Australia & NZ
Complete Guide to Kakadu National Park
The park is naturally composed of seven areas: East Alligator, South Alligator, Jabiru, Nourlangie, Yellow Water,
The East Alligator area is located in the Northeast of the park and includes Ubirr, a sacred Aboriginal site famous for its rock art. Some of the rock art here was created over 20,000 years ago while most of it was created about 2000 years ago. It should be noted that the Aborigines, or the â€˜Traditional Ownersâ€™ as they are commonly referred to, request that no alcohol be consumed here. Getting to this site requires only a 1 kilometer hike. A short, steep hike atop a rock formation is an ideal place for viewing sunsets.
A boat tour can also be booked up the estuary to the Border Store, located near Ubirr. These guided journeys feature lectures on Aboriginal culture. Huge saltwater crocodiles inhabit the river, the largest crocodiles in the world. Other wildlife commonly viewed along the river includes water pythons, geese, herons, ibises, and spoonbills.
Other highlights of this area include The Bardedjilidji walk where beautiful sandstone formations can be viewed and the Manngarre walk through a real rain forest. There is also the Cahills Crossing picnic area over the river where the local saltwater crocodiles can be viewed. Boat ramps are located north and south of the picnic area. Camping is allowed in the area at
The South Alligator area is located in the north-central region of the park and includes the Mamukala Wetlands where thousands of magpie geese feed during the late dry season from September through October. There are two hiking trails 1 kilometer and 3 kilometers in length for experiencing the Wetlands and there is an observation platform for viewing the geese in action.
Other highlights include the Gungarre Walk through woodlands around the billabong (oxbow lake). It should be noted that saltwater crocodiles are common inhabitants of the billabong, so caution should be exercised. There is also a picnic area near the
The Aurora Kakadu is a full service motel complete with restaurants, bars, a tennis court and swimming pool located within the circular Gungarre Walk. Free camping, with no facilities, is allowed at Two Mile Hole, Four Mile Hole, Waldak Irrmbal, Red Lily Billabong and Alligator Billabong along the four-wheel drive tracks.
The Jabiru area is located to the east of the South Alligator area in the east-central area of the park. The Bowali Visitor Centre is located here and is an excellent place to visit for a thorough education about
Accommodations here range from a Holiday Inn to bush camping. The Gagudju Holiday Inn is a complete, full-service hotel with standard rooms, restaurant, and swimming pool. Commercial tours can be booked here also. There are also cabins and tent sites that can be booked within Kakadu Lodge and
Nourlangie is located to the south of the Jabiru area in the east-central region of the park. Here more Aborigine rock art and an ancient Aborigine shelter can be viewed along a nature walk. A steep climb ending at the Gunwarddehwardde lookout provides an excellent vista of the rock formations including the ancient Aborigine ancestral home called Nourlangie Rock.
Nourlangie is a hikerâ€™s paradise with several trails through diverse natural settings. These include the Nawurlandja Walk providing views of rock formations and the Anbangbang Billabong, the Nanguluwur Walk within the woodlands past some more Aborigine rock art, the half-day Gubara Walk past sandstone cliffs and monsoon forests, the Bubba Walk through wetlands, and the more difficult Mirrai Lookout Walk to the top of Mount Cahill. There is also a picnic area located near Anbangbang Billabong.
Camping is available for a fee at
To the south of the South Alligator area in the very center of
There are two nature walks: around the Mardugal Billabong, and the Gungardun through the surrounding woodlands. Boat ramps are located at Jim Jim Billabong, Yellow Water, and Mardugal Billabong. Accommodations include the Gagudju Cooinda Lodge with motel rooms and tent sites. A restaurant and swimming pool are located at the Lodge. The Mardugal Camping Area, with toilets, showers and generators, is available for a fee and free bush camping with very limited facilities is available at Jim Jim Billabong and Black Jungle Spring.
In the southeast section of the park is the
Another trek in the
For those without snorkel-equipped four-wheel drive vehicles, there is a picnic area just before
The Garnamarr Campground is located along the
The Yurmikmik walk is composed of separate but interconnected walks that go along Boulder Creek, Yurmikmik Lookout, the
For accommodations, the Wirnwirnmila Mary River Road House, owned by the local Jawoyn people, is equipped with motel rooms, and offers backpacker accommodations and camping. The Gunlom Camping Area is a fee-based camping site with access to complete facilities and generators. Free bush camping is also available at Maguk and Gungurul where there are basic camping facilities and there is another bush campground at Kambolgie with no toilet facilities or drinking water.