Kakadu National Park is the archetype of Northern Australia, with picturesque examples of its unique flora, fauna and landscapes. Lewis Burnett had his camera at the ready as he travelled through the wetlands and gorges. Let his photos do the talking.
There’s something ancient about this rugged landscape. From the moment you watch your first sunset you’ll understand why the Bininj people are so proud to call these lands home.
The UNESCO World Heritage listed park lies about 350km east of Darwin in the Northern Territory. It’s the largest national park in Australia and by far the most varied. 75% of the park’s 20,000km2 are wetlands and one third of Australia’s bird species call this place home.
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There are only two towns in the park so finding somewhere to base your adventures in Kakadu National Park is an easy choice. Jabiru is a mining town built to service the Uranium mine in the north and serves as a great start to exploring the northern end of the park.
Ubirr is known for its amazing rock art and extensive views over the wetlands. It’s the perfect spot to spend an evening watching the sun drop as it paints the skies with firey hues. Be sure to stay until just after dark to see the swarms of flying foxes take off for an evening of hunting.
When exploring the central and southern parts of the park your best bet is to stay in Cooinda. It’s a 5 minute walk from the Yellow Water billabong, a goldmine for wildlife lovers. Wetland birds, eagles, snakes, brumbies and wallabies are all a daily sight and if you’re really lucky, you can spot a pair of brolgas doing their famous dance.
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At sunrise and sunset you can spot the wetland’s most famous inhabitants, saltwater crocodiles, in staggering numbers, from the safety of a cruise boat.
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If a crocodile free, crystal clear, swimming hole sounds like something up your alley then head to Maguk. Also known as Barramundi Gorge, Maguk is the hidden gem of Kakadu National Park. A short half-hour walk from the carpark along a rocky stream leads you to this magical swimming hole, complete with its very own waterfall.
Make sure to bring a snorkel and mask, the water is jam-packed with a massive variety of freshwater fish and turtles!
You can hike to the top of the waterfall and explore the deep canyons and cliffs that form the upper reaches of this stream.
As with everything in life the harder you work the larger the reward and this is most definitely the case with Jim Jim Falls. After an hour driving down one of the worst corrugated roads in Australia and then half an hour of some pretty serious four wheel driving you’ll reach the base of a valley. The next hour is spent picking your way through and over boulders the size of small cars to reach the first of two huge crystal clear freshwater pools.
Only accessible in the dry season, this 175m tall waterfall is certainly worth the effort to get to! Complete with its own white sand beach and super deep (and often cold) plunge pool, this has to be the highlight of Kakadu National Park. Don’t worry the crocs can’t get you up there either!
Jim Jim Falls
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