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Northern Territory- Annaburoo Lodge and Billabong

On the Arnhem Highway between Darwin and Jabiru directly across the road from the Bark Hut which is an industrial refuelling station buzzing with road trains and coaches, is Annaburroo Lodge and Billabong. The two businesses could be worlds apart- not just separated by a length of highway. Crossing onto a red dirt road- (completely passable in a small two wheel drive car) you enter into a “Low Stress Zone” as is proclaimed on a truck tire mounted on a tree.

As your giggle is nearly dying out you will gasp at the serene beauty of the retreat ahead- Wallabies, Great Herons, water lilies, all greet you. Granted- this place has a little feel of a 1960’s hippie hang out- but hey- at least the hippies knew how to pick a spot to relax.

The billabong is Croc free, lovely, cool, and fresh. There are Canoes available to take out for a leisurely paddle. BUT! The best part of this off the beaten path place is the bathroom facilities. They were hand built with attention to detail NEVER found in remote bush locations. Clean toilets, bamboo weaving on the walls, and rain simulating shower heads. Day use is at least a 2 dollar donation (put in more if you feel like you have really enjoyed yourself) camping $7.50pp or $20 per family, there are also self catering bunkhouses for 6-12 people, and 3 adorable Thai style bamboo air conditioned huts ($65 per night).

The Manager Cliff is a gem! A true Territorian, he will welcome you with a smile and an offer of a cool drink. His reception- indeed his living room- is an open air deck with a massive round table that is always big enough to fit a few more. If you want to hear a few great stories and pass a lazy afternoon- grab a 6 pack of Tooheys New and go sit with Cliff. He has self proclaimed his place paradise- – I think I completely agree.

He has fashioned a sprinkler system on the tin roof that falls into rock pools at the edge of the deck to make it sound like a light rain shower. Trully a magical find. Be considerate of the delicate nature of the billabong and respectful of your use of their facilites. It is good to have a booking for the bungalows or group bunk houses.

gindaWe sat under the “rain”, drank beer, chatted with all of the folks as they came and went, played with the local wildlife, said ‘Struth’ and ‘bloody oath,’ and finally finished up the evening with a stunning dvd enhanced performance by The Man in Black. Do yourself a favor- slow waaaay down and go get lost for awhile at Annaburroo Lodge. 08 8978 8971 ph/fx