“Eco-friendly bungalows infused with African-safari style on a remote property in the tropical Top End: think barefoot luxury on a buffalo station”
Inspired by African safari camps, with hints of Aussie bush-style, Bamurru Plains’ permanent tent-like Safari Bungalows are freestanding, elevated and minimalist in their design. The most notable feature is the floor-to-ceiling windows of 'Outlook' mesh, a one-way fabric which offers spectacular views of the floodplains and bird- and animal-life outside, but without allowing them to see in.
Since our visit, a deluxe Kingfisher Suite has been added. We're yet to personally view this space, but it promises to be a top choice for honeymooners (and even families) thanks to it's grand proportions and stunning outlook across the floodplains.
Inside you'll find comfy futon-like kingsize beds and wonderful big bathrooms, with tree trunks for soap-holders and ladders for towel racks. Corrugated-iron bathroom walls give a nod to traditional outback living and the bedspread is made from the brown weather-beaten leather of a drover’s swag.
All have wooden floors, screen doors, ceiling fans, a couple of director-style fold-up safari chairs, lanterns, binoculars, water bottles, towels, toiletries and insect repellent. Three of them are older, bigger and have air-conditioning - charged as an extra if you use it, though that's understandable given that everything is solar-powered. The newer ones have ceiling fans and raked window-walls. In keeping with the safari camp vibe, tech is kept to a minimum (no in-room telephones, WiFi or even minibars), although you can borrow a hairdryer and there's a choice of pillows.
The bungalows themselves are fairly well spaced so, while we were warned about sound travelling in the silence of the bush night, we couldn’t really hear anything coming from the neighbours.
All meals are prepared fresh by the resident chef, in an open kitchen overlooking the communal tables and served in the lodge’s dining area. Because the activities require an early start, breakfast is a simple affair of tea and coffee, juice, fruit and cereals, although there were delicious piping hot pastries fresh from the oven.
Morning and afternoon tea is enjoyed ‘on location’ if you’re doing an activity - in our case, as we floated in an air boat on a tranquil billabong teeming with birdlife, it was muffins baked that morning and steaming hot tea served in stainless steel mugs from the thermos. Bliss.
Back at the ranch, Bamurru serves superb contemporary Australian fare based on native produce and/or bush tucker-inspirations. Lunch is quite substantial: an Aussie-style game barbecue with home-made damper on the deck overlooking the floodplain, for example, or Top End barramundi fillet with chips, or spicy chicken burger with focaccia. As you'll gather, meat of all species dominates; vegetarians and those on special diets need to let Bamurru know of any dietary requirements in advance.
The evening meal begins with canapés and drinks served on the deck - timed so you can enjoy the sublime sunset - before tucking into 3 courses of fresh, inventive cuisine. Entrées could be mud crab ravioli in orange and vermouth sauce, or coconut prawns with pickled cucumber; mains might be crayfish bisque and stir-fried greens, or sticky pork fillet with soft polenta and braised shallots. Desserts are more conventional but no less delicious: hazelnut parfait, grilled peaches, berry and rose pannacotta.
There is no menu as such: the chef decides on the dishes that day, announcing the menu when guests sit down to dine. While the element of surprise is fun for most, it’s important to ensure the chef is aware of allergies or preferences you might have.
Also, be prepared to share with other guests at communal tables. This can be lots of fun when guests get along well, less so if you're sitting next to a Crocodile Dundee wannabe. Couples in the mood for romance can organise in advance to take dinner in their room.
The self-service bar features a good selection of Australian wines, beers and soft drinks, plus a few spirits, and is included in the tariff.
Bamurru welcomes children over the age of 8, and if they are interested in the great outdoors (and well behaved in the evenings!) they will love it here. The activities on offer and the intimacy of this small property make it unsuitable for younger children.
Teens (over 12)
The Kingfisher Suite has space for 3 children in swag beds (Safari Bungalows have space for just one) but it's more comfortable giving older kids their own room, especially if there are 2.