Ashton has been guiding for Australian Walking Holidays for 5 years, and has guided all over Tasmania, Western Australia (Cape to Cape and Bibbulmun) and the Northern Territory (Larapinta and Kakadu). Our guides are what makes our trips truly memorable for our clients and are one of our most valuable assets. With their enthusiasm and knowledge, they bring to life the flora, fauna and history of the areas we love to travel.
What inspired you to start guiding? My main inspiration to begin guiding was my outdoor education teacher Murray Ferguson. I wanted to be an outdoor education teacher just like he is. Before taking his classes I had only done a handful of day walks. In year twelve, I was 1 of 12 in a group of teenagers lucky enough to experience Kakadu National Park like no one else. We set off with full packs on a six-day hike from Gunlom (Waterfall Creek) to Maguk (Barramundi Falls). This was not only my first encounter with Kakadu but where I really developed my passion for the outdoors. I received a good bit of advice from Murray part way through the year after I left year twelve, he said “go get some industry experience first, build up your hard skills.” So I enrolled at TasTafe and have been guiding ever since.
Why is Kakadu Walking Adventure one of your favourite trips? Kakadu isn’t the first place I did a full pack walk but it was the first place I walked out of Tasmania and that was a very special experience. Kakadu Walking Adventure is one of my favourite trips because of how different it is. The different colours, the different smells, the different noises but most of all the different culture that is so very dominahroughout th area.
What are your top 3 highlights of this trip? Nourlangie Rock Art site – If you have never seen rock art then it is the place to go! So much history and so many intricate pieces to look at…..and just wonder. Swimming holes! (Maguk [Barramundi Falls] & Motor Car Falls) – Need I say anything else?
You may have been to swimming holes elsewhere in Australia but I think the water holes in Kakadu are awesome as! Maguk is my favourite, walking up to the top of the falls and finding a small 2.5x2.5m plunge pool which if you jump into then swim down you can glide through the side wall into a lower pool. Sunset on top of Gunlom Falls – What a way to finish a trip! A short walk from camp up to the top of Gunlom Falls for a swim through the cascading water holes of Waterfall Creek. Then dry off and sit at the edge of the escarpment and watch the sunset before walking back down to an awesome dinner.
What is your most memorable moment on the trail? It is not specific to Kakadu. The most memorable moment(s) on my trips are those when I help people achieve a feat they thought they were otherwise not capable of succeeding at. They get to the end of a walk, end of a day, to the end of a section or even to the top of a mountain and you can see the sense of achievement in their eyes and body language. Those moments are the best moment and ones that I will always remember.
Favourite trail meal? Hands down a lamb roast cooked in a camp oven with a big side of roast veggies, nothing says outback Australia like that. There is something about a meal cooked on the fire that is just so gastronomically tantalising.
Favourite animal to encounter? I remember sitting on the rock ledge at Motor Car Falls enjoying lunch when an Azure Kingfisher darted by and perched on a tree branch a few meters away. They are such a cool little bird with such vibrant feathers.
What are your top tips for travellers walking in Kakadu?
Kakadu Walking Adventure - 6 Days
- Comfortable, breathable shoes
- Camera with a few spare memory cards
- Cotton or merino buffs/headsocks or bandanas; helps you keep cool and protect you from the sun.
Get away from the crowds on our active, walking based itinerary, which includes a spectacular wildlife spotting cruise on the Yellow Waters. You will venture in to remote gorges and sparkling waterfalls, as well as ancient rock art seen by very few visitors. You will experience a truly unique and beautiful journey through one of Australia’s natural treasures and return to Darwin having enjoyed a complete adventure across the full range of tropical wilderness of Australia's Top End. Find out more here.