Traveling in Kakadu National Park is a unique experience and should have a place on your bucket list. This enormous park is located in Australia’s Northwest Territory three hours from Darwin within the Alligator Rivers Region. 20,000 square kilometers in size, it hosts 8 distinct habitats, 2000 plant species, 1/3 of the nation’s birds, ¼ of the nation’s fish, 60 mammals, and 100 reptiles. Established in 1979, it is listed as a UNESCO World heritage site. This article will give you some ideas about the art of hassle free travel in Australia’s largest national park.
What you will see
Here you will find wetlands, rainforests, waterfalls, rivers, shorelines, ancient plunge pools, mangroves, and much more. You will also find unusual geological features such as escarpments, which are long steep slopes or cliffs that separate two areas with different elevations, and billabongs, which are ponds left behind when rivers change course.
This protected area and popular tourist attraction is also known for its Aboriginal rock art. Aboriginal traditional owners and the Australian government jointly manage half of the land. 500 aboriginal people live in the park and Aboriginal people have occupied it for at least 50,000 years.
Learning about Aboriginal people’s culture and creativity is one of the highlights of this awesome park. There are some 5000 art sites at the park. Nourlangie, Ubirr, and Naguluwar are the most visited locations and have Aboriginal rock paintings dating to prehistoric times.
Where to stay
If you are looking for hassle free accommodations, you won’t be disappointed. You will have your choice of hotels, motels, bush camping sites, campgrounds, caravan parks, resorts, and wilderness retreats.
How to get around
The best ways to see this amazing national park are by off road vehicle and on foot. If you limit yourself to the main roads, you will miss many of the greatest sights so consider taking a boat cruise through the wetlands or a chartered flight for an aerial view of the park. Getting a 4 wheel drive vehicle or taking a 4 wheel drive tour will give you access to more spectacular sights that you might not be able to get to on regular roads or by foot.
If you want a hassle free trip, it is important to know how to stay safe. Be aware that saltwater crocodiles are present throughout the waters of this national park. And because there is not reliable cell phone service, you should avoid traveling alone. If you do plan to go out on your own, be sure someone knows where you are going.
How long to stay
While it is possible to make this a day trip from Darwin, you won’t get a full experience of the park in just one day. For a hassle free trip that isn’t rushed, plan to spend at least three days exploring the park. If you have more time, that would be even better.
What is the weather like? When is the best time to come?
The year can be divided into roughly two seasons, the dry season running from May to October and the wet running from November to April. While the park is open year round, most visitors come in dry season when more roads are open. However there are some advantages to coming in the wet season. In the wet season, you will experience more color and waterfalls and floodplains that can be explored by boat. Since most visitors come in the dry season, the park will be much less crowded, but the weather will be hot and humid.
What to do in the wet season
If you decide to come to avoid the hassle of crowds, you will still find plenty of things to do. You will be able to drive through some parts of the park, although some roads are 4 wheel drive only or are closed during the wet season. You can take a scenic flight to the Jim Jim and Twin Falls waterfalls or cruise the floodplains on the iconic Yellow Water cruise. You can cross the Magela wetlands to get to the Ubirr rock art site, go fishing, walk to the plunge pools and take a refreshing swim, or check out the Mamukala Wetlands.
Should you take a tour?
This decision really comes down to your personal preference and how much time you have. If you don’t have much time for planning and for your trip, a tour will help you have a hassle free experience and get more out of your time. There are different types of tours, so you can pick one that matches your interests.
A tour will take you to the best spots and provide you with information about culture, history, plants, and wildlife. If you don’t mind traveling with groups and sticking to a schedule, a tour is a great way to go. There are hundreds of tours available ranging from coach tours, camping tours, and safari tours. Most tours last about 3 days and will take you to the most popular sights. Tours are efficient ways to see more parts of the park. You won’t have to spend time planning so you will have more time to enjoy the views.
If you have the time to do your own research and prefer to do your own thing, you can organize your own trip. However some people find organizing a trip to be more stressful. You will need to research places to stay, spend time getting a car and supplies, and find your way around the park.
As you can see, there are many choices to make if you are planning a visit to Australia’s largest national park. In addition to deciding when to come, where to stay, how long to stay, and how to get around, you will also need to consider whether to take a tour or travel on your own. Finally you will need to choose which sights to see. With an such a wide array of things to see and do, you will have no trouble filling up your time on your hassle free vacation.