TOP END

HANDCRAFTS TOUR

6 – 14 August 2022

retreat|recreate is thrilled to offer this 9 day/8 night women’s tour exploring Darwin and surrounds through the lens of their ancient and contemporary art and handcraft traditions

Join us on this fabulous, immersive, small group adventure as we explore the traditional and contemporary culture, art and craft of Australia’s Top End!   A very special highlight of this tour will be spending three full days on Limilngan-Wulna Country with a local 100% Aboriginal owned, family-run business. With the women from this family, we’ll gather grasses and fibres on Country, learn how to prepare and dye the leaves with local plant dyes and pigments, before weaving them in a very special basket weaving session with senior Wulna weaving women. Together we’ll visit Merrepen Arts Centre, one of Australia’s premier (predominantly women) Aboriginal arts centres, specialising in painting, weaving, screen printing, etching and silk painting. You’ll be able to meet the artists and hear their stories, tour the facilities and if you purchase any artworks, have the pleasure of knowing that 100% of the profits go directly to the artists. And under the guidance of our hosts we’ll explore Kakadu, Djukbinj and Litchfield National Parks with their incredible rock art sites and natural wonders and learn firsthand about their cultural significance to the Traditional Owners. All this and so much more, in a very special, carefully curated cultural and handcrafts-based private 3-day experience.  

During our days in Darwin, we’ll enjoy the privilege of a private basket weaving session with members of the Tiwi Islands’ Wangatunga Strong Women. These talented weavers will demonstrate and instruct us in their basketry techniques while sharing stories of Tiwi culture and heritage, over a morning tea of damper and bush tea. We’ll also experience a guided artist tour of the public sculptures of a Darwin-based internationally acclaimed artist, and at the spectacular site of her final sculpture, overlooking the ocean, she’ll lead us in a ghost net & recycled materials weaving workshop

Other highlights include a morning at the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair – the country’s premier First Nations art fair. We’ll visit MAGNT (Museum & Art Gallery Northern Territory) for a private viewing and discussion of their collection of Aboriginal handcrafts from the Larrakia nation, hosted by a senior curator.  This will be followed by a viewing of the stunning 2021 NATSIAA (National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards) exhibition. The works of art on display this year from the country’s most talented emerging and distinguished First Nations artists are extraordinary and this is an exhibition not to be missed. Other features of the itinerary include an artist talk & studio visit with a botanical artist and dyer, a local handcrafts gallery, and a private guided walking tour of Darwin’s famous street art. Dining at some of Darwin’s best restaurants, experiencing bush tucker and enjoying stunning sunset views over the Timor sea all round out a fabulous 9 days. Will you join us to experience all this and much much more, in the company of a small group of likeminded textile and handcraft enthusiasts?

The three fabulous hands-on workshops on this tour are: 

Traditional Aboriginal basket weaving – gathering, preparing, dyeing and weaving with local plants – with senior Wulna women

Ghostnet and recycled material weaving – with a well known Darwin-based artist

Traditional Tiwi Islands basket weaving – with the Tiwi Islands Wangatunga Strong Women

Inclusions: 

  • 9 days/8 nights accommodation 
  • 8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 5 dinners (drinks not included) 
  • Transport: private coach, taxi 
  • Workshops and activities as per the itinerary
  • Entrance to museums, galleries, studios, National Parks and other venues

Exclusions

  • Airfares 
  • Travel insurance 
  • Early check in or late check out 
  • Arrival and departure transfers (the tour begins and ends at our Darwin hotel)
  • Personal spending 
  • Meals and drinks not specified in the itinerary
  • Tips

Notes:
• retreat|recreate host is Susan Rees-Osborne
• Accommodation in Darwin is in a 4 star hotel
• Accommodation on Days 4, 5 & 6 on Country is in multi-share (twins and triples) air conditioned cabins with kitchenettes
• Single supplement place numbers are limited. Single supplement does not apply on days 4-6
• A deposit of AUD $1000 is required to secure your booking* (see below)
• The balance will be due no later than close of business on 24 June 2022
• Bookings made after 24 June 2022 must be paid in full at the time of booking
• COVID-safe protocols will apply on this tour
• Details of accommodation, venues, workshop artists etc will be provided closer to departure
• Maximum group number is 12
• *Minimum number for tour to proceed is 8. Should we fail to get 8 travellers, the tour will not proceed and your deposit will be refunded

The Top End Handcrafts tour was my first time travelling out of my State since the pandemic started. Our group of 10 women and leader Susan gathered at our Darwin hotel full of anticipation of the tour ahead. The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair provided an almost overwhelming feast for the senses with the quantity and diversity of art from many communities, and plenty of happy shopping resulted. The women artists who taught us their weaving and gathering techniques were very generous, and they shared their stories and knowledge of culture with us. We had many opportunities to experience the art of the Top End, and talk with the artists, and I feel enriched and inspired by it. Joy – Top End Handcrafts Tour 2022

I thought the Top End tour with retreat|recreate was sensational! Perfect timing for me with such fun activities and destinations. Travelling with like-minded people who enjoyed the same things made for wonderful company and a great time. Susan worked hard to accommodate our requests and needs as well as keep the schedule ticking along in a timely manner. We still had flexibility to fit in some extra things. Fee – Top End Handcrafts Tour 2022

retreat|recreate acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to the land, sea and community.  We pay our respects to the Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people and their cultures.

retreat|recreate is proud to engage and support Aboriginal owned and operated businesses and organisations offering cultural and creative experiences wherever possible.