Top End Encounters – Harvest Journeys Catholic Pilgrimages

Top End Encounters

Encounter the unique Catholic spirituality and traditional Aboriginal culture of this sacred place. Cruise waterways teeming with wildlife, explore spectacular gorges, plunging waterfalls and tranquil rock-pools as you journey through this ancient land.

TE2201 Map


Darwin (1) • Mass at St Martin’s Aboriginal Community with MGL Chaplain • Howard Springs Nature Park • Adelaide River Jumping Crocodile Cruise • Kakadu/Jabiru (2) • Kakadu National Park • Nourlangie • Ubirr rock art site • Nadab lookout • Yellow Waters Billabong boat cruise • Katherine/Nitmiluk National Park (2) • Edith Falls • Katherine Gorge • Top Didj • Katherine Outback Experience show • St Barbara’s Catholic Church Rum Jungle • Litchfield National Park • Florence Falls • Wangi Falls • Magnetic Termite Mounds • Darwin (3) • Mindil Beach Sunset Markets • Tiwi Islands pilgrimage day – boat ride & Indigenous immersion • St Mary’s Cathedral in Darwin (The Madonna of the Aborigines) • Darwin Aviation Museum

  • 9 Days / 8 Nights
  • Departs 15 September 2023
  • Darwin to Darwin
  • Daily Mass


Meal Code: (B) = Breakfast, (L) = Lunch, (D) = Dinner

DAY 1Begin Darwin

Theme: New Beginnings

Meet your group leader and get to know your fellow travelers as we come together to share our first group dinner.

Darwin overnight (D)

DAY 2Darwin via Howard Springs Nature Park to Kakadu

Theme: Awe & Gratitude
Proposed Mass: St Martin’s Aboriginal Community in Darwin

  • Departing Darwin we stop at Howard Springs Nature Park, where we have the opportunity to feed the barramundi and turtles.
  • Then we embark on an Adelaide River Jumping Crocodile Cruise. View crocodiles in their natural environment. Be awed by the sight of huge prehistoric beasts leaping high out of the water right alongside the boat to be fed!
  • Journey into the magnificent Kakadu National Park, a diverse UNESCO world heritage site. Keep your eyes open for crocodiles as you cross the South Alligator River, Brolgas, Magpie Geese and Jabiru as you traverse along the long grasses of the marshes and wetlands.

Kakadu/Jabiru overnight (BD)

DAY 3Kakadu National Park

Theme: Wonder of Creation
Proposed Mass: St Peter’s Church in Jabiru

  • Walk to Kakadu’s stunning Ubirr rock art site where you will see ancient rock art and remarkable views from the Nadab lookout.
  • Visit Nourlangie to admire the ancient Dreamtime art of the Bininj and Mungguy people. Hear a detailed interpretation of the art and the rich Aboriginal culture as you explore the various outdoor ‘galleries’, dating back 20,000 years.
  • Embark on the famous Yellow Waters Billabong boat cruise where you will see a myriad of different bird species and possibly spot estuarine crocodiles.
  • Lunch at Cooinda Lodge.

Kakadu/Jabiru overnight (BLD)

DAY 4Kakadu via Edith Falls to Nitmiluk National Park

Theme: God’s Provision
Proposed Mass: St Joseph’s Church in Katherine

  • Drive through the ancient lands of Kakadu towards the town of Katherine, home to Nitmiluk National Park and the meeting place of the traditional Jawoyn, Dagoman and Wardaman Indigenous peoples.
  • Just north of Katherine is (Leilyn) Edith Falls, a series of cascading waterfalls and crystal-clear rock pools. Hike to the top of the escarpment and enjoy amazing views over the gushing waterfalls.
  • On arrival in Katherine, an optional visit to Mimi Aboriginal Art and Craft – a not-for-profit art centre.

Katherine overnight (BD)

DAY 5Katherine Gorge

Theme: Identity & Purpose
Proposed Mass: Outdoor Mass

  • Visit the Top Didj Cultural Experience, where you will be welcomed with a traditional performance on the didgeridoo.
  • Cruise on Katherine Gorge. A series of thirteen deep gorges carved through ancient rock, there are many Aboriginal paintings on the sandstone walls throughout the system. Discover the history and culture of the Jawoyn people, the traditional owners of Nitmiluk. 
  • Buffet lunch in the Nitmiluk Visitors Centre.
  • This evening enjoy the Katherine Outback Experience show – celebrating the Northern Territory’s unique pastoral history and culture through real horse-starting and working dog demonstrations, live music and storytelling.

Katherine overnight (BLD)

DAY 6Nitmiluk National Park via Litchfield National Park to Darwin

Theme: Abundant Springs
Proposed Mass: St Barbara’s Catholic Church in Litchfield

  • Heading north towards Darwin, we stop for a visit at St Barbara’s Catholic Church in Rum Jungle. Built in 1954, St Barbara’s Catholic Church which was built on the site of the former 1940s Royal Australian Air Force Chapel.
  • Travel on to Litchfield National Park, pausing to examine the amazing phenomenon of hundreds of magnetic termite mounds standing up to two metres high in a wide swathe of otherwise empty terrain.
  • Lunch at Litchfield Cafe.
  • Stop at Florence Falls, a spectacular double-plunge waterfall leading to a popular swimming hole, before venturing on to tropical Wangi Falls – a large waterhole surrounded by spectacular monsoon rainforest.
  • In the early evening we visit the colourful Mindil Beach Sunset Market to experience a spectacular sunset under the coconut palms. There’s plenty of time to explore the arts and crafts, aromas and atmosphere of the marketplace.

Darwin overnight (BLD)

DAY 7Tiwi Islands Day Tour

Theme: Healing & Restoration
Proposed Mass: St Therese’s Church on Tiwi Islands

  • Today we journey to the Top End’s Tiwi Islands; home of traditional landowners and rich with Aboriginal culture. Relax onboard our high-speed deluxe catamaran as we take you on a 2.5-hour cruise from Darwin to the Island town of Wurrimiyanga on Bathurst Island.
  • Set off on a cultural exploration of the Island town of Wurrimiyanga. Discover the rich aboriginal culture and participate in a traditional smoking ceremony and totem dance that welcomes you onto the land.
  • Share a cup of Billy tea and damper with the ladies and other artists. Here you will be able to truly appreciate the Tiwi Island artists’ skills and have the opportunity to purchase art.
  • After lunch your guide will take you through the unique old Catholic Church with stunning architecture in the Early Mission Precinct, and then onto the Tiwi Museum to learn more about traditional art and depictions of the Tiwi ‘Dreamtime’ stories.

Darwin overnight (BLD)

DAY 8Darwin

Theme: Peace & Reconciliation
Proposed Mass: St Mary’s Cathedral in Darwin

Celebrate Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral where you view the Madonna of the Aborigines, a painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with the baby Jesus, depicted as Aborigines.

In the afternoon enjoy a city tour of Darwin where we see a mixture of old and new architectural styles of buildings such as the NT Parliament House and the old Government House.

Continue on to the Darwin Aviation Museum to learn about the city’s aviation history. You can check out a B-52 Bomber and view rare amateur footage of the air-raid on Darwin and original footage from Japanese archives.

Darwin overnight (BD)

DAY 9Finish Darwin

* All tour inclusions and order of daily arrangements remain subject to change due to any unforeseen circumstances, which may arise, or at the discretion of the tour leadership.

Dates & Prices

Tour Cost
15 - 23 September 2023
Bookings Closed
AUD $5190
More info
15 - 23 September 2023
More info


15 - 23 September 2023


Bookings Closed

Tour Cost

AUD $5190

Tour Code


Single Room

AUD $1490 Supplement

Air & Tour




Prepaid Tips


* Prices are indicative and remain subject to possible changes in the unlikely event of significant exchange rate variations, airfare increases or minimum group size contingencies.


  • Accommodation at superior standard 3 – 4 star hotels with breakfast and dinner daily
  • Lunches as per the itinerary
  • Deluxe Air-Conditioned Touring Coach • Professional Driver / Guide throughout the program
  • Accompanied by a Harvest Tour Director
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees as listed
  • Quality Harvest pilgrim pack including Harvest backpack, Pilgrim Journal and Travel Wallet.

Not included

  • Airfares
  • Other meals not listed
  • Items of a personal nature including phone calls, laundry, beverages, etc.
  • Travel insurance - ask Harvest about its preferred Travel Insurance
  • This pilgrimage is a true 360-degree encounter with the history and power of the Catholic faith in the Top End. I was visually and spiritually touched each day by the sites we visited. It was an absolute privilege being able to witness the joy, resilience, hope and growth the Catholic faith has brought to the local communities… Read more

    Grace DeZilva


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