Nature and culture encounter – 3 days
Immense beauty, diverse wildlife and rich heritage on a three day 2WD outback break.
Nature and rock art
Today, begin your journey to Kakadu, taking in rivers and floodplains and spotting birds of prey along the way.
Depart Darwin at 8.00 am for a 250 km drive to Kakadu stopping at the Corroboree Park Tavern halfway for a refreshment stop. At the Kakadu information bay as you enter the boundaries of the park, grab a pic of your arrival as you are welcomed to the Aboriginal lands of Kakadu National Park.
Then stop at Aurora Kakadu Resort (South Alligator) where you can follow the pretty Gungarre Monsoon Forest and Billabong Walk (3.6 km return walk), a great opportunity to view the diversity of Kakadu’s bird and plant species. Rainbow pittas, orange-footed scrub fowls, fantails, finches, jabirus, eagles and jacanas can all be seen on this one walk!
Then discover some of Kakadu’s 280 bird species at nearby Mamukala Bird Hide (300 m walk).
Drive on to Bowali Visitor Centre to chat with staff and ask them questions. Explore the interpretive displays on natural history, watch some nature documentaries, and browse the local arts, crafts and books on offer at the Marrawuddi Gallery and cafe.
Next, head out to Ubirr rock art site. This moderate walk passes some of Kakadu’s best rock art before a climb to Ubirr Lookout. Sit atop the majestic escarpment and take in the 360 degree view of the Nadab floodplain – the sunsets here are a sky-high panorama of purple, red, yellow and orange.
Tip: Find out about ranger guided walks and talks at Ubirr.
Return to Jabiru and stay at Aurora Kakadu Resort – relax by the pool for dinner and enjoy the spacious, tropical surroundings.
Explore Kakadu through Indigenous eyes
Today, discover our world-class rock art, spot some crocs, take a river cruise, and finish with another famous Kakadu sunset!
From Jabiru, head to the East Alligator River upstream boat ramp. Take the Bardedjilidji Walk (2.5 km walk) through layered sandstone outliers and paperbark woodlands – one of Kakadu’s most interesting short walks. Many Kakadu animals live here, like the northern quoll, barrk (black wallaroo) and short-beaked echidna.
Next, take a journey back in time on a guided Guluyambi Cultural Boat Cruise – learn about local Aboriginal culture and the ways Bininj have lived in harmony with their environment for many thousands of years.
In the afternoon, head to Nourlangie (Burrungkuy) rock art site and lookout (1 km return walk). You’ll wind through shaded rock shelters, an ancient occupational shelter and several outstanding rock art sites, discovering the way life used to be for Bininj.
Climb the slope to Nawurlandja Lookout with its fantastic views of the escarpment. Follow this with a walk around Anbangbang Billabong (2.5 km loop walk) – a tranquil and picturesque place to spot birds and wildlife. In the early mornings and evenings, agile wallabies move out of the woodlands to graze beneath the paperbark trees by the billabong.
Make your way to the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre for stories about Kakadu’s Indigenous and European history.
Enjoy the Yellow Water Wetlands sunset cruise – this Ramsar wetland is home to hundreds of birds and animal species, and the sunset is a highlight. Take your camera!
Stay overnight at Cooinda Lodge – there’s often local cuisine on the menu, like barramundi. The resort also has a swimming pool, store and fuel.
A beautiful day in the stone country
On day three head south into Jawoyn and enjoy a beautiful day in the stone country.
Stop at Mary River Ranger Station to check out the old mining equipment and read stories about the Jawoyn people’s fight for land rights (leave caravans here then head to Gunlom).
Next, take the gravel road to Gunlom Falls in stone country and explore the magnificent waterfalls top and bottom. The top rock pools include a natural infinity pool with breathtaking views over Kakadu. You’ll want to spend some quality time in Gunlom so bring water and plenty of snacks, or a picnic lunch.
After an afternoon of swimming in wilderness rock pools say ‘bobo’ (farewell) to Kakadu. Begin your return journey to Darwin via the south of the park. Stop at Mary River Roadhouse for fuel, snacks and drinks, and again at Emerald Springs Roadhouse for a late afternoon meal and some friendly NT chat from the staff.