Kakadu National Park

Stand in the shadow of vast stone escarpments, swim in stunning plunge pools, and hike to restricted areas of rich beauty in an unforgettable week.

Day one – Welcome to Kakadu

Begin your cultural exploration with a leisurely drive from Darwin to Kakadu.

Get away early and stop in at Fogg Dam Conservation Area to engage with local Aboriginal people, the environment and wildlife at Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tours.

Take a selfie at the park entry before stopping at Aurora Kakadu Resort (South Alligator) for a snack. While there, you can discover some of Kakadu’s 280 bird species at Mamukala Bird Hide (300 m walk).

Spend the afternoon at Bowali Visitor Centre, chat with staff about your trip and find out about Kakadu’s history. You can watch documentaries and also explore the local Indigenous arts, crafts and books at the Marrawuddi Gallery and cafe.

Stay at Anbinik Resort in Jabiru for your first night where you can also stock up on fuel and food at the supermarket, and enjoy a meal at the Crocodile Hotel.

Tip: Check for ranger guided activities during your visit.

The world's oldest living culture

Get acquainted with the park’s world-renowned rock art, count crocodiles, take a river cruise, and finish with a famous Kakadu sunset on day two.

Have an early breakfast before heading to Ubirr rock art site. A short walk passes some of Kakadu’s most famous rock art before a short, steep climb to Ubirr lookout gives you a view that never disappoints.

Stop at the Border Store for lunch before doing some crocodile spotting at Cahills Crossing.

Nearby the wheelchair friendly Manngarre Walk (1.2 km return walk), which starts near East Alligator River downstream boat ramp, takes you through monsoon rainforest with iconic wildlife including scrub fowl and flying foxes.

In the afternoon, get aboard the guided Guluyambi Cultural Boat Cruise and discover ancient Indigenous stories and activities.

For an amazing sunset experience, return to Ubirr Lookout and sit back with the family in the backyard of the world’s oldest continuing culture.

Stay overnight in Jabiru.

Feel the spirits on country

Today you’ll feel the spirits on country before ending the day cruising through the Yellow Water Wetlands, surrounded by crocodiles and flocks of majestic water birds.

From Jabiru make your way to Nourlangie (Burrungkuy) rock art site and lookout (1 km return walk). A ranger-guided tour takes you through shaded rock shelters, an ancient occupational shelter and several major rock art sites. Your ranger will share stories about the way Bininj have lived on country for thousands of years. 

Next stop is Nawurlandja Lookout with its fantastic views of the escarpment. Follow this with a quiet walk around Anbangbang Billabong (2.5 km loop walk), spot birds and wildlife, and enjoy a picnic lunch.

Tip: See the ranger guided activities in the area

After lunch continue your journey through this dual World Heritage-listed park with a trip to Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre. Discover stories about Kakadu’s living Indigenous culture and European history. Look out for interactive displays of weaving and painting and talk to the artists. 

Enjoy a Yellow Water Wetlands sunset cruise in the afternoon. This stunning waterway is home to hundreds of birds and animal species, and the sunset is a serene highlight.

Stay overnight at Cooinda Lodge or campground. Both the cabins and campground are popular with families and have a great atmosphere. The lodge also has a store, fuel, meals and swimming pool available. Alternatively, head to Mardugal Campground (6 km from Cooinda) or stay at Kakadu Billabong Safari Camp.

Jim Jim and Twin Falls

Today is about towering cliffs and dramatic beauty as you drive to Jim Jim and Twin Falls, deep in Kakadu. These sites are well off the beaten track and popular with all ages.

Leave early for Twin Falls. A 4WD (with snorkel) is essential for this leg of your trip and it’s a long drive, so take a comfort stop at Garnamarr Campground.

At Twin Falls a boat cruise will take you to a short walking track and floating boardwalk ultimately arriving at a white sandy beach at the base of this majestic waterfall where you can enjoy a quiet picnic.

Tip: If you don’t have a 4WD you can still visit Jim Jim and Twin Falls with a guided tour.

After lunch, Budjmi Lookout Walk provides a beautiful spot to sit quietly and look out over the woodlands and escarpment cliffs.

Finish the day at Jim Jim Falls Plunge Pool Walk (suitable for older children). You can also hike into the heart of the gorge and sit in the shadow of the spectacular cliffs.

Check the croc warning signs for safety.

An alternative option is to take a guided tour to Jim Jim and Twin Falls if you don’t want to drive yourself. Tours depart from Cooinda.

Stay overnight at Cooinda.

Tip: Check your rental car agreement before attempting to cross Jim Jim Creek, and find out road conditions in the Kakadu access report.

Sparkling plunge pools at Maguk and Gunlom

Day five brings more spectacular beauty – this time at Maguk and Gunlom Falls where you can slip into cool sparkling plunge pools, enjoy spectacular views, and do some camping.

After breakfast, grab a packed lunch, jump in your 4WD, and head from Cooinda to Maguk Falls (2 km return walk from Maguk day use area car park). After a walk over rocks you’ll find the fantastic plunge pool, perfect for swimming, snorkelling, or relaxing.

To get a sense of stone country, drop into Bukbukluk Lookout (400 m return walk) for beautiful views, bird calls and to see what’s in flower.

Check out the Mary River Ranger Station’s mining relics and take a comfort stop.

Continue your adventure by heading off on the gravel road to Gunlom Falls. Explore this magnificent waterfall top and bottom – a great place for the kids to swim and play. A 2 km return climb takes you to the natural infinity pool at the top of the waterfall that has breathtaking views over southern Kakadu. At the lower plunge pool you’ll feel like you’re on the set of Crocodile Dundee.

Stay overnight at Gunlom Campground which has showers, toilets and fire pits. It’s a popular place for families to camp and the picnic area has free Wi-Fi and gas barbecues.

Jawoyn – a restricted area rich in beauty

Visit Jawoyn stone country for some of the best bushwalking tracks in Kakadu, and reach hidden swimming spots on day six.

Take a picnic lunch and plenty of drinking water today. If you have a 4WD explore Jarrangbarnmi (a permit can be obtained in advance from the Kakadu permit officer). This is one of Kakadu’s hidden gems with rugged beauty, spectacular cascades and waterholes, as well as diverse and rare plants and animals. Apply for a permit early as only a limited number of people are allowed into this area at any one time.

Those with a 2WD can visit the Yurmikmik Walks. This series of interconnected walking tracks provides a wonderful experience for the family. Walks range from short to long including Boulder Creek Walk (2 km return walk) and Motor Car Falls (7.5 km return walk).

Camp overnight at Jarrangbarnmi or return to Gunlom Campground.

On day seven say a fond farewell to Kakadu

As you leave Gunlom, drop into the small but historic Callahan’s Hut, for a taste of an early pioneer lifestyle. 

Stop off at the Mary River Roadhouse for an ice-cream, fuel and a bathroom break.

Relax on the three-hour drive back to Darwin, stopping at Emerald Springs Roadhouse for a quick break. Or, if you can’t get enough, turn south and explore Nitmuluk National Park (Katherine Gorge).