7 incredible sensory experiences in the Top Endfor blind or low vision travellers
The tropical Top End of Australia’s Northern Territory is a place like no other. For blind and low-vision travellers, multi-sensory experiences abound, offering a unique and immersive way to discover this incredible destination and everything it has to offer.
Accessible travel company, Cocky Guides, designs and delivers engaging sensory group tours for blind and low-vision travellers, including seasonally-led tours in Northern Territory. This list has been developed with owner James, with what he describes as sensory travel experiences: the experiences that forgo the sightseeing, and instead embrace the smells, tastes, sounds - and feelings - of the Top End.
The experiences below are usually visited as part of a Cocky Guides group tour, with transfers and additional on-ground support provided. To find out more about booking a tour, visit their website.
Visit Crocosaurus Cove
Located in the heart of Darwin City, Crocosaurus Cove is home to the world’s largest collective of Australian reptiles, including the iconic saltwater crocodile! There are nine incredible interactive shows daily, to learn all about Australia's incredible wildlife.
You don’t need to see these beasts to understand how incredible they are - you can hear the sound of the jaws of a huge saltwater crocodile clap together as he dines on his lunch during the Big Croc Feed Show, cuddle a snake, lizard or even a baby crocodile during the Meet the Reptiles Show, and feel the pull of a feisty juvenile croc as you offer him lunch from the Fishing for Crocs platform.
Experience Litchfield all around you
On a day tour with Autopia Tours, you can hear the cascading plunge pools of Florence Falls, nestled in a monsoon forest. Feel the cool water lap against your skin in the shallow pristine pools of Buley Rockhole or Wangi Falls, listen for the birds, and feel the surface of the impressive century-old Termite Mounds.
Before booking your own tours, it’s recommended you call ahead and enquire about adding an extra guide for support of a blind or low-vision traveller - which can be at an additional cost - and ask if the company offers a discount for companions with a companion card.
Taste and smell the markets
The Mindil Beach Sunset Market truly epitomises the word 'multicultural'. The market sees a congregation of over 200 unique stalls, ranging from food stalls offering incredible local and international cuisine to an array of arts, crafts, and services stalls. It really is a feast for the senses!
Taste local delicacies such as barramundi, kangaroo & crocodile as you wander the markets, breathing in the aromas of international cuisines from around the world. Or indulge in the tropical flavours and Territory atmosphere of the Parap Village Markets on Saturday mornings, for tantalizing tastes of local and exotic dishes - the famous Darwin laksa for breakfast - and the smell of fresh roasted coffee.
A companion or guide is recommended at Mindil Markets to assist blind or low-vision travellers with navigating the crowds, and the potentially uneven ground on the beach.
Hear about Darwin’s history at the city museums
Did you know that in 1942, more than 188 Japanese aircraft attacked Darwin? It was the first and the largest foreign attack ever mounted on Australia. The Defence of Darwin Experience and Darwin Military Museum, located on the beautiful East Point Nature Reserve, is a great history lesson for the senses.
Listen to first-hand accounts and gripping re-enactments through multimedia presentations. You can also request a volunteer guide when purchasing a ticket to assist with this experience.
Cyclone Tracy was also a defining moment in Darwin’s history - a category 4 tropical cyclone in 1974 that destroyed 70% of the city. Head into the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and make your way into the Cyclone Tracy exhibit, where you can hear the devastating roar of the cyclone as it hits the town and learn about the day that changed the urban landscape and the lives of Darwin’s residents forever.
Cruise the Kakadu Wetlands
You’ll never forget the sounds of the Yellow Water Billabong, Kakadu's most famous wetland. Hop aboard a cruise on wetlands that are connected to Kakadu’s largest river system for a fantastic sensory travel experience.
About one-third of Australia's bird species are represented in Kakadu National Park, with at least 60 species found in the wetlands. Embrace a relaxing cruise through a wetland as you feel the sun on your skin, listen to the whistling ducks, magpie geese, and maybe even the snapping jaws of a crocodile!
It’s recommended that you let the friendly staff know when booking that you’re a blind or low-vision traveller - so they can offer support boarding the boat if required.
Take an Aboriginal cultural walking tour
Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tours take place near the banks of the Adelaide River, on Aboriginal-owned and managed lands at the forefront of the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park.
Embark on an Aboriginal Ecological Experience Tour – where you can listen to and learn about clap stick and didgeridoo playing, try your hand at throwing a spear, feel the unique fibres used to create dilly bags and basket weaving, and listen to stories and lessons on bush tucker and bush medicine.
Float through Nitmiluk Gorge
Where the Outback meets the tropics - a region full of gorges and misty waterfalls, thermal springs and ancient cultures, travellers with Echolocation skills may find the walls of the gorge very interesting.
Float through the gorges on a sunrise or sunset river cruise and sit back and listen as the Traditional Owners of the park, the Jawoyn people, transport you into a spiritual world of their culture and history.
We hope you enjoy your visit to the Northern Territory - where sensory travel really is different in every sense.
More articles you might like