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Tuesday, 23 June 2020 14:54

NT borders open from 17 July

As the Northern Territory opens up for Australian travellers to explore new experiences, now is the time to immerse yourself in the World Listed Heritage Kakadu National Park.

Often the top of many bucket lists for Australians, Kakadu’s idyllic wilderness and rich 65,000 year old indigenous culture will be ready to once again to welcome interstate travellers from July 17 2020. With bargain air fares announced to Darwin, there’s never been a better time to visit Australia’s most spectacular natural playground. And unlike most winter dry seasons – from April through to October – this year Australians will have Kakadu National Park to themselves.

According to Kakadu’s Indigenous calendar, the ‘dry’ season is actually made up of three seasons. Yekke lasts from mid-May to June, Wurrkeng is classified as the “cold weather season” (mid-June to mid-August) but while overnight temperatures might dip to the mid-teens, daytime temperatures usually reach 30C. The dry season finishes with Kurrung from mid-August through October, when millions of magpie geese cover the receding wetlands, along with over 200 other bird species and a vast range of other animals, making it one of the greatest (natural) shows on earth.

Kakadu is best seen over three or four days, but with endless beauty and wonders to unearth, a week in Kakadu is just right to truly experience the dramatic landscape, rich Indigenous culture, surging waterfalls, abundant wildlife and picturesque sunsets. Located less than three hours’ drive from Darwin, the fully-sealed roads make travel to, from and within Kakadu National Park easy, although 4WD vehicles are recommended to ensure visitors can full immerse themselves.

Here are just 6 of Kakadu’s must-do experiences.

  1. Sunset and rock art at Ubirr

One of the icons of Kakadu, Ubirr's rock art galleries contain a remarkable panoramic sweep of history with drawings ranging from the thylacine (the now extinct Tasmanian Tigers) to the arrival of Europeans. The smooth stone surfaces were perfect for painting on and Ubirr’s rock art is considered among the best of the world. The best time to visit Ubirr is at sunset, as the setting sun creates a rich palette of colours on the rock outcrops and the vast Nadab Plain below.

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Word on the street is the Northern Territory is about to open its parks up to visitors again ?

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  1. Sunrise on Yellow Water Billabong

A visit to Kakadu must include a Yellow Water Cruise. While crocodiles are always the most prized sighting – and you’re likely to see many of the prehistoric creatures on your cruise – the bird-life is equally awe-inspiring. There are some 260 varieties to spot, from majestic eagles through to the remarkable comb-crested jacana, better known as the ‘Jesus bird’ because of the illusion it creates as it seemingly walks on water. On board the cruise, the guides provide expert commentary, providing an Indigenous narrative of the heritage, culture, flora and fauna of the wetlands. Cruises operate throughout the year, with sunrise and sunset cruises the most popular.

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Sunrise river cruise...#sunrise #yellowriver #northernterritory #kakadu

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  1. Walk through ancient shelters at Nourlangie

Nourlangie Rock houses some of Kakadu’s most historic rock art. Paintings such as Namarrgon (Lightning Man) explore the relationship of the people to their country and beliefs. The paintings illustrate important stories, food sources, wars and mythological figures and can be viewed as part of a 1.5 km circular walk. Free guided walks are offered by Park rangers during much of the year, where guests will discover how Indigenous people developed grinding stones for crushing seeds and later used the stones to crush ochre for painting. Climb to the top of the rock for sweeping views of the escarpment, or head through the paperbark forest on the Anbangbang Billabong Walk to marvel at the view back toward Nourlangie.

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I truly feel that this is really something you have to see in person to fully understand it's beauty and importance. I absolutely loved visiting the galleries in Kakadu and even though I only went to two, I can't wait to go back one day and see more (these pictures are from the Anbangbang gallery). It's just so amazing to realise that there were people that were in the same place as you, from thousands of years ago up to as recent as the 1960s - that have shared their culture and stories through paintings that are still here for us to view and appreciate today. It was probably the ultimate highlight of my NT trip, along with Kata Tjuta. . I'm so glad that I now have more connection to our Indigenous culture, since there really needs to be more done in our society to integrate it and for us to have real experiences with it. It shouldn't be used and kept alive just for tourism purposes alone. . I'm also really disappointed that I've seen a painting from this gallery multiple times on Instagram that was asked to not to be photographed. It even has its own hashtag. . I really do believe that there needs to be more ways for us to connect, respect, and appreciate our Indigenous culture, and I believe this can be done through opportunities to experience it. . . . #kakadu#kakadunationalpark#northernterritory#nt#dothent#ntaustralia#australia#aus#ausoutbacknt#topendnt#mytopend#indigenousculture#gallery#artgallery#paintings#aboriginalart#topendart#anbangbang#nourlangie#anbangbanggallery#jabirunt

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  1. Australia’s most spectacular natural infinity pool

Located on Waterfall Creek, Gunlom is a magical combination of waterfall and serene plunge pool, with shady gums cooling the picnic areas. The climb to the top of the waterfall is worth every effort as once there you are greeted with a series of plunge pools, including an infinity-edge rock pool that makes you feel like you are swimming on the edge of the earth. The Gunlom Billabong at the base of the waterfall provides a cool, quiet resting place to relax and take in the wonder around you. The walking route to the top of the falls and lookouts takes approximately one hour over a steep terrain, and provides sweeping panoramic views of the southern most parts of Kakadu National Park.

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An infinity pool on top of a waterfall at sunset, sounds like Instagram O’clock to me!

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  1. Fly like an eagle

Kakadu’s two major waterfalls are a wonder to be seen. During the tropical summer, the torrents of water collect on the Escarpment and pour down the rock faces, creating awesome waterfalls. However in the drier months, these trickling waterfalls are still just as awe-inspiring and best seen from the air. A fixed wing or helicopter aerial tour of Kakadu, including the 200-metre tall Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls is an unforgettable experience, with the experienced pilots able to point out so many of the Kakaku idyllic wonders from the sky above.

  1. The only place to end up in a croc

Crocodiles are at the heart and soul of Kakadu’s heritage and culture. Known in the local language as ‘ginga’, the crocodile itself inspired the now world-famous Crocodile Hotel in the township of Jabiru. Fearsome looking from the air, The Croc – as everyone knows it – is far more welcoming once you enter through its jaws, with comfortable rooms, an excellent restaurant serving the best in bush foods, a large cooling swimming pool and native gardens, and Ochre Art Gallery, where local Indigenous artists share their creative talents with guests as they paint intricate works of art.

Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel is located in Jabiru, the main township of Kakadu. Rooms are available from $159 per night.

Additional accommodation is available at Cooinda Lodge is in the southern part of Kakadu National Park and offers a range of accommodation options including fully-upgraded Lodge rooms (available from $216 per night), Outback Retreat glamping tents (from $170 per night) and extensive grounds for camping and caravans (from $40 per night). Located next to Yellow Water Billabong and a short drive to the Warradjan Cultural Centre, Cooinda Lodge is a welcoming oasis, with two swimming pools, restaurants, a general store, and petrol station.

Book now!

Cooinda Lodge Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel Yellow Water Camping