At 20,000 square kilometres, Kakadu is Australia’s largest National Park. It includes Ramsar wetlands, stunning escarpments, permanent freshwater pools and tidal flats and offshore islands.
Home to Aboriginal people for over 65,000 years, these days Kakadu is jointly managed by the Bininj/Mungguy traditional owners and Parks Australia as a National Park.
Kakadu is World Heritage-listed for both it’s natural and cultural significance.
The national park is filled with great walks and tracks to explore. While it’s tempting to swim in many places, the abundance of signs and the presence of enormous crocodile traps downstream of safe swimming areas are a constant reminder to be careful.
Most of the walking trails finish with the reward of a stunning swimming hole.
At Gunlom swim to the edge of the waterhole and gaze of the vastness of the park. While at Jim Jim Falls, a pristine white beach and considerable if not crisp pool, surrounded by towering walls await.
Mamukala is an excellent place to look out over the wetlands, but getting out on the water on a cruise from Cooinda Lodge to immerse in this landscape is a must-do.
Shortly after pushing off on our sunrise tour, a solid sized saltwater crocodile enthralled and terrified with an impressive display of power. It was tossing around an earlier catch, a cow or buffalo, in a show of force telling the smaller crocodile’s, and perhaps us, to back off.
With buffalo roaming, an abundance of birds, and ducks, and plenty of solid crocs, it’s easy to see why these wetlands are so crucial to the traditional owners, and why they are Ramsar listed.
We camped at a variety of spots as we explored the park; Gunlom, Maguk, Garnamarr and a night at Cooinda Lodge campground ready for our sunrise cruise. The majority of the camping in Kakadu is similar to many National Parks. The campsites are sensibly located at either the start of walks or only a short drive away.
We doubt anybody wouldn’t enjoy Kakadu, there’s something for everyone. Yes, it’s a popular destination, making it a place you will have to share, but it’s spectacular. Like Uluru and other Australian icons, it’s a significant place that’s worth the trip.