This much-anticipated trip turned out to be very disappointing for a number of reasons. It was the first visit for my wife and I to a barra fishing lodge in the top end. We did not receive any communication or help from the lodge owners prior to our visit except a number of email requests for the balance payment (even though we paid this by direct deposit one month in advance). The connecting flight schedule only arrived a week before our scheduled departure. No directions were given to find the Tiwi Air terminal at Darwin airport (even a mud map would have been helpful) or prior advice regarding the airlines 15kg baggage limit per person, although this is written in the fine print on the back of the document. Our phone calls were not answered and our emails contacts were often never returned. We were only given a brief overview of the fishing arrangements by a staff member at the airport on the first day and did not meet the owner until dinner later that night, along with a gratuitous handshake and our "complementary bottle of wine". We were made to feel very uncomfortable at times by the owner by having to seek information about the 4-day residential package inclusions and anticipated cultural activities through the glass screened enclosure of the bar / office. It would appear that the owner prefers all communication to be made via the lodge staff. The owner’s eventual last day response was we could do whatever we liked but how could we be expected to know the possibilities on our first visit to Melville Island? Eventually we found our way to the art and craft centre and met up with a few locals with a more relaxed attitude. The only positive we could draw from this forgettable experience was the support and consideration given to us by our aboriginal fishing guide. He proved invaluable in providing local knowledge and went out of his way to ensure we caught a number of fish to remember. We preferred to release most of our catch as per the local council’s regulations. Unfortunately, the fish and crabs that we did keep were poorly cooked. The steamed fish was undercooked and on one occasion the mud crab was drowned in chili sauce making it impossible to appreciate the natural flavours of fresh seafood. Our understanding is that the guests are expected to provide seafood for the evening meal which is okay but we suspect that we may have been served frozen fish fillets on one night as the flesh texture and consistency was unlike that of freshly caught reef fish. The Fleetwood demountable rooms were very small with minimal bed space for a couple and the example shown on the website is deceptive. Our hard mattress had no mattress cover posing a health risk to guests. The room amenity was not at all like the photograph on the lodge website. Neither of us was able to sleep soundly through the night with the clunky noise and vibration from the aged air conditioner. Eventually, this was turned off in favour of the fan that made slightly less noise. Overall our impression is that of a poorly maintained lodge that relies on previous testimonials for continued patronage. The "ultimate fishing experience” turned into the "ultimate disappointment" for this couple. This lodge has immense unrealised potential given the location and abundance of natural resources but sadly is not presented in a favourable manner.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Are you ready to get out amongst it and experience Australia’s best fishing adventure? Welcome to Munupi Wilderness Lodge Melville Island Darwin Northern Territory. Our fishing lodge offers anglers, hands on fishing adventures. Imagine casting a lure off the deck of one of our fishing boats into our pristine fishing waters and as you begin to retrieve your lure, your rod gets hit with an awesome strike from a huge barramundi. Imagine no longer call us today to find out more on our affordable fully inclusive fishing packages. We are the original Melville Island fishing destination with direct exclusive access to the best Darwin fishing locations. If you like estuary fishing then Munupi offers it all. If you like blue water fishing then our fishing grounds are rated some of the best in Australia.When you call us, ask about our fish catch guarantee, that’s right we guarantee you will catch a fish or your fishing trip will be refunded or replaced it’s your choice, it’s our guarantee to you. So don’t delay come and play in our part of the world you will be really glad you did. ... more less