Pros

  • Scenic location on the outskirts of Mary River National Park
  • Clean and modern bungalows with air-conditioning, mini-fridges, and balconies
  • Safari tents offer bush views, comfortable furniture, and modern amenities
  • Powered campsites and a communal camp kitchen and bathroom
  • Two outdoor swimming pools and pool decks
  • An all-day restaurant with indoor and alfresco dining
  • Buggy, bicycle, and boat rentals available
  • Free Wi-Fi in the restaurant and lobby
  • A full-service tour desk
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Cons

  • Rooms are somewhat dated and basic
  • The grounds and facilities are somewhat tired
  • Safari tents don't have bathrooms
  • Breakfast isn't included in room rates
  • Wi-Fi is only available in the lobby or restaurant
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Bottom Line

Mary River Wilderness Retreat & Caravan Park is a mid-range hotel and campground located on the outskirts of the Mary River National Park. The sprawling 900-acre property features diverse bushland scenery and wildlife. A range of bungalows, campsites, and safari tents (without bathrooms) are dotted along the acreage and are reasonably priced. Each is equipped with standard modern amenities, and for the most part are clean, though they don't have Wi-Fi. Facilities include two swimming pools, an all-day restaurant, and a tour desk. The area offers numerous nature excursions like crocodile river tours, fishing trips, and billabong treks. For a more high-end alternative, Wildman Wilderness Lodge features a spectacular location, luxe outback bungalows, a chic swimming pool, and a fine-dining restaurant.

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Amenities

Oyster Hotel Review

Mary River Wilderness Retreat & Caravan Park

Scene

A family-oriented outdoorsy hotel featuring bushland scenery and a tranquil ambience

Mary River Wilderness Retreat is a reasonably priced hotel and campgrounds that is set along a sprawling acreage with raw bushland, manicured grass lawns, and walking trails. The property is located on the outskirts of the Mary River National Park and features gorgeous outback scenery and an abundance of wildlife. The ambience is tranquil and serene, and there is no traffic or other noise pollution in the area. The hotel is one of the more affordable and easiest to access hotels in the area, as it is located right off a main highway and doesn't require a four-wheel drive vehicle to reach. It's popular with families and large groups who like the range of accommodations and swimming pools. 

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Location

Located on the outskirts of the Mary River National Park, a 90-minute drive from Darwin

The hotel is located on the outskirts of the Mary River National Park, a 90-minute drive from the Darwin International Airport along the Arnhem Highway. Driving to the hotel is fairly straightforward and doesn't require a four-wheel drive vehicle, but for those who want to venture deep into the nearby national parks, upgrading to a four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended. It's fairly easy to drive to the hotel from Darwin but the highways in the Northern Territory can be a little intimidating. The speed limits often exceed 80 m.p.h (130 kph) and there are also enormous road trains barreling down the highways, plus frequent wildlife crossings.

Mary River National Park offers abundant nature and adventure excursions opportunities, though the crocodile-infested rivers are by far the biggest draw. Mary River has the highest concentration of crocodiles in all of Australia and the saltwater crocodiles found here are the largest reptiles in the world. The area is also teeming with large populations of fish, more than 250 different bird species, wallabies, and kangaroos. Popular activities in the area include fishing, river cruises, birdwatching, and hikes through the scenic bush trails and billabongs. 

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Rooms

Clean bungalows and safari tents with modern amenities and outback scenery views -- plus campsites 

Mary River Wilderness Retreat features a range of one- and two-bedroom bungalows and comfortable safari tents that are scattered around the large property. The hotel also offers powered campsites for vehicles and tents, and has a communal camp kitchen and camp bathrooms. Bungalows are fairly bare-bones and basic but for the most part are clean and modern. They're well equipped with modern amenities, including air-conditioning, mini-fridges, and coffee- and tea-making facilities. None of the rooms have TVs. Interiors are minimalist and contemporary with sparsely decorated white walls and either ceramic tiled or parquet wood floors. The largest rooms can sleep up to six people with a combination of queen, single, and bunk beds. The Pool Bungalows are the newest and most contemporary, plus they're the closest to the restaurant and swimming pools. The Bush Bungalows offer a higher level of privacy and nicer views as they are spread out along the grounds and overlook the outback. Bungalow bathrooms are mostly clean, modern, and streamlined with just a small walk-in shower and a standalone sink. All units do include balconies or terraces with seating. 

Safari Tents offer a more back-to-nature experience. The tents are comfortable and feature hardwood floors, comfy beds and couches. But they don't have ensuite bathrooms and guests will have to share the communal camp bathrooms and showers. Also, the safari tents don't have air-conditioning and can get quite hot as the Northern Territory weather is unbearably muggy much of the year. Note that Wi-Fi is not available in any of the accommodations. 

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Features

Sprawling grounds with walking trails, two swimming pools, an all-day restaurant, and tour arrangements

The hotel's main draw is its gorgeous bushland scenery and proximity to the Mary River National Park. The sprawling grounds are lined with long trails that guests can explore on foot, bike, or buggy cart. Buggies, boats, and bicycles can all be rented from the hotel lobby, which also provides full tour service arrangements, including river boats cruises, fishing trips, bush walks, billabong tours, bird watching tours, and other adventure excursions through Kakadu and Mary River National Park. 

The hotel facilities include two outdoor swimming pools, with a small dipping pool and a larger main pool in front of Gecko Restaurant. The restaurant and bar is housed in a large building with high ceilings and it doubles as a function space that also includes both indoor and alfresco dining areas. It serves Western favorites, some classic Northern Territory dishes, and a daily breakfast buffet for a fee. Soft drinks, snacks, ice cream, toiletries, and other convenience items are sold in the lobby. Other facilities include an outdoor barbecue and communal camping facilities including a kitchen, toilets, and showers. Wi-Fi is free, but is only available in the restaurant or lobby areas. 

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Best Rates

Amenities

  • Air Conditioner

  • Concierge

  • Laundry

  • Meeting / Conference Rooms

  • Pool

Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.