A few days on a houseboat on the Corroboree Billabong is possibly the highlight of our 2021 Topend Tour.
Corroboree Billabong is a waterway system that is part of the Mary River Wetlands. It is located about 90 minutes from Darwin along the Arnhem Hwy, on the way to Kakadu.
Kakadu offers spectacular cruises on a billabong inside Kakadu, namely the Yellow Water Cruises, which are very popular. But having done this previously, we thought the Corroboree Billabong was a great alternative to this offering a longer stay on the water (overnight rather than a couple of hours), and a slightly different landscape. We booked for two nights, which offered us plenty of relaxing time.
There are a few different size boats that you can choose from, including a day trip only BBQ boat, but we wanted the full experience and chose a 6-berth two-story boat, which fit us comfortably. The two bunks downstairs fold up to make more space during the day, and the double bed was on the top floor, with a small balcony to relax on. There is a small kitchen and bathroom with a shower ticking all the amenities boxes. All you need to bring is all your food.
Initially, I wasn’t sure about driving a boat, but there is no licence required to captain the vessel and steer the boat. Even the kids could do it with ease, and they loved being in charge of the boat. There isn’t much to run into, and it is either forwards or backwards, so it was all very safe!
The instructions were; you won’t get lost, it’s really simple, just follow the river turn left, and keep going. Given I am not great with directions, I wasn’t sold on the fact that we wouldn’t get lost, however, again even the kids could read the map and direct us, it was that easy! We took our time and slowly cruised up the river, taking in the spectacular scenery, wildlife and views. It was more pleasant going slowly as the boat noise can be quite loud at full speed.
The wildlife viewing was really special, we saw so many birds, even multiple sightings of the Jabiru, part of the distinctive NT tourism logo There were plenty of saltwater crocs in and out of the water, even a buffalo. You don’t need to worry, the boat has very safe railings to protect you from the dangerous wildlife, however, there was also some wildlife already on the boat that we couldn’t avoid, including spiders, frogs, and the dreaded mosquitos!
The best part of this experience was waking to the tranquil mornings which were beautiful and so peaceful, evenings were also highly impressive, as long as you guard yourself against the mozzie attack at dusk. Provided on board was a full zipped flyscreen around the outdoor area, a battery-operated thermacell repellent, along with bug spray for the final defence, then we felt well protected.
The hardest decision we had to make was deciding where to park the boat for the overnight stay. There are so many spots to choose from, obviously, but weighing up the view, on the bend or straight, and the sunrise, was such a difficult decision!!
There are so many options for things to do while relaxing, just take a pick of your fave hobbies. We had the weekend paper to read, a pack of cards to play, a fishing line to try our hand, and the kids favourite of reading a book, or multiple books! We prepared food, cooked on the onboard BBQ, and had happy hour with a drink each evening too. You just needed to slow down and rest. Plus, to our surprise, one of the kids actually caught a fish!
This was a pretty special family adventure to go on, the kids all loved it and the experience was well worth the price tag.