Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park is the biggest national park in Australia. It is located in the far north of the Northern Territory and about 150 km east from the city of Darwin. This is one of the four Australian sites included in the UNESCO World Heritage List for its natural and cultural significance. Kakadu National Park covers an area of 2000 sq. meters and is operated by both the local Aboriginal people and the governmental Parks Australia agency. Its tropical territory is home of around 10000 species of insects, kangaroos, wallabies, water buffalos, dingo dongs and about one fourth of all fresh water fish in Australia. There are eucalyptus and tropical rainforests swamps, mangrove trees as well as semi-desert zones in the southern part of the park. One of the main attractions of the park is South Alligator River inhabited by huge colonies of fresh and salt water crocodiles. They are the largest reptiles in this region and can reach up to 6 meters in length. The visitors can see them near the river mouths on their hunt for migrating fish.
An interesting natural sight in the park is the steep sandstone varying in height from 30-300 meters and stretching at 200 km across the park turning into a natural border between the forests and the rocky area. Kakadu’s wonderful views, old stone drawings in the sandstone caves and its diverse wild life makes Kakadu attractive for tourists from all over the world. This magical part of Australia is only fifteen degree south from the Equator and the weather between November and February is really hot, humid and rainy. The roads are sometimes flooded and inaccessible for days hence visits during this period are not recommended.
Jim Jim Falls is one of the most popular sites in Kakadu National Park. Its waters fall from a creek laying between the massive 200-meter high rocks and the sight is extremely spectacular during the wet season. The landscape around the falls always amazes the visitors and the crystal clear water of the fall pool looks sparkles like a diamond. Swimming here is a unique experience.
Some of the best Aboriginal stone art can be seen in this exception historical reserve. The Aboriginal people have lived in the caves in this region for over 40 thousand years and have left many paintings representing their way of living. Drawings of hunting scenes, religious ceremonies, games, and the creation of the world are a few of the total 5000 pieces of stone art available here. Some of them are over 20 thousand years old. Nourlangie and Ubirr rock shelters where most of the cave art is have become one of the most visited places in the park. Kakadu National Park has few more waterfalls among which the cascade Gunlom Fas famous as the screen set of the ‘Crocodile Dundee’ movie. The Twin Falls is also a cascade waterfall on the South Alligator River. Its waters fall from 158 meters and have carved many mesmerizing shapes into the nearby rocks. Traveling to Kakadu is possible by plane to the city of Darwin and from there another 2-hour car drive to reach the park. The visitors can book a wet season tour and travel to the main attractions of Kakadu.
The park rangers offer free tours during the dry season and the tours with a local Aboriginal people provide the most valuable experience. Staying for at least 2-3 days would be ideal to fully enjoy the magic of the park. The distance between Darwin and Jabiru (the main accommodation and commercial hub of the park) is about 250 km and the trip takes about 3 hours via Arnhem Highway. The journey provides breathtaking views and the option for a short break at the Wet Tropics visitors’ center where one can learn about the ecology of the area and the history of the local indigenous Aboriginal tribes. Jabiru’s one of the most interesting quality accommodation is the Kakadu Crocodile Hotel in the shape of a giant alligator.