Tropical summer break – 3 days
Embrace culture, nature and adventure in the wet season. From world-class rock art to spectacular wetlands and a mind-blowing view of the park from above.
Nourlangie and Nawurlandja
Snap an iconic holiday shot as you enter the Kakadu park boundary before dropping into Bowali Visitor Centre to meet staff and discuss your trip.
Before you set off into the park, take a stroll through the nature displays. It’s a great way to see why Kakadu is a dual World Heritage-listed national park. Catch a Kakadu documentary, and browse the local arts, crafts and books on offer at the Marrawuddi Gallery and café.
Tip: See what ranger guided tours are on during your visit.
Make Nourlangie (Burrungkuy) rock art site and lookout your next stop (1 km return walk). The dramatic stone escarpments here are a wondrous sight. Slow things down and let the stresses of day-to-day life slip away. Take your time winding through shaded rock shelters and past several outstanding rock art sites. There’s an abundance of birds here – listen to the calls of the helmeted friarbirds or try to spot emerald doves and banded fruit-doves darting about the tree canopies.
Climb nearby Nawurlandja Lookout to be rewarded with tremendous views of the park. This is a magical spot to relax and watch the sunset. Amazing storms often roll in and put on a dramatic lightshow during the tropical summer.
Stay overnight in Jabiru at the Crocodile Hotel where you can take a swim, and eat modern Australian foods including local fresh fish. Refuel and restock at the Jabiru supermarket.
In the air, on the water
During the tropical summer the landscape is a lush green, the rivers and billabongs are brimming and the spectacular waterfalls are flowing. The best way to see country at this time is by air and getting out on the water.
Take a scenic flight from Jabiru Airport and experience the grandeur of Australia’s largest national park in full-flow.
Return to Jabiru and stretch your legs with a peaceful walk around the Jabiru Lake – take a picnic lunch with you.
Join a Guluyambi tour guide after lunch for a journey across the flooded Magela plain to Ubirr rock art site. Flooded grasses wave in the crystal clear waters as you glide past. Your Aboriginal guide will give you an insight into culture and bush survival skills in this enormous park.
At Ubirr, the moderate walk passes some of Kakadu’s best rock art before a climb to Ubirr lookout. Here you’ll stop to soak up one of Kakadu’s most stunning views – a 360-degree panorama of the Nadab floodplain, complete with colourful sunset.
After all the fantastic fresh air, enjoy dinner and get an early night in Jabiru, ready for an early start.
Wetlands and stone country
Your day begins at sunrise floating through wetlands and watching nature come to life. You then head to breath-taking stone country, (the home of Kakadu’s Jawoyn people) to experience Kakadu the traditional way, walking on country.
Leave Jabiru at 5.45 am and drive 45 minutes to Yellow Water Wetlands for an unforgettable sunrise cruise followed by breakfast. The cruise gives you a close-up view of the masses of crocs living in the river, and you’ll see many iconic Top End bird species. Brolgas, comb-crested jacanas, herons, cormorants, eagles, kingfishers and many more will feed, forage and flutter for your pleasure. Don’t forget your camera!
Around mid-morning visit the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre for a fascinating explanation of Kakadu’s living cultural heritage and European history. You’ll see many artefacts, hear about kinship and personal stories from local Bininj.
Stock up on snacks at Cooinda for a picnic lunch before heading south to Bukbukluk Lookout (400 m gentle return walk) for beautiful vistas of stone country and Old Goodparla station. Keep an eye out for birds and wallabies.
Follow the gravel Gunlom road to Yurmikmik and take the track to Boulder Creek (2 km return walk) or Motor Car Falls (7.5 km return walk). This is a stunning part of Kakadu that’s popular with locals. At this time of year the surroundings are unbelievably green and fragrant. Sit and enjoy a picnic lunch in a truly unspoilt wilderness.
Say ‘bobo’ (farewell) to Kakadu and relax on the three hour drive back to Darwin. If you need a break, stop at Emerald Springs Roadhouse to hold onto that holiday feeling a little longer.