Kakadu National Park Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by sirgaw
  • Animal Skeleton by Gerowie Creek
    Animal Skeleton by Gerowie Creek
    by AlbuqRay
  • Buffalo Horns at Old Goodparla Homestead
    Buffalo Horns at Old Goodparla Homestead
    by AlbuqRay

Most Recent Things to Do in Kakadu National Park

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    Yellow Waters area

    by sirgaw Written Aug 10, 2012
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    In addition to the disappointment I felt for having only a marginal contact with the Kakadu traditional owners, to us the Yellow Waters area was also disappointing – with the exception of the excellent Warradjan Aborginal Cultural Centre.

    OK the ‘bad stuff first.

    We didn’t want to go on a cruise of the wetlands as we had pre-booked a cruise in Katherine Gorge for the next day. Yes it would have been great to do another cruise, but we needed to stretch our tourist dollars and try and not duplicate experiences. We had wanted to at least walk along Yellow Water Walk. The excellent visitors guide quotes: “Yellow Water is part of the South Alligator River floodplain. A boardwalk provides good views of Yellow Water’s wildlife. When the waters recede, a 2.6 km return walk takes you across the floodplains to a viewing platform on Home Billabong.” We visited the area in July 2012 and had noticed that billabongs and other water features elsewhere had dried up. We visited the information section of Gagudju Lodge Cooinda that the viewing platform was under water. As we had managed to get to 2 boat ramps on the water we felt we were being strung a line (lied to) so that we would be forced to purchase cruise tickets.

    We walked around the Gagudju Lodge Cooinda area at about the time it was feeding time at the zoo for 2 rowdy bus groups. Luckily we had brought along our own food and drink and found a place in the shade to enjoy without being jostled by others.

    The Warradjan Aborginal Cultural Centre however was great with so much to learn. I would have liked to have been able to photograph some of the excellent displays, but sadly photography is not allowed (don’t know why). One did read:
    “Hunting is part of our lives,
    In Balanda Society.
    Instead of hunting,
    You go shopping.
    We hunt for wildlife, our food,
    To keep the tradition going.”
    Mick Alderson – Murumburr Clan

    The interesting displays ended as in so many other tourist places – “Exit through the gift shop please.”

    I was quite amused at the little plaques advising which of the ‘little rooms’ was for each of the sexes and when no one was watching managed to snap off a shot of each – the ‘women’s secret business’ room is shown – LOL (Australians will appreciate the term ‘women’s secret business’)

    The last 2 photos are of the upper reaches of the wetlands and photographed from a road bridge on Kakadu Highway.

    Allow at least an hour to visit the cultural centre which is located on page 27 of the guide. The area is shown on pages 41/42 – Yellow Water Region in the guide.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Birdwatching
    • Road Trip

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    Bowali Visitors Centre

    by sirgaw Updated Aug 9, 2012
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    “Our land has a big story. Sometimes we tell a little bit at a time. Come and hear our stories, see our land. A little bit might stay in your hearts. if you want more, you can come back...” Jacob Nayinggul – Manilakarr Clan

    I consider this very interesting visitor’s centre a must-do when visiting Kakadu. Yes I have been rightly critical of having almost no contact with the traditional owners of the area; the visitors centre did give us the opportunity to learn from the displays some of the features – natural and otherwise – of the park and surrounds, but at the time of my visit was not staffed by Aboriginals.

    Firstly there was a topographical map showing how the park is made up with the large ‘slash’ representing the all-important escarpment that divides the park into 'the stone country' and the savanna. Then there is a fixed display area which displays just some of the fauna and flora of the region and in some cases the links to the Aboriginal people (read tasty tucker if you like – LOL). This area also contained a mining/exploration display and included a working Geiger counter, the piece of equipment so important in locating uranium deposits. Sadly the area also included photos and stories of the exploitation of Aboriginal people by Europeans over too long a period – I do symphathise with the Aboriginals over their treatment in connection to ‘the stolen generation’ and felt ‘Sorry’ should have included exploitation.

    There was a very well stocked information area where the visitors pass can be purchased (cost $25 per person) and maps, information guides on specific points of interest are in most cases freely available.

    We viewed the video presentation in the theatre and saw the season changes that we were not able to witness during our 3 day visit during the dry ‘cooler’ season (July 2012).

    By the time the video had finished the remainder of the visitors centre was closed (or closing) and therefore we did not get a chance to view the works of art on display and for sale in the gallery. There is also an on-site café, which like the gallery had closed up for the day.

    As we were walking back to the car park we happened to notice the hen like bird shown in photo 5 looking for food. In earlier times I felt it would have been more wary of becoming a tasty meal itself.

    Allow at least 2 hours to fully explore the excellent visitor’s centre, which strangely is not located at the town of Jabiru, but rather 6 km away at an isolated spot – see page 26. Also see page 28 for some information on the ranger talk locations.

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    Border Store (Manbiyarr) & Cahills Crossing area

    by sirgaw Written Aug 9, 2012
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    In addition to the amazing Ubirr and Nadab Lookout in the East Alligator River Region of Kakadu National Park is the Manngarre rainforest walk, Cahills Crossing, a boat ramp where we watched fishermen and crocs in action and the Border Store. There are other features in the area, but I’ll only comment on what we did.

    Boat Ramp

    Although we are not fishermen or women it was quite interesting to watch a guy trying his luck from the bank of the river while keeping a wary eye for cruising crocs. We were even more amazed at 2 guys in an aluminum runabout who also had been busy out on the water. They firstly pulled in as close as possible to the ramp and while one got the 4WD and trailer, the other got his craft ready to come ashore and stow the boat on the trailer – and all this was happening while crocs cruised looking for a meal. We even saw one of the boat guys wading in the murky water splashing around as he tied the boat to the trailer. Not sure if crocs can say yum or not, but if I hear of guys in boats being plagued by hungry crocs . . .

    Cahills Crossing

    About 50 metres up stream from the boat ramp is the 4WD only road access to Arnhem Land (Permit from Northern Land Council required for entry.Tel: 08 8938 3000) and very much a no-go for visitors without a permit or a 4WD. The crossing is partly submerged in the very murky East Alligator River.

    Manngarre rainforest walk

    Although quite short, the rainforest walk is never-the-less quite beautiful and starts/finishes close to the boat ramp and associated car park. Allow 15-20 minutes for the shorter walk and more for a choice of 3 other walks.

    It is strongly suggested that visitors carry their own water supply, wear a hat, cover up against the sun and wear both sunscreen and insect repellant. Please remember to rest if you get weary.

    Border Store (Manbiyarr)

    We stopped at the ramshackle collection of buildings that make up the store, café and owner/managers family accommodation and really just wanted a cold drink each which we found to be very expensive at $9 for a can of Coke and a small carton of flavoured milk – Lady Gaw’s choice. Now I say expensive, but then again everything else is dear and it must be remembered that businesses such as this really close down for 5 – 6 months of the year when access is impossible owning to the vast rivers of water flowing through the area.

    It was at Manbiyarr where we were able to watch one of the very few Aboriginals we met going about his artistic work (see photo and he is painting an ant eater with an army of ‘tasty’.ants. We were unsure on how we should approach the ‘local’ and did seek guidance from those working in the border store – they suggested giving money for cigarettes, but seeing that I am a recent convert to the land of no smokes, I was very reluctant to give someone money for the very thing that I’d had a lot of trouble quitting.

    All up an interesting way to spend a few hours before venturing to amazing Ubirr.

    Web site below is the official Kakadu National Park Visitors Guide – see page 38/39 for further details and other places of interest in the East Alligator River area and located some 47 km from Jabiru township.

    Related to:
    • Fishing
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip

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    Ubirr and Nadab Lookout

    by sirgaw Updated Aug 9, 2012
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    The second memorable knock dead WOW and OMG factor highlight of a mostly disappointing visit to Kakadu National Park was Ubirr (pronounced ‘You Beer’) and the Nadab lookout, which was stunningly beautiful at sunset as we watched the sun set over the almost dry Nadab flood plain – and I would have loved to see that during the wet season when almost the entire scene would have been a sea of fresh water.

    We got to the Ubirr area just after an English born lady ranger started a talk on the fabulous rock art in the main gallery. I just wished we’d arrived a little earlier and I’d had a recording devise to capture the stories of the rock art. Sadly it was just a blur of memory from an exciting day that still had a long way to go.

    We were told to scramble up a steepish climb to the amazing Nadab rock and lookout where we were given another talk by the very knowledgeable English woman (photoed). As I said on the main page for Kakadu, I really would have liked to have seen and heard the great stories the woman ranger told to us by an Aboriginal person.

    However there are a number of interpretive signs in the area. One is titled:

    THE SPIRIT OF THE LAND

    Aboriginal people belong to their land. The soul of a person os born from the land and returns to it after death.

    ‘Earth
    Like your father, or brother or mother
    Because you born from Earth
    You got to come back to Earth,
    When you dead . . .
    That’s your bone,
    Your blood,
    It’s in this Earth’

    Bill Neidjie – who also asks YOU TO CARE:

    ‘My people . . .
    Not many.
    We getting too old.
    Young people . . .
    I don’t know if they can hang on this story.
    But, now you know this story,
    You responsible now.
    You got to go with us to Earth,
    Might be you can hang onto this story to this Earth.’

    Powerful words from someone who I did not get to meet, but would have liked to, or his sons who hopefully have learnt the stories as they have become the custodians of this and the other stories from a culture far older than any other on Earth.

    Ubirr is as sacred to the Aboriginals as The Vatican is to the Roman Catholics and the other major edifices are to their respected religions.

    Web site below is the official Kakadu National Park Visitors Guide – see page 38/39 for further details on other places of interest in the East Alligator River area of which Ubirr and Nadab Lookout are important parts and located some 47 km from Jabiru township along good standard sealed roads.

    Please note that the best time to view the lookout is at sun set and it may be advisable to pre-book dinner in Jabiru (or where you are staying) as there is a traffic jam Kakadu style as soon as everyone has scrambled down the rock plateau and made their way in the failing light to the car park – you may consider taking a torch.

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    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip
    • Arts and Culture

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    Norlangie Region-Rock Art and spectacular scenery

    by sirgaw Written Aug 8, 2012

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    This was undoubtedly the knock dead WOW and OMG factor highlight of a mostly disappointing visit to Kakadu National Park. The rock art we saw was stunning and I really wished that there was some sort of date data available on when the paint (actually ground up red, yellow and white ochre rock mixed with a liquid – sometimes even human blood – to make a paste like paint) were applied to the rock walls..

    The interpretive panel for photo 2 states, “This is NABULWINJBULWINJ. He is a dangerous spirit who eats females after striking them with a yam.” Just wondering how many young girls were scared witless at the thought of that mean spirit getting them in case they did not eat up that entire yummy kangaroo that daddy had just caught and cooked.

    The escarpment as shown is the ‘boundary’ between the ‘stone country’ above the escarpment and the savanna below. The escarpment contains many thousands of secure from the elements natural shelters that would have provided shelter from the rain in the wet season and coolness during the heat of the day. Whilst sitting in their ‘homes’ the Aboriginals would have painted images of game and the spirits as they saw them – sort of like the religious paintings as painted on the inside of churches, temples etc in other religious cultures.

    As an explanation another panel read, “Art gallery for a home. For over 20,000 years people came here to camp for a short time in the shade of the sandstone cliffs and to hunt and gather food from the country nearby.”

    Many of the rock art sites at Norlangie are easily accessible along well maintained paths. Some are wheelchair friendly; however there are other areas where there are steps and even quite rough tracks over boulders and other terrain. It is strongly suggested that visitors carry their own water supply, wear a hat, cover up against the sun and wear both sunscreen and insect repellant. Please remember to rest if you get weary.

    Touching or interfering with any rock art carries very heavy penalties and please show respect to the culture that you witness – it is important to the traditional owners.

    I would suggest allowing at least half a day to fully explore and enjoy some of the world’s best rock art – it really is amazing.

    At the car park there is an Emergency Call Devise (ECD) which will give direct radio contact with a park ranger in the event of an emergency.

    Web site below is the official Kakadu National Park Visitors Guide – see page 40/41 for further details other places of interest in the Norlangie area.

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    • Arts and Culture

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    Anbangbang

    by Gillybob Written Jul 17, 2012

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    View from Gunwarrdehwarrde Lookout
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    This was one of the many special places we visited during our 9-day Survivor VT Meet in 2008. I will always be thankful for my opportunity to visit so many special places, facilitated by Zig I have great memories of the places. Anbangbang is the Aboriginal name given to the lower area around a rock outcrop which is known as Burrunggui - it is also known as Nourlangie Rock, but this is not the name used by the Aborigines of the area.

    Views from the top are magnificant and well worth the walk up. There are many Aboriginal drawings on the rocks which remain in excellent condition - and I hope that they will continue that way.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

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    Ranger Uranium Mine - From The Air.

    by Mikebb Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Ranger Uranium Mine - From The Air
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    It was the commencement of the Ranger Uranium Mine that opened up Kakudu National Park for large scale tourism.

    The town of Jabiru and the airport was built by Ranger Uranium to support the mine. When I took my one hour flight from Jabiru there were many mine workers waiting for flights to Darwin or other centres.

    The mine commenced production in 1980, and has always been controversial as the merits of uranium mining are always debated.The existing mine is nearing exhaustion, however there is another deposit 20 km away which could be processed on the existing site.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Seniors
    • Singles

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    Gunlom Waterfall

    by aussirose Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Gunlom Waterfall - Kakadu NT

    As you can see there's heaps of things to do in Kakadu.
    This was another wonderful adventure - please see my travelogue below.
    This place was magical and I could have easily spent more time here.
    Please click the link below to read more.

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    Cooinda: Boat cruise on Yellow Waters

    by aukahkay Updated Apr 4, 2011
    Yellow Waters billabong

    World heritage listed Kakadu National Park is the gateway to Arnhemland. Kakadu National Park covers almost 20,000 square kms, is an Australian icon and is 250 kms east of Darwin. A good way to explore the vast expanse of billabongs, rainforests, birds, reptiles and flora is to take a cruise on the Yellow River. Be careful of saltwater crocodiles and keep your hands inside the boat!
    Kakadu is a paradise for waterbirds. There are pelicans, egrets, herons, ducks, spoonbills and sea eagles. There are nearly 60 species of mammal found here, including kangaroos, dingos, possums, bats and dusky rats.

    Related to:
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • National/State Park
    • Birdwatching

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    Gunlom

    by Gillybob Updated Jul 31, 2010

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    Waterfall
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    Gunlom Falls stands at 30m tall. The falls are situated in the Mary River area in the southern, less visited part of Kakadu and made an appearance in the film Crocodile Dundee.

    Gunlom Falls has a variety of water levels falling over it depending on the time of year, it can be a roaring flow or a gentle trickle. It has a swimming hole at the foot of the falls which is popular and free of saltwater crocodiles (check for any notices indicating otherwise).

    There is a steep climb which leads to the top of the falls where you can enjoy good views over the southern part of Kakadu.

    Access is restricted during the wet season (December to April). There is also a campground located near the falls.

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    Jarrangbarnmi

    by Gillybob Written Jul 31, 2010

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    Koolpin Gorge

    Jarrangbarnmi (also known as Koolpin Gorge) was another of those wonderful, remote areas that we were privileged to see during the Survivor trip of 2008. It has restricted access and is located in the southern part of Kakadu, along the Gunlom road.

    We took a trip on a small tin boat and then walked along the creekside before arriving at a wonderful plunge pool where we took a very refreshing swim - whilst keeping an eye out for any little nipper freshwater crocs that might still have been in the area - although Zig assured us that they weren't likely to come after us! The area is surrounded by scenic bush and is home to a variety of wildlife and birds.

    Access is by permit only.

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    • National/State Park

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    Animal Tracks Bushtucker Tour

    by Gillybob Written Jul 31, 2010

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    Our guide
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    One of my favourite activities during our wonderful Survivor trip in 2008 was the Animal Tracks Bushtucker Tour.

    Bush foods are very important to aboriginal people. As the seasons change, so does the availability of food within the bush and, therefore, the content of the tour. We gathered all sorts of food stuffs including water lillies, grubs and tubers; we all took part in the gathering of the food. Our guide was a traditional bush aboriginal and knew exactly where to take us to gather our bush tucker.

    At the end of our journey through the bush, we had a campfire whilst watching a wonderful sunset and listening to the animals of the bush. We had a wonderful meal including those traditions of billy tea and damper.

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    Warradjan Cultural Centre

    by Gillybob Written Jul 31, 2010

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    Explaining the seasons
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    The Bininj (Aboriginal traditional land owners) of Kakadu National Park have gathered together displays and exhibitions at Warradjan which tell the story of their culture through time.

    Warradjan Gallery

    After you have taken a walk through the displays and explored the tales of the Bininj Culture, you can browse through a gallery of arts and crafts which are from Kakadu, Arnhem Land and Katherine.

    The gallery is open daily from 09:00 to 17:00.

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    East Alligator River Crossing

    by Gillybob Written Jul 31, 2010

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    Crossing East Alligator River
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    Cahill's Crossing crosses the East Alligator River just before the start of Arnhem Land. The East Alligator River has a dry season which lasts between May and September while the wet season lasts between November and March.

    It is important to check the tides of the river prior to attempting to cross at Cahill's Crossing, ensuring crossing at, or as close as possible to, low tide. The website listed below provides the tide times and heights for Cahill's Crossing.

    There has been a history of saltwater crocodile presence at Cahill's Crossing, including some attacks on fishermen and people making the crossing by foot.

    It is important to note that the border of Arnhem Land is shortly after the East Alligator River, entry into which is by permit only.

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    • Photography

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    A Flight over the wilderness

    by MJL Written Mar 19, 2010
    A rain is coming
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    Covering nearly 20,000 square kilometres, Kakadu is one of very few places World Heritage listed for both its cultural and its natural values. Its enduring natural values stem from its exceptional beauty and unique biodiversity, its variety of landforms, habitats and wildlife.

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