The largest national park in Australia, Kakadu, is a cultural and environmental gem that is both listed on the World Heritage List.Here are some of the wonders of Kakadu.
Three hours’ drive from Darwin, Kakadu provides a variety of adventures, including bush trekking, bird viewing, boating, swimming beneath waterfalls, camping, scenic flights, and perusing exhibitions of Aboriginal art dating back 20,000 years.
Here are 10 things to do in Kakadu.
1. Explore the historic huts at Nourlangie
Take a 1.5 km circular stroll across the area that served as generations of Aboriginal people’s wet season residence. Explore one of Australia’s most amazing Aboriginal rock art sites, which demonstrates long-standing ties between the people and their land, after passing the sizable rock shelter and lookouts.
Visit the neighbouring Anbangbang Billabong between May and November for a breathtaking vista of Nourlangie.
2. Discover the best Aboriginal rock art in Australia at Ubirr
Explore Ubirr, another breathtaking place for Aboriginal rock art in Kakadu, to witness the various artistic movements the region is known for. View x-ray paintings of the area’s plentiful wild foods, including yams, fish, ducks, mussels, wallabies, goannas, and echidnas.
See examples of rock art from one of the longest historical records of any people group in the world in Ubirr’s main gallery. For expansive views of the neighbouring floodplains and the ideal place to watch the sunset, climb the overlook.
3. Take a Yellow Water Billabong cruise
On an award-winning Yellow Water Billabong cruise at Cooinda, observe the sun rise or set (operates year-round). A must-do in Kakadu is Yellow Water, with its bird singing, which is home to one-third of Australia’s bird species—roughly 280 species total.
Around the lily-covered billabongs, crocodiles, wallabies, wild horses, and buffalo can also be seen. From July to November, you can go 1.8 kilometres backwards to a viewing platform on Home Billabong by crossing the floodplains.
4. Hike to Motor Car Falls for a swim
The tropical summer, when Kakadu’s larger falls are frequently inaccessible, is a particular favourite time to visit this isolated waterfall. With a single flowing waterfall and a thick monsoon forest surrounding it, Motor Car Creek is a shaded refuge. On the 7.5 km return hike, go slowly. Early in the morning is the ideal time to explore Motor Car Falls.
5. Fly above the waterfalls for a picturesque flight
The two main waterfalls in Kakadu are breathtaking to see whether they are flowing fully or have been reduced to a trickle during the dry months. To see Jim Jim Falls, a 200-meter-tall waterfall, and Twin Falls up close, take a tough four-wheel-drive trip.
Alternatively, you may take a scenic fly during the tropical summer to witness the spectacle of water rushing over the falls, flanked by a canopy of lush green foliage.
6. 4-W-D to Jarrangbarnmi (Koolpin Gorge)
Jarrangbarnmi (Koolpin Gorge), located in the south-east corner of the Park, is one of Kakadu’s less-frequented attractions. Take a tour or get in a high-clearance four-wheel drive to explore it.
The reward is picturesque waterholes and waterfalls surrounded by sandy beaches that you might have to yourself, but you’ll need to be in shape for the trek in. Plan ahead for your permission because there are restrictions on how many people can enter at once.
For more, click here. Contact the Bowali Visitor Centre or check www.kakadu.com.au/access to confirm road accessibility at all times.
7. Plunge into the crystal-clear pools in Maguk
Maguk (also known as Barramundi Gorge), a remote natural swimming hole in Kakadu’s stone country at the southern end of the Park, is a swimming hole surrounded by monsoon rainforest where you can take a stroll before diving into the crystal-clear rock pools.
Enjoy a back massage beneath the waterfalls before climbing to the top to the rocky platforms and another crystal-clear, deep plunge pool surrounded by high cliffs. Sleep in Maguk’s wilderness campground. A vehicle with four-wheel drive is necessary.
8. Take a Kakadu bushwalk
Choose from more than 30 well-maintained walking paths in Kakadu, ranging from quick, leisurely strolls to strenuous, multi-day hikes, by lacing up your boots. Explore the world-renowned rock art sites, scale waterfalls and plunge pools, hike along escarpments, or take a stroll around a billabong to see birds and other wildlife.
Take plenty of water, a hat, and sunscreen, and stay on the trails that are marked. The free guided tours of the galleries of Aboriginal rock art in Kakadu, where park rangers explain the meaning of the artwork, are a must-do. Every day from April through October, they operate.
9. Visit Mamukala Wetlands to observe birds
Visit the Mamukala wetlands, one of Kakadu’s premier bird watching locations, and take the short walk to an observation platform tucked away amid the paperbarks (30km from Jabiru). As kites, comb-crested jacanas, cormorants, purple swamp chickens, finches, and kingfishers feed, observe them silently.
The yearly seasonal changes are depicted in a mural. The wetlands are stunning all year round, but from September to November, the late dry season, when hundreds of honking magpie geese forage for water chestnuts, is particularly dramatic.
10. Explore the visitor centres in Kakadu to learn more
Explore the interactive exhibits, movies, and large library at the Bowali Visitor Center in Jabiru to discover more about the flora and wildlife, ecosystems, and geology of Kakadu. After that, peruse the Marrawuddi Gallery’s associated selection of artwork, crafts, books, and gifts.
Visit the Warradjan Cultural Centre in Cooinda to learn more about how the Aboriginal people of Kakadu lived there for a very long time. Your first stop in Kakadu should be both centres to learn about forthcoming free ranger talks.