © Photo: Georg Berg

Travelers quickly perceive themselves as part of the environment here. The list of prominent guests from the worlds of politics, business and the arts who have spent precious Tasge here is long. A maximum of 20 guests can be seated at meals at the long table in the main building of the lodge. Guests can retreat to ten bungalow suites scattered around the grounds.

Ten suites and bungalows are located at a sufficient distance from each other, but all the closer to nature / © Photo: Georg Berg

The private accommodations, which are spread over the extensive area of the lodge, stand on stilts, are discreetly furnished and offer direct contact with nature. Far away from home and work, neither the Internet nor mobile phones are missed after a short time. The senses open up to new stimuli.

Unobstructed panoramic view from the bedroom. The furnishings could not be more appropriate / © Photo: Georg Berg

In the trees above the roof, cockatoos start chattering early in the morning and a gecko moves nimbly over the insect screen that makes up the three walls of the bedroom. It’s quite possible to wake up in the middle of a herd of buffalo. Yet privacy is maintained at all times, because the large bed is not visible from the outside.

On the wall, you can see the reason why no mosquito has been a nuisance during the night: Satisfied, a gecko wanders over the fly screen, which is invisible from the outside and makes up the entire wall / © Photo: Georg Berg
The sun rises and the cockatoos in the trees wake up / © Photo: Georg Berg
Idyll with kangaroo: herd of buffaloes in front of the bedroom / © Photo: Georg Berg

Part of the unpretentious concept is also the restriction to the essentials. Hot water in the shower is just as much a matter of course as the well-stocked bar, which is open to guests at all times. The guest quickly notices that it is not a restriction of comfort to use (solar) energy carefully in such a remote location. And also otherwise the burden on the environment is kept to a minimum. One looks in vain for a television, minibar or a kettle in the bungalows. In the main house there is a lobby with bar, library and the water in the swimming pool on the terrace seems to reach up to the buffalo herds.

The good-humored chef is called Madé, comes from Bali and has been the head chef at Bamuru Plains Lodge for years, a good reason for many of the well-heeled guests to come here. Some have already booked him for their own festivities / © Photo: Georg Berg

Every evening, all the guests sit together at the big table, share their experiences of the day and are surprised by what local delicacies the chef from Bali has prepared for them in the open kitchen. Madé combines typical Australian products into sophisticated recipes and adds the culinary kick to the inspiring day’s experiences at the dinner table.

A dedicated team takes care of the guests

You think you’ve seen the waiters and waitresses before, and really: during the day, one or the other has accompanied the various ventures, all of which are offered at no additional cost. During the day the employees change between different activities as guides, boat drivers or craftsmen.

The buffalo farm, on whose grounds Bamurru Plains Lodge is located, extends over 300 square kilometers and can be experienced well on quads / © Photo: Georg Berg

Justin is our companion on a quad excursion over the extensive area of the buffalo ranch. As a Rammstein fan, he is happy to see German tourists. He is, like many Australians, an enthusiastic surfer. Because of the crocodiles, however, he cannot indulge in this hobby in the Northern Territory. The employees of Bamurru Plains Lodge work every day for two weeks and then have a week off. He regularly uses this free time for trips to the best surf beaches in Bali or to the Gold Coast in New South Wales.

An olive python slithers through the grass in front of the buffaloes. These snakes are non-poisonous and can grow up to four meters long / © Photo: Georg Berg

Committed to the well-being of guests

Because the number of guests at Bamurru Plains is limited, there is no need for a fixed entertainment program. In the evening, guests spontaneously discuss with the team what they want to do the next day. But one thing is for sure. Accompanying persons are available at any time, who are familiar with the area, the vehicles but also with the dangers that have to be overcome. Buffalo, crocodiles and snakes are always good for a surprise. But since the existence of the lodge it has happened only once that someone was bitten by a snake. Hollywood actor Nicolas Cage, against explicit advice, returned to his bungalow without a flashlight and overlooked a poisonous snake on the way. With the quickly summoned airplane he could be flown out to Darwin and well cared for in the hospital.

A propeller boat is ideal for getting around in swamps / © Photo: Georg Berg

Excursion into the swamps

We decided to take a tour with the airboat. The extensive swamp areas around the Swim River are best reached with such a propeller boat. Sam, our 19-year-old pilot, finds his way perfectly in the seemingly impenetrable wilderness.

Excitedly a split-footed goose takes off / © Photo: Georg Berg
Water buffalo can be recognized from a distance by the cattle egrets sitting on them / © Photo: Georg Berg
At slow speed the boat glides silently through the forest. The eucalyptus trees, so typical for Australia, have adapted to the annually recurring floods during the rainy season / © Photo: Georg Berg
The peace is deceptive, although they are not immediately recognizable even from close up; saltwater crocodiles can attack at lightning speed / © Photo: Georg Berg

Sam stops his propeller boat a few hundred meters away at a lotus plant, whose stem he breaks off. A viscous liquid flows out and quickly hardens in the air. The thread becomes solid within a very short time and can be woven into very strong cords. The aboriginals, for example, have also taken advantage of these properties by using such threads like dental floss.

Sam grabs a lotus leaf, breaks through the stem and pulls a thread from the plant sap / © Photo: Georg Berg
Thanks to the lotus effect named after these plants, the leaves can also be used as drinking vessels / © Photo: Georg Berg
The Australian leaf chicken is also called Jesus bird or lotus bird because it can easily walk on water plants due to its long hind toes / © Photo: Georg Berg

Morning walk

The next day, on foot and not protected by a vehicle, we get to feel the Australian wilderness again from a completely different side. How should one behave when a buffalo cow wants to protectively defend her offspring? “By no means run away,” says Sam, “because no human is a match for the buffalo’s speed.”

When encountering water buffalo, mutual respect helps. It’s important that the animals don’t feel cornered / © Photo: Georg Berg
Defensive water buffalo family / © Photo: Georg Berg
The heraldic animals of Australia – kangaroos are curious – but their aggressiveness should not be underestimated / © Photo: Georg Berg

Bush safari in an off-road vehicle with Emma

All guides have their own talents. Emma Waters is currently writing a book about environmental management and you can see her great interest in the practical details. Again and again she leaves the track, finds small rare plants and animals, whose peculiarities she can explain

On the bush safari, Emma pays attention to many small things. Here she shows small fruits from which strychnine, a poison and doping agent, can be extracted / © Photo: Georg Berg
The non-poisonous St. Andrew’s cross spider is so named because it waits for prey in its web with eight legs arranged in pairs like a St. Andrew’s cross / © Photo: Georg Berg
At the end of the safari, canapes and cool drinks are served on the loading area of the off-road vehicle and celebrated as a hearty sundowner / © Photo: Georg Berg
Every minute a new color composition during the sunset at the Mary River / © Photo: Georg Berg

Avoiding the superfluous shows effect

Bumurru Plains Lodge gives the discerning guest the most immediate experience far from the hustle and bustle of the world. Every guest can, without having to work as hard as in those days, follow the procedures that were necessary at the time when the first settlers established themselves here, .

No golden water taps but security far away from the metropolises embodies every detail of the Bamurru Plains Lodge / © Photo: Georg Berg
Furnishings from the time of the pioneers go together with the noble cleaning lotion a connection that provokes and at the same time expands the horizon of experience / © Photo: Georg Berg

In Bamurru Plains, one feels transported to a world that couldn’t be further from our densely populated Germany, yet can be quickly reached by modern transportation. So after the relaxing days, which seem to have flown by, it is time to say goodbye. On the bush runway the small airplane has already landed, which brings us back to Darwin.

Not only the luggage is weighed. All passengers are assigned their seats in the Cessna 210 according to the weight they bring to the scales. The better the weight is distributed, the more stable the aircraft will be in the air / © Photo: Georg Berg

Travel advice: Australia for European tourists

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The research trip was supported by the Northern Territory Tourism Office

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