In Australian’s Northern Territory, roughly 150kms out of Darwin, is an enormous national park that serves as the perfect destination for outback adventure. Nature-lovers and thrill-seekers alike will appreciate the beauty, recreation opportunities and scenery of the Kakadu National Park. Discover what the largest park in Australia has to offer visitors and how you should make the most of your time there.
The History of Kakadu
The national park of Kakadu is actually relatively new, having been established in 1981. However, its history stretches back much further than that. The land that the park is made up of has traditionally been aboriginal land, and even today the area is jointly governed by aboriginal tribes like the Gun-djeihmi, Krakeourtinnie and Jawoyn peoples as well as Parks Australia. The name itself, Kakadu, comes from an aboriginal language called Gagudju, which is still spoken today in some parts of Northern Australia.
Major Attractions in Kakadu
Some of the biggest attractions in Kakadu are the aboriginal rock art sites. Ubirr, for example, is a collection of art showcased on the red rocks along a roughly half-mile walking path. Nourlangie Rock is much larger, and it has been decorated for centuries as aboriginal people sought shelter underneath the rock during bad weather. To learn more about Kakadu, attractions like the Bowali Visitor Centre and the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre can be a fascinating introduction to the UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. Of scenic note are attractions like the Yellow Water Billabong, which is home to wildlife like buffalo and crocodiles, the stunning Twin Falls and the beautiful as well as refreshing Gunlom Plunge Pool (in the picture).
Thrills and Recreation in Kakadu
Aside from simply admiring the unparalleled scenery and natural attractions in Kakadu, there are a variety of ways to stay active and have an outdoor adventure within the park. Walking or hiking is a popular option, and the Bardedjilidji Walk is one of the most stunning and clearly-marked paths that takes about 90 minutes to complete. Along the Yurmikmik Walks, there are several swimming holes perfect for a quick dip as well as numerous waterfalls worth standing under for a thrill. Visitors might also want to hire a boat to explore the birds and crocodiles of Corroboree, or they can extend the trip by adding in a night or two of camping at Merl.
Travel Tips and Recommendations for Visitors
Most visitors arrive at Kakadu via the Arnhem Highway from Darwin, a journey that typically takes three to four hours by car. The park itself doesn’t have much in the way of dining or accommodation, but the small nearby town of Jabiru offers limited accommodation as well as a supermarket and several restaurants. For more upscale accommodation, some travelers prefer the comforts of hotels in Darwin like the Élan Soho Suites. It’s just over three hours by car, with most of the journey along the scenic stretch of Arnhem Highway.
Kakadu National Park is an incredible destination full of breathtaking vistas. Anyone with plans to visit Australia’s Northern Territory should spend at least one day exploring the park.