Airboat safari is an unreal way to experience the Mary River wetlands. Pic:

It’s barra country out here, to be sure. The Mary River is home to the infamous Shady Camp, a barramundi fishing mecca that draws in crowds of faithful anglers from around the country each season.

It’s little wonder they keep coming back, as tremendous hauls of quality fish are snared on the regular during the prime fishing season.

The Mary River National Park is located approximately 150km east of Darwin and is well within range of daytrips from the state capital.

The park is accessible during the dry season, from approximately May through October, and is accessed via the Arnhem Highway. Some of the roads in the area are unsealed, which can result in closures after periods of heavy rain.

The popular Shady Camp offers visitors a plenty of facilities including boat ramps, toilet blocks and picnic tables.


4WDING throughout the park is pretty standard and gentle during the dry season, although the corrugations are as ubiquitous as everywhere else in this part of the world.

Conditions change quickly after heavy rain and road closures are common throughout the wet season.

FISHING is the number one goal of most of the travelling anglers plying the park’s waters, and they’ve generally got eyes for just the one species.

The mighty barra is prime quarry in these waters and prize specimen are taken on traditional diving minnow style lyres like shallow diving Bombers and Reidys B52s, as well as on surface lures and soft plastics.


LOCATION: Approximately 150km east of Darwin, the park is accessed via the Arnhem Highway.

CAMPING is available within the park at Couzens Lookout and Shady Camp. Toilets are provided but visitors are advised to bring their own firewood and drinking water.

FUEL is available at Darwin.

MORE INFO is available at

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