A horticultural & culinary adventure…

Hosted Small Group Tour

If you enjoy discovering new and interesting plants in off-the-beaten-track places, then Timor-Leste and its slice of the rich flora of Malesiana is the destination for you.

On this small group tour we will see landscapes that resemble those of Australia’s Top End – open, grassy, hilly and with semi-evergreen hardwood forest. Drier areas have scrub and vine thicket with similar plant genera to Australia, like peanut tree, candlenut, tamarind, sandalwood and gum. Some species are shared between these two countries, but many are not.

This new country has been historically influenced by the Portuguese empire for four hundred years. Whilst exploring Timor-Leste we’ll be on the lookout for unusual productive and ornamental plants on streets, gardens, markets and in menus. Timor-Leste food culture is a distinctive fusion between indigenous and Indonesian recipes influenced by the foods and recipes from Portugal and other former Portuguese colonies.

I have a working knowledge of over 20,000 plant species. I know what they look like and I have grown them. I love being surrounded by plant species that I can’t immediately identify from memory, and then finding local uses for them in crafts or cookery.

The fun of a tour like this is spotting something you almost know. Like the Timor white gum tree, Eucalyptus urophylla. It’s similar to Australian species but different.

Join me on this horticultural & culinary adventure to the one of the newest and least visited nations on Earth…

11 Days / 10 Nights

$7,960**per person twin/double
  • Single Room: $9,660*
  • Plus flights to/from Dili
  • Dates : 21-31 August 2023

11 DAYS – Fully Hosted | 21-31 August 2023

$7,960* per person twin/double

$9,660* single room


  • Return airport transfers in Dili

  • 10-night’s accommodation

  • 10 x Breakfasts + 9 x Lunches + 10 x Dinners

  • Services of an English-speaking local guide

  • Transportation in an air-conditioned vehicle

  • Sightseeing as per the itinerary

  • Bottled water dailyEntrance fees as per the itinerary


  • International & domestic flights

  • Drinks unless otherwise mentioned

  • Visas

  • Travel Insurance

  • Tips

  • Inoculations

  • Items of a personal nature

  • Anything not mentioned in the itinerary

Please note that the price is based on a minimum of 12 people in the group (plus escorts). A surcharge may apply if minimum numbers are not reached.

Monday 21 August 23


Our group will meet at Darwin Airport this morning to catch a 90-minute Qantas flight across the Timor Sea to Dili.

Welcome to Timor-Leste!

Upon arrival at Presidente Nicolau Lombato International Airport we will be greeted by an English-speaking guide before being transferred to our hotel in downtown Dili.

In the afternoon we will begin our journey by discovering Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste. During the city tour we will learn about the country’s Portuguese heritage, the Indonesian occupation and what life is now like in this independent and peaceful nation.

We will then climb up to the Cristo Rei monument to admire the panoramic views over the city and surrounds before enjoying a sunset dinner and drinks at a beachside restaurant. (D)

Overnight at Timor Plaza Hotel.

Tuesday 22 August 23


Ancient permaculture and cash cropping are widely practised in Timor-Leste and organisations are working to sustain traditional crop varieties, methods of production and traditional meals.

Our morning will be spent meeting with local and international development agencies who work in the field of sustainable agriculture. We will learn about school garden programs; farmers collectives; rice; coconut oil; boutique spices and other local products, such as Timor-Leste’s world famous coffee.

Over lunch today we will sample some tasty East Timorese dishes at an excellent hospitality training restaurant.

The afternoon will see us visit the Alola Foundation – a leading NGO in Timor-Leste which is addressing the barriers that prevent women from enjoying their right to good health, education, socio-economic opportunities and political participation. (B,L,D)

Overnight at Timor Plaza Hotel.

Wednesday 23 August 23


Today we will travel high into the mountains to visit a vanilla farm in Aileu. Lunch will be eaten at a youth training restaurant where we will learn about their agricultural program.

Continuing on to Maubisse, a cool and quiet town in the hills 70km south of Dili, we will visit the Leublora Green School which is the only environmental education facility in the country dedicated to promoting sustainable development.

In the afternoon we’ll return to Dili via a coffee farm which is being supported by ex-Australian peace keepers. (B,L,D)

Overnight at Timor Plaza Hotel.

Thursday 24 August 23


Leaving Dili today, our group will skirt the northwest coast before venturing back into the mountains to visit a coffee processing plant, coffee co-operative and demonstration farm. Whilst there we will also visit a bamboo processing plant.

Lunch will be served at an inspirational technical training college before we return to the coast and the laid-back town of Liquiçá. Here we will gain some further insights into Timor-Leste’s past before relaxing over sundowner drinks and dinner at a beachside resort. (B,L,D)

Overnight at Lauhata Beach Escape.

Friday 25 August 23


Today we will continue driving along the coast towards the historical fort at Maubara. En route we will visit some very talented local ladies who weave traditional baskets.

A lunch of locally-grown produce will be served for us at the Balibo 5 Café – an endeavour which supports a local women’s group – before we visit a women’s NGO in Maliana to acquire some knowledge about their agricultural projects.

The evening will be spent at the famous Balibo Fort Hotel. (B,L,D)

Overnight at Balibo Fort Hotel.

Saturday 26 August 23


This morning we will be taken on a guided walking tour of the village where five Australian journalists – the Balibo Five – were murdered during the lead-up to the Indonesian invasion of Timor-Leste in October 1975.

In the afternoon we’ll be given the option to either trek or drive to Maliana. Whilst in Maliana we will stop by another local women’s agricultural project.

Our journey will then take us along a bumpy 18km section of road to the isolated village of Marobo.

Here we will meet some East Timorese ladies who weave traditional ‘tais’ cloth – the signature textile of Timor-Leste. The practice of hand-weaving ‘tais’ cloth plays an important role in social and ritual life, and also in assigning women’s standing in communities. (B,L,D)

Overnight at Balibo Fort Hotel.

Sunday 27 August 23


Before returning to Dili today we’ll visit the Indonesian border at Batagade, and make another stop in Liquiçá for lunch and a refreshing dip in the ocean.

After exploring the ruins of the Ai Pelo Portuguese Prison we will continue on to Dili – arriving there in time for dinner at Dilicious Restaurant. More fresh, tasty East Timorese delicacies await us here. (B,L,D)

Overnight at Timor Plaza Hotel.

Monday 28 August 23


Early this morning our group will take a scenic 2-hour boat ride to beautiful Atauro Island, keeping an eye out for dolphins as we cross the strait.

Atauro Island, which is located just 24km north of Dili, is 23km long and is home to about 8,000 people. With a rugged mountainous centre and narrow coastal plains, the vegetation on Atauro Island varies from dry grasslands and eucalyptus savanna to semi-evergreen tropical forests.

In the afternoon we’ll pop by Empreza Diak – a local non-government organisation which promotes economic development and traditional culture in the region. This is a great place to purchase unique products and handicrafts produced by rural artisans of Timor-Leste. (B,L,D)

Overnight in beachfront thatched bungalows set amongst tropical gardens at Barry’s Eco-Lodge.

Tuesday 29 August 23


Today you can take an optional morning boat ride to the other side of the island to visit a local agricultural group, or simply chill-out and enjoy your surrounds.

According to a recent biological survey, the breathtaking azure waters and fringing reefs that skirt Atauro Island are home to more species of reef fish than any other location on the planet.

There will be plenty of free time to explore the underwater world this afternoon. Swim, snorkel or relax by the beach – the choice is yours. (B,L,D)

Overnight at Barry’s Eco-Lodge.

Wednesday 30 August 23


Following breakfast we will be transferred back to Dili by boat where we’ll enjoy a scrumptious lunch and afternoon at leisure to explore Dili at our own pace.

There will be time to experience a Balinese massage (approx. US$25 to US$35, paid locally), visit the Timorese Resistance & Archive Museum or explore the local markets. Markets are great for seeing what crops, foods and crafts local people value. We may spot the root parasite, Balanophora fungosa, being sold here. This otherworldly plant is a traditional medicine – vital for people who lack the cash to pay for modern medicines.

In the evening we will enjoy a farewell dinner with our newfound friends. (B,L,D)

Overnight at Timor Plaza Hotel.

Thursday 31 August 23


After a morning at leisure we’ll bid farewell to Timor-Leste as we transfer to the airport to board a Qantas flight bound for Darwin. (B)

B = Breakfast : L = Lunch : D = Dinner

Group Size

The group size will be a maximum of 12 people plus tour escort, Jerry Coleby-Williams.

Please note that the price is based on a minimum of 12 people in the group (plus escorts). A surcharge may apply if minimum numbers are not reached.