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BACKPACKERS GUIDE TO AUSTRALIA
KAKADU NATIONAL PARK
AUSTRALIA > NORTHERN TERRITORY > KAKADU NATIONAL PARK
PAGE INDEX 
Introduction 
Information & Park Headquarters 
Attractions 
  • Yellow Water & Cooinda 
  • Jim Jim Falls & Twin Falls 
  • Ubirr 
  • Nourlangie Rock 
  • Oenpelli, Arnhem Land 

  • Towns 
  • Jabiru 
  • South Alligator 

  • Getting There & Away 
    Where to Go Next
    Kakadu National Park 
    Picture: Wetlands near Cooinda, 
    Kakadu National Park  
     
     
    INTRODUCTION 
    Kakadu is a vastly different in the Wet season (December to March) and Dry season (June to August). By October the humidity is building up for the next Wet season. In the Wet huge waterfalls drop from the surrounding Arnhem plateau into the national park. The South Alligator River and other rivers in the park flood. Gravel roads become impassable. As the rivers spill over onto flood plains the lower reaches of the rivers become a huge wetland with prolific bird life. The grass rapidly grows two metres tall. Boat cruises on the Yellow Waters wetlands is the highland of Kakadu National Park. In the dry the rivers recede leaving only waterholes in places, sometimes known in Australia as billabongs. The waterbirds concentrate around the little remaining water until the next Wet season when they disperse. Kakadu is also home to over 5000 Aboriginal rock painting sites, however only access to a few is permitted. Park entry is $15 per person and is valid for multiple entry within a 14 day period. $60 buys season access for one vehicle including its passengers. Kakadu is an Australian tourism highlight and definitely worth a visit any time of year. It is more comfortable in the dry season and all roads will be open.
    View over the wetland from Ubirr
    Picture: View over wetalnds from Ubirr,
    Kakadu National Park
     
    Information and Park Headquarters 

    Bowali Information Centre Near the corner of the Kakadu and Arnhem Hwys. Phone 08 8938 1121 or 08 8938 1100. Open daily 8am to 5pm. It has several displays and an excellent audiovisual display on the hour in a small theatre. 
     


    ATTRACTIONS 

    Yellow Water and Cooinda 

    There are 2 hour for $27 and 1 1/2 boat cruises for $23 on the Yellow Water Billabong wetlands (pictured above). This is considered the highlight of a trip to Kakadu. The bird life is most active at early morning. This is the best time to take a cruise. Book the day before at Cooinda, 2km away. Phone 08 8979 0111. 

    There is petrol available at Cooinda. 

    u u Gagadju Lodge Cooinda Phone 08 8979 0145. 48 units accommodating up to three each for $110 per night . Pool, BBQ, bistro, restaurant. There is budget accommodation in twin rooms in mobile huts like the ones found on building sites. They are air-conditioned, comfortable and cost $19 per person.

    Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls 

    In the south of the park these falls are spectacular after rain but in the Dry they slow to a trickle. They are only accessible by 4WD and then only in the Dry season. The track to them may take till June to dry out and reopen. It takes 2 hours to drive in.

    Twin Falls, Kakadu National Park 
    Picture: Twin Falls,
    Kakadu National Park
     
    Ubirr 

    This escarpment has most impressive Aboriginal rock paintings. The main gallery has a 15 metre frieze of X-ray style paintings depicting animals, birds and fish. The road is sealed and is 44km north of the information centre. 

    Nearby on the Arnhem Hwy is the Border Store. It sells supplies, food and petrol. Open till 5pm. 

    Hostel Kakadu behind the border store has dorm beds in twin rooms for $14. Phone 08 8979 2232.

    Aboriginal rock painting of a kangaroo
    Picture: Aboriginal Rock Painting
    of a Kangaroo
     
    Nourlangie Rock 

    Here on this escarpment the Anbangbang Gallery has excellent Aboriginal rock paintings

    Oenpelli, Arnhem Land 

    This Aboriginal town is actually just east beyond the national park in Arnhem Land. It is worth visiting for the Injalak Arts & Crafts Centre of Aboriginal artefacts, bark paintings, didgeridoos and weaving. They are high quality and are sold at very reasonable prices. It is a shopfront and workshop. You buy direct from the artists and craftspeople and can be sure the product is genuine. The centre is open 9am to 5pm daily. Phone 08 8979 0190. 

    As Arnhem Land is Aboriginal land permits are required. These are issued on the spot at the northern Land Council office (phone 08 8979 2410) at the Jabiru shopping centre. 
     


    JABIRU TOWN (population 1731) (252km east of Darwin) 

    Jabiru town was originally built as accommodation for workers at the nearby uranium mine. Kakadu Parklink (phone 08 8979 2411) runs tours of the Ranger Uranium Mine 6km away three times daily. $10. 

    u u u Gagadju Crocodile Hotel is designed in the shape of a crocodile but only realise this from the air. Phone 1800 808 123 or 08 8979 2800. 110 units. Double $142, triple $162.. Pool, lounge, laundry, BBQ, restaurant. 

    Frontier Kakadu Lodge Phone 08 8979 2422. Four bed rooms for $25 per person. Pool, BBQ, bistro. 
     


    SOUTH ALLIGATOR TOWN (population 1600) (206km east of Darwin) 

    Near here the Arnhem Hwy crosses the South Alligator River. There is a boat ramp there. Petrol is available. 

    u u ² Kakadu Holiday Village Phone 1800 818 845 or 08 8979 1066. 138 units. Double/twin $142, double $162. Pool, laundry, spa, BBQ, tennis court, shop, restaurant, bar.

    .
    GETTING THERE AND AWAY 

    Greyhound Pioneer has daily services from Darwin through Jabiru ($27), Cooinda ($33) where the bus waits 1 1/2 hours while you can go on the 1pm Yellow Waters cruise and then returns to Darwin. Phone 132030. They also have a service from Jabiru to the Border Store and back. 

    Otherwise take an organised tour from Darwin or bring your own vehicle.

    .
    WHERE TO GO NEXT 

    Return west to Darwin 

    Head southwest to Katherine on the Stuart Highway. 

    Travel east in your 4WD into rugged Arnhem Land. This is Aboriginal land. Permits are required. 
     

    Copyright (c) 2000 Graham Warren. Backpackers Guide to Australia (TM) is a trademark.
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