Five Days and Five Reasons to love Kakadu

We spent five days here and even though we only scratched its surface I feel as though we uncovered a fair bit of what makes Kakadu so special.

Kakadu National Park is under three hours from Darwin, it’s at the top of Australia. At 20,000 square kilometres the world heritage listed Kakadu is HUGE. Here you’ll find rainforest, stone country, rock art, extensive flood plains and the beautiful East Alligator River.

Depending on the season the park is teeming with life, from the wetlands, rivers and billabongs. It’s home to an indigenous culture that dates back to the worlds oldest continuing nature. And the message that came through strongly on our visit was that it’s OUR home too.

We’re in the dry season at the moment, and many of her waterfalls have stopped flowing but still, there’s no shortage of vistas. And because she’s so big, to see her wonders you’ll have to make an effort. It’s like anything. It’s not always obvious where the treasures are but scratch deeper, drive further, research more, walk up a sweat, immerse yourself and you’ll be rewarded with dramatic vistas and experiences that will stay with you forever.

Sensory overload at Waterfalls

Set in the red ochre of the Arnhem Land escarpment, it wasn’t easy to reach Jim Jim Falls. Over 50kms of bumpy, corrugated road, four wheel driving and then a rugged two kilometre return walk across rocks BUT it was sooo worth it.

Our reward was towering 200 metre cliffs and pristine rock pools, the ultimate plunge pool and a sandy beach. In the wet the falls thunder down the rock face and this walking track is inaccessible so the only way to see it is from the air. In the dry (as it is now) the falls are barely a trickle but the trails are open and the views are breath taking.

As we reached the beach and I looked above me at these ancient and towering rock formations I felt such a connection to the earth and a profound feeling of love, gratitude and peace. Breath in, breath out.

All Creatures Great and Small

Kakadu is home to a huge amount of wildlife in its various waterways. There’s over 1000 plant species, a quarter of all Australian freshwater fish species and over one third of all bird species can be found in the park.

Watching the sunrise at Mamukala Wetlands was peaceful and when you go out on a Yellowwater cruise (as we did) you’ll see firsthand many of these wild and wonderful creatures … including crocodiles, buffalo on the plains and a multitude of ducks and birds.

Even driving on the roads the wildlife is ever present. We saw a buffalo one day off into the scrub and were warned by an oncoming car via CB radio. You wouldn’t want to hit one, as Doug said “it’s a bull bar not a buffalo bar”. Once we saw a dingo cross the road with breakfast in its mouth and another time a magnificent black brumby appeared, as though like a mirage. As we slowed down he reared, as though straight from Disney’s Black Stallion, flicked its mane and bolted off into the distance.

The Ultimate Exercise Regime – Walk, Swim, Repeat

Many of the walks in Kakadu are long and strenuous, or maybe it just felt that way cos everyday we were there it was 38C. But when the end destination was pristine plunge pools, well it was a decent but worthwhile work out. There’s Jim Jim, Barramundi (Maguk Falls) and Gunlom, the most popular. Walk, swim, walk back to the car, drive home. Repeat.

It’s funny cos I was scared of water as a little girl, I nearly drowned and consequently I only learned to swim as an adult. Now I’m so grateful and whilst I always have respect for the water I no longer fear it. Crocodiles on the other hand, well they’re a different story.

Camping and Caravanning

Camping is one of the best ways to feel and connect to Kakadu time. Under the stars and amid the rainforest there are many park managed campgrounds within the National Park. They include among many others Malabanjbanjdju and Burdulba, a campground at Jim Jim Falls and one called Merl, near Ubirr, but after reading reviews of the midgies and mozzies we wussed out and opted for comfort and convenience!

So our stay at Kakadu was divided between two caravan parks in Jabiru, the Kakadu lodge and Anbink Kakadu Resort. Both have a great pool and on Doug’s birthday we strolled across the road for a very nice Thai dinner at Anbinik.

There are other ways to explore Kakadu, take a scenic flight, walk with a local ranger, head out to Cahills Crossing and watch silly fishermen and cars cross near where crocodiles feed, book a cruise or just drive, walk and explore the seven regions within the park.

Feeling Connected

People need to come here and relax, sit on country, feel the spirits of the country and go home and feel the same way.” Natasha Nadji. Buntj Clan

Nineteen aboriginal clans live in Kakadu where there’s a strong connection to country. The art sites of Ubirr and Nourlangie bear witness to this. They’re home to about 5000 rock sites with some of the oldest paintings found in Ubirr, Nourlangie and Nanguluwurr. It’s amazing to visit anytime and especially at sunset.

Another place worth visiting to learn about their culture is the Warradjan Aboriginal Culture Centre, where you can read stories and be immersed in knowledge of connection.

We had a wonderful indigenous guide by the name of Dennis who was the Boat Master on our Yellow Water Cruise. He was part larrikin, part storyteller but completely passionate and an expert on his homeland Kakadu. As our cruise finished, his parting words stirred me: “You are beautiful people, respect yourself, respect others, look after your family and enjoy this land. This is not just our backyard. It’s your backyard too”

I certainly felt a connection to something far greater than myself during my time here.

And he’s right, it’s about respect and self love, looking out for each other and feeling as one. Wherever we live on this earth we all breath the same air and long for the same thing, a sense of belonging, kindness and love. It’s that energy and heart felt connection to nature and our fellow humans that I hope will heal the world moving forward.

Kakadu was a wonderful reminder of the power of story and making memories whilst enjoying the now.

Wherever you are I send you lots of love as our journey continues.

49 thoughts on “Five Days and Five Reasons to love Kakadu

  1. Very cool, more like “hot”, place. Beautiful photos. It looks like you had opportunities to wrestle a croc. I would not like driving across that flooded road.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Miriam, this is so beautiful!
    And your Guide Dennis summed it so well when he said, “You are beautiful people, respect yourself, respect others, look after your family and enjoy this land. This is not just our backyard. It’s your backyard too”
    So much wisdom here. Lessons for us all! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It has been a feast for the eyes to see your photos on Instagram. Miriam.❤️ Yes, sensory overload and almost a Garden of Eden. The photo of you looking up is goosebumpy. I greatly admire you for learning how to swim as an adult. Thank you for sharing an exceptionally interesting post. Your paragraph that begins “And he’s right….” brought me to tears. Beautiful!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Erica, I enjoyed putting this post together and reliving the highlights of Kakadu. It’s such a special place but I feel as though I’m saying that about everywhere we go lately! Australia is so vast and so beautiful. Hope you’re well. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! I never realized how much Australia had to offer before I found your blog. That scenery is beautiful, and I can’t even imagine what it must have felt like to be in the middle of it. (Although I personally think whoever was in that white car had left their good judgement at home that day!) Thanks for sharing your journey, and also your thoughts about it. You’re right, we are all connected to each other and to the earth, and it helps to remember that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ann, Australia is big and incredibly diverse and there’s so much to see. I’m very grateful to be finally doing this long awaited road trip and being able to share it here is even more special. Yes, you wouldn’t catch me crossing through those waters either but many locals do it. Sending love your way. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. wow this brings back many memories, we hitched out and put up our two person tent while I finished a uni assignment by hand then passed it to a family to post as they drove out.

    I must mention the uranium mining that is poisoning their water supply and giving the kids new kinds of leukemia that kills them off before their teens … I worked with them in Adelaide women’s and children’s hospital 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like you were pretty adventurous in your wilder youth.

      As for uranium mining its awful to think of the effects and impacts it’s had over the years. Hopefully the government is working to clean up their act though I honestly wouldn’t know.


      1. from what I’ve heard nothings changed … Miriam I visited more than 30 countries over 18 months in my early 20’s … been to countries who have changed their names and borders or had long term war … on local buses and trains, camping. I consider myself a queen of budget travel … relocation vans across australia, etc 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Miriam! I’m so happy to be following your journey! And what a journey it is…WOW! The way you share a place with your words and with the photos…ah! Just perfect 🙂 When I was a very young girl I thought that I had to go to Australia one day! It was one of three places that came on my radar…I don’t know why. I have not been yet in person…but reading your blog and following your travels makes me feel like I am there. I know you are enjoying yourself and you are not missing any part of your journey! Stay well…Sweet Blessings, friend. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lorrie, great to hear from you. I love that my words and pics transported you to a place you’ve dreamed about. Australia is vast and diverse and I feel blessed to be travelling it and sharing whatever I can. I hope you make it out here one day in person. Even better would be that we could meet. But for now I’ll keep sharing. Stay well my friend and sending love your way. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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