Perfect isolation: Cobourg Peninsula

Sometimes, all you need to be is away. Away from phone reception and internet connections. Away from busy. Away from thinking.

Just in case you forget!

Cobourg Peninsula is not just away, it’s far away. It’s not easy to get there and that’s half the appeal for someone like me. Tucked away in the top of the Northern Territory it has that odd mix of visitors that comprise off-road enthusiasts in self-sufficient campsites and celebrities in luxury private lodges. All seek seclusion and beauty and Cobourg absolutely delivers.

The beaches are perfectly white and the Arafura Sea is turquoise and inviting. And full of crocodiles. Don’t be tempted by that beautiful sea, you can’t swim. Places like this take you back to your basics: eating, sleeping, living (as opposed to dying in the jaws of a dinosaur). It’s as serene as it is harsh.

Technically we stayed in Garig Ganuk National Park, and that requires a permit, which was no fuss to organise. Getting here starts with negotiating Cahill’s Crossing, which borders Kakadu NP and Arnhem Land. I had a few mixed feelings about this as it’s an iconic and treacherous tidal river crossing. Our crossing was uneventful though, as it should be when you follow the rules about when and how to cross.

Where the outback meets the ocean
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Once across, the Arnhem Land escarpment provided a dramatic backdrop to the drive. There’s just something special about an empty dirt road going to the end of everything. It was an easier drive than expected but did still have wash-outs to negotiate and some corrugations as we were there just after the wet season.

There’s an interesting history of trade and peaceful multicultural community with Aboriginal, Macassan and European settler history here and a nice little cultural centre to tell you all about it. The wetland here was the first listed under the international Ramsar convention, which impressed and surprised me. Some short walks, 4WD tracks, secluded beaches, wildlife watching (including banteng cattle and sambar deer introduced by settlers) and of course fishing and exploring all kept us occupied. Solar heated showers capped off the best remote facilities I’ve encountered and made for a very comfortable stay.

We were here for three nights and it was worth the 640km four-wheel drive round-trip to get here, no question whatsoever. I loved it. If you have the means – go.

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