Kakadu National Park

No visit to the Top End of the Northern Territory could ever be complete unless you experience the magnificent Kakadu National Park. It is supremely beautiful and immensely important for its Aboriginal history and unique ecology. The 19,000 square kilometre World Heritage listed park is 260km east of Darwin on the sealed Arnhem Highway. Most accessible in the dry season from May to September, it is at its most spectacular in the Wet season as evening storms deluge the land creating massive lakes teaming with birdlife. Though you may not be able to see the entire park's most beautiful places, such as Jim Jim and Twin Falls, any time is the right time to go to Kakadu. What you do see you will never forget.

Allow as much time as you can to visit Kakadu. A day tour from Darwin is a great introduction, though if time permits stay overnight so you can give yourself at least two full days if you can. The park headquarters at Bowali, near the main town of Jabiru, and entry stations on the Arnhem and Kakadu Highways have detailed maps and brochures. You can see much of the park in a conventional vehicle but some areas are accessible only to four-wheel drives. Some roads are closed from the start of the Wet season for six months.

Drive yourself or take one of the many guided tours from Darwin. Kakadu is a very varied and complex place, so even if you have a rental vehicle, take a guided day tour which concentrates on either Aboriginal culture or the environment. These generally operate in the Dry season from Jabiru, though some are year round. At Kakadu there is a full range of accommodation. It is possible to camp out or stay in hotels ranging from budget to first class. Hotel/motel style accommodation is available at Cooinda, Jabiru and South Alligator River.

Kakadu National Park Attractions

Bowali Visitor Centre: Kakadu Highway, 2.5 kms from Jabiru, Free of charge, Daily 8am to 5pm. Make sure that the Bowali Visitor Centre is the first stop on your visit to Kakadu. Informative displays and activities, and an extensive range of maps and fact sheets will help the visitor better understand and appreciate the unique qualities of Kakadu National Park

Jabiru: Driving to Kakadu you will invariably pass through the charming town of Jabiru - the winner of multiple Tidy Town Awards. The township of Jabiru was established after the commencement of mining operations in the area in the 1980's. Home to the famous 'Crocodile' Hotel, facilities in the town include a sports and social club, caravan park, shopping centre, bakery, service station and airstrip.

Jim Jim Falls: 60kms off Kakadu Highway, seasonal access only, free of charge, 4WD only - No 2WD access. After the rains, when water the cascading thunders from the soaring sandstone escarpment, Jim Jim is an awe inspiring sight. During the Dry season the rock pool with its white sandy beach is permanent.

Maguk: 12 kms off the Kakadu Highway, seasonal access only, free of charge. A 2kms return walk through the beautiful monsoon rainforest leads you to a small waterfall and clear plunge pool. The perfect spot to cool off after your walk and one of the many beautiful places in Kakadu.

Mamukala: 29 kms from Jabiru, 1 km off the Arnhem Highway. Beautiful to visit all year round, Mamukala is at its most dramatic during the late Dry Season when thousands of Magpie Geese congregate here to feed. Walking trails, from 1 km to 3 kms, allow the visitor to see more of these wetlands. Well worth calling in to have a look.

Nourlangie Rock: 12 kms off Kakadu Highway, free of charge, open all year round. A 1.5 km circular walk will take you past an ancient Aboriginal shelter and several outstanding displays of Aboriginal rock art. For the more adventurous visitor there is an opportunity to make a moderately steep climb to the Gunwarddehwardde Lookout - worth making to experience the impressive views over the Kakadu Escarpment and Nourlangie Rock.

Twin Falls: 70 kms off Kakadu Highway, seasonal access only, free of charge. Twin Falls is accessible only by water. Take a leisurely half kilometre swim or float down on your airbed and you will be rewarded with a secluded crystalline sandy beach surrounded by dense forest - a tropical oasis. Two spectacular waterfalls plunge from the towering escarpment into the crystal clear plunge pool.

Ubirr: 40 kms from Jabiru, April - November 8.00am to Sunset, December - March 2.00pm to Sunset, Free of charge. Ubirr has fine examples of culturally priceless Aboriginal rock paintings and offers sweeping panoramic views over the surrounding Kakadu wetlands. Late afternoon visitors who take the time to climb Ubirr can witness the most stunning sunsets over the wetlands.

Warradjan Aboriginal Centre: 4.5 kms off Kakadu Highway, daily 9.00am to 5.00pm, free of charge. The Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre displays the creation era as interpreted by the Bininj people. Signs invite the visitor to move through the display as a Rainbow Serpent (creation ancestor) moves through the country.

Kakadu National Park Wildlife and Nature Kakadu Aboriginal Rock Paintings Kakadu National Park Cruise Wildlife at Sunset Viewing Kakadu NP