Although the sign above was photoed at Litchfield National Park, the warning is relevant for all other area of Northern Territory and Australia.
It would be so easy for a thief to sit in his or her car pretending to be map reading, napping or whatever and is actually watching you and if you lock your car. He or she would be well versed in locking procedures. While you and your family go happily to see the park and its many attractions, Mr or M/s Thief will get busy in the full knowledge that you may be gone for an hour or more.
Please take care and remember to lock before you leave.
I have included the Park Pass in the Warnings or Dangers section as not having a pass is an offence and you could be fined around $A200 plus the park fee if you have not purchased the pass.
The pass can be purchased at the following locations:
Tourism Top End
Cnr Bennett and Smith Street Darwin
Goymarr Interpretive Centre
Mary River Roadhouse, the southern entrance to Kakadu National Park
Bowali Visitor Centre
Kakadu National Park
Katherine Visitor Information Centre
Cnr Lindsay Street and Katherine Terrace, Katherine
Gagudju Lodge Cooinda
Cost is $A25 per person valid for 14 days. Under 16 years and Northern Territory residents are free.
We purchased our passes in Darwin where there are about 4 people on duty at any one time. The Bowali Visitor Centre only had one ticket seller on duty and she was also handling questions on maps etc for the park – I would strongly suggest pre-purchasing in Darwin the day before intended visit to the park. Note that you are required to have the park pass on your person – stored in the car while you are visiting part of the pass is not acceptable – fines apply (or so we were warned.
I feel that $25 per person is quite expensive when it is considered that the vast majority of visitors will be in the park for only 2 – 4 days and therefore there should be a shorter use pass at a lesser price. Further, there should be a discount for Australian seniors/pensioners in line with other establishments
Throughout Kakadu National Park you wil lfind rivers, streams and still water areas which may (or may not) be home to a residency of crocodiles. Admittedly, some of these may be freshwater crocodiles but in many areas they will be saltwater crocodiles (or salties). These denizens of the water can be the torture of an area but are definitely the kings of these waters.
The Saltwater Crocodile is the world's largest reptile and can be found on the northern coast of Australia and in inland waters for up to 100 kms or more. They can grow to lengths of 7 metres whilst a good average is 4 metres. Whatever the size, they are NOT human friendly and should be avoided at all costs.
Please review the website below for appropriate cautions when within saltwater crocodile areas.
The Northern Territory and outback Australia is of course known for its many croc infested waters. Though none of the water holes in the national park are recommended for swimming (the guide book stating the only safe place to swim is in the swimming pools at Jabiru) there are places where guides know it is safe and recommend swimming that have no danger or warning signs, and it is also dependent on time of year, water levels, etc. Just keep your eye out for warning signs and dont go venturing in to be croc bait anywhere there are signs....
In 2004, when I visited the Outback for the first time, I was not fully aware of the problem with the flies, especially at the end of the dry. When I was walking in the Olgas I breathed in and swallowed about six flies. Believe me, it's as nasty as it sounds and ruined my visit pretty much! I think they go for the moisture in your breath and your eyes. This time I was prepared. We had stopped at a road house near the park entrance and I bought a fly net for my head. I got laughed at by some Sydneysiders on the tour, but I didn't mind. When I was visiting the Nourlangie Rock Art site and the Ubirr Rock Art sites the flies were swarming about my mouth but held at bay by the net. Vindication! Not everywhere in the park had this problem. I wasn't bothered at all on the boat trips, but near the escarpments they are numerous as the trees.
Some remote locations have Emergency Radios for times of real need. These are an absolute thrill to see when you need help. They are monitored between the hours of 8am and Midnight most of the time. Remember these are not telephones, so it is important to follow the instructions with the radio. Break the glass on the small box to access the button. Press the button for a few seconds and wait for a message, that will tell you a Ranger has been called. When you hear the Ranger speak, listen carefully. When he asks, press the Black Button and tell the Ranger where your location is and your emergency. Only press the button to speak, when finished release your finger from the button and listen. Hopefully you will not need to use this service but it helps to have preread the procedure to help in the event of an emergency.
Remember you are in the hot, humid area of Australia. When hiking, wear a Hat, take plenty of water, and put on the sunburn cream more than once, it doesn't last for ever. Wear proper shoes, not loose sandals or thongs, your feet may feel on fire, but its better than a twisted ankle or broken bones in an out of the way place.
YOU WILL PROBABLY BURN MORE ON A HOT OVERCAST DAY THAN ON A SUNNY DAY.
Wear insect repellant, will make you hiking much more pleasant.
Have a good time!
Main photo Flattened cane toad on road
Photo 2 Cane toad permanently submerged
Photo 3 Cane toads alive and well.
In the past few years, the Cane Toad (bufo marinus) has managed to somehow migrate west from Queensland into the Northern Territory where it is wreaking carnage on much of the wildlife – it breeds prolifically and contains a toxic poison which means curtains to any predator unwise enough to eat it. These dreadful beasts were introduced to Australia in 1935 by a few misguided cane growers despite official advice, to control pests in sugar cane crops, and now have spread in the coastal regions as far south as northern New South Wales and across the Top End into the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The list of wildlife becoming endangered because of their presence is horrifying.
These things become ‘good’ only by becoming very dead indeed! The main photo shows one we found on the main road near Gunbalanya. The second photo is of a dead one in the river at Koolpin Gorge in Kakadu, while the third photo shows some very live examples in the caravan park at Adelaide River, apparently waiting for moths attracted by the lights. They’re harmless to you, unless you touch them, but should you have a suitable instrument to dispose of any you may find, I encourage you to do so.
Photo 1 Munching mozzie
Photo 2 Another munching mozzie
Photo 3 High-powered insect repellent
Photo 4 The results if you have an allergic reaction to mosquitos.
An inherent problem of ‘going bush’ is that some beasties out there think you represent a walking food supply. No, I’m not talking about crocodiles here, they’re avoidable (just don’t go near any water unless there is a clear guarantee that it’s safe). What you won’t avoid though, are the vast swarms of mosquitos, which will assail you as the sun descends. They tend to be worst at sunset and dawn, though some will hang around all evening if given the opportunity.
DO buy and use a good quality high-strength mosquito repellent. The really high powered version has 80% active mozzie-repellent ingredient – that’s enough to soften plastic, so if you smear it on, DO wash your hands afterwards and be careful what else you touch (we left fingerprints in sunglasses frames and a few other items became ‘sticky’, and it’s definitely not recommended in eyes)!
Keeping mozzies at bay isn’t just to avoid the irritation, they can carry some quite nasty viral diseases apart from malaria (which is no longer a problem in northern Australia). They also can bring up some significant welts should you have any allergy (third photo)!
Mozzies are everywhere in the bush and especially near waterholes.
I'm lucky that they don't bother me, but some of the others got bitten heaps.
So as us aussies say, don't forget the aroguard (or rid) and also a can of spray to spray the tent comes in handy too....because the noise of mozzies flying around your head all night can keep you awake....even if they don't like your blood haha :o)
These signs are everywhere in Kakadu & Arnhem Land.
Just weeks before here at Cahills Crossing, the Rangers captured Eric - a huge croc that had been pestering people in this part.
So wherever you see a Croc Danger sign.....don't go in the water!
I think at this point, I am sure you are considering the dangers that exist in the rivers, lakes and streams in and around the Northern Territory. IN case this is the first bit of research you are doing on the topic, let me warn you... DO NOT go swimming unless there are clearly marked signs saying there is verifiably no crocodiles in that water. Also, do not approach the water to fill up a water jug, or take a sip. These things will result in you losing weight the old fashioned way... by a crocodile eating it.
The National Park people and the Aboriginal people who belong to the land take the preservation of the area VERY seriously! Many of the areas that we are allowed to visit are sacred and/or traditional areas for these people. Out of respect for the Aboriginal people and to protect the art and other sacred sites for others to enjoy, please don't touch things! There are many signs there that ask people not to touch any paintings (oils on fingers destroy the pigments), stay on the tracks, and respect the boundaries of restricted/prohibited areas. They fine people at least AUS$5000 if you don't follow these rules, or if people are found damaging an archaeological site or artefact.
As if the heat and humidity isn’t enough, out here in the bush the air is filled with pesky flies. They crawl around my eyes and mouth and land on any available surface on my body, including the inside of my nose and ears. I find them incredibly irritating and they are adding further niggles to my already exasperating discomfort.
Take a head net!
If you decide to do a water crossing (not advisable unless absolutely necessary) there's no turning back once you're in deep water.
Reversing in water is a disaster and your engine will most probably stall.
Another difficulty is that you must be sure you know where the road is. Often you won't be able to see through the water. If there are trees along the side then most probably the road is exactly half way in between. But in open, floodplain country there may be no trees.