There is so much to see and do in Kakadu National Park that it can be challenging to decide where to start… Even though we say any time in Kakadu is better than no time at all, we recommend putting an absolute minimum of three days aside to visit the park. Four to five days are even better, particularly if you would like to embark on some of the longer walks, and include some relaxing time at the breathtaking waterholes and around camp.
1. Jim Jim Falls
Sorry to be predictable, but Jim Jim Falls have got to be on the list. Jim Jim Gorge is one of the most spectacular of the publicly accessible gorges in Kakadu! The walk up the gorge to the beach and base of the falls is so much fun, and the refreshing swim at the large plunge pool, or the beach is just the best. All this while admiring the striking beauty of this imposing natural masterpiece. To be able to visit Jim Jim Falls, you will need to be in Kakadu between July and October when the walking track is open or visitors. If you are visiting Kakadu earlier in the Year, you can take a scenic flight over the area to witness the falls still flowing. To hike the gorge and reach the falls by foot, you will need to be able to scramble and make your way over sandy slippery rocks and boulders- the closer you get to the falls, the bigger the boulders. Make sure you bring plenty of water and snacks or a picnic, as this walk can take longer than you might expect. Even though the walk is only 900 meters in length from the car park, expect to take approximately one hour to complete each way. This is a return walk.
2. Warradjan Cultural Centre
If you are interested in the indigenous culture and history of the area, which really should be part of any visit to Kakadu, the cultural centre is a must! It’s easy to spend over an hour here depending on your level of interest- there are plenty of displays and lots to read, with the information very well presented. It is also a great stop for families as there are many visual displays and things to try out and learn- for example about the local seasons, traditional bush foods, and the indigenous kinship system.
3. Nourlangie area
To view some of the most outstanding examples of indigenous rock art in the area, head to Nourlangie. The sites are easily accessible regardless of your fitness level, and the art is truly stunning! Rock art has been maintained by the local custodians, so the most important images and stories are still very vivid. There are also information boards that explain the stories behind many of the images. If you are here at the right time, you can catch a ranger talk- or even better- bring your own knowledgeable guide by booking a quality guided Kakadu Tour– the best stories are not on the information boards.
4. Gunlom Falls
Ready for another waterfall? Gunlom Falls are a great choice early in the season when the top and bottom pools are still fresh with clear wet season run off. The area usually opens around Easter each year. You have the choice between the relatively short but steep and rocky climb to the top of the falls, where you can take a refreshing swim in Kakadu’s now Instagram famous “natural infinity pool”. This has to be one of the most Instagrammed features in all of Australia right now! Bring sturdy footwear, as reaching the top infinity pool is a challenging walk not for the faint hearted. Flip flops (thongs) are definitely not recommended! If you prefer to take it easy, you can stay at the bottom pool and relax on the beach while taking a dip in the large plunge pool.
5. Gubarra Springs
Most people would not have heard of Gubarra Springs, but that doesn’t make them any less enticing than many other attractions in the park. These springs are best visited in the shoulder season between February and April, and offer nice respite from the warmer weather. The walk to the springs is moderately challenging, and when you get there you enter a true oasis. The great thing is that once there, you can explore the area at your own pace; there is plenty of shady beneath the monsoon canopy to relax and enjoy while surrounded by nature. Bring a picnic and enjoy the day!
Of course we are not giving away any secrets here, you will need to come on tour with us to get to the best spots 🙂
Caution: Remember to be crocwise and always observe crocodile warning and walking track signage while exploring Kakadu National Park. Kakadu is an extremely challenging raw, rich and dramatic landscape, with huge rewards for the adventurous traveller.