This can be the best time to visit with waterfalls flowing, abundant wildlife and fewer tourists. It provides an action packed three day itinerary for visitors. Another early start, this time I have to meet a few doors down the road at 6am for my Kakadu tour. It shelters a wide variety of habitats and wildlife, the 2 billion year old rocks amongst the oldest in the world tell 30, year old stories about the oldest living culture in the world, the Aboriginal culture.
Our tour group is small, which is great. Our guide for the 3 days is Luke an Aussie from Victoria who is both knowledgeable and good fun. Before we even reach Kakadu we make several stops. The first of these is at Fogg Dam, a wetlands area teemingwith birds. Egrets, Spoonbills and Magpie Ducks roam around the wetland habitat. Our second stop is at Adelaide River to do an hour boat cruise to watch large saltwater crocodiles jump out of the water up to two-thirds of their body length.
On the hour long cruise we see half a dozen crocodiles, varying in length from 2.
Fun facts about kakadu national park
The skipper of our boat gets the smaller crocodiles to jump out of the water by dangling horse meat on a pole a couple of metres out of the water. After playing with the crocodiles, our skipper tries to entice a white breasted eagle which is perched in the upper branches of the mangroves that line the river, with some meat. This ploy fails but we do manage to interest some Whistling Kites, another bird of prey.
I think Luke our guide must have been expecting double the of people on his tour as at each meal time there is too much food. Not wanting to waste any at lunchtime, we manage to interest a couple of Aboriginal people who are passing in some sandwiches. Upon entering Kakadu national park we stop at the Bowali visitor centre which contains a wealth of information on the flora, fauna, culture and history of the park. This just goes to demonstrate how much more in touch with the land they are than non-indigenous people who typically recognise only two seasons, the wet and the dry.
The six seasons they recognise from the start of the calendar year are Gudjewg monsoon seasonBanggerrreng knock em down seasonYegge cooler but still humid seasonWurrgeng cold weather seasonGurrung hot dry weather season and Gununmeleng pre-monsoon storm season. Gudjewg the season we are in now is characterised by an explosion of plant and animal life due to the heat and humidity.
Spear grass grows to over two metres tall and creates a silvery-green hue throughout the woodlands. Speaking of woodlands, six main landforms are recognised within the vast landscapes of Kakadu.
They consist mostly of eucalypts like the Pandanas tree and tall grasses. They seem lifeless at first, however they support a greater variety of plants and animals than any other habitat in Kakadu. Already on the journey east through the park to Bowali we have seen a Frilled-Neck dragon, Sand and Water Monitors and a Brolga and that was without venturing off the road.
Staying in the east of the park we head off road on to a dirt track to get to the Gubara walk. No sooner have we started than a late afternoon thunderstorm comes in and we decide to abort the walk and head instead to the nearby Aboriginal rock art site of Nourlangie. More than art sites throughout the park tell of the creation ancestors, belief systems, hunting experiences and changes in the landscape over thousands of years. To get the paint they used natural resources, haematite providing red, charcoal the black, pipeclay the white and limonite the yellow.
The ground these rocks into powder and then added a resin.
Even better, and probably my favourite experience in Kakadu is the view from the Nawurlandja lookout. A metre climb offers a view of the Arnhem Land escarpment, Nourlangie and Anbangbang billabong in the valley below.
The dominant sandstone escarpment of the Arnhem Land Plateau ranges in height from 30 metres to metres, forming the boundary between Kakadu and Arnhem Land and stretches km south from the sea. I had wanted to make it to Arnhem Land but it is cut off by road in the wet season, so that will have to wait until another time.
Arnhem Land is where you would get a true Aboriginal experience. The size of Portugal, you need a permit to get in and of the 15, people who call Arnhem Land home the majority are Aboriginals. This is more luxurious than I expected.
While Luke cooks the dinner the rest of us take advantage of the facilities which include a swimming pool and hot showers. After a day in intense humidity I decide that my clothes need a good washing as they are disgusting. Even in the campsite we are up close and personal with the wildlife. Every visit to the toilet block requires negotiating about a hundred kamikaze grasshoppers who throw themselves at your torchlight. Also, a flying fox flies over our he as we soak in the swimming pool.
Luke wakes the camp at 6am. On the way to the toilet block I come across 4 brumbies wild horses and a dingo. We must do about 13km of walking through to lunchtime and the heat and the humidity are intense.
The walks themselves are through thick spear grass to two sets of falls, Kurrundie Falls and Motor Car Falls. At Kurrundie Falls after jumping in for a swim I start to climb up the rockface and end up falling a full body length. At Motor Car Falls, which are even more picturesque than Kurrundie we also go for a swim.
I spend much of the morning walking well behind the rest of the group. After a welcome lunch we have an afternoon dip at the Moline Rockhole which is our third waterfalls of the day.
On the drive back to Cooinda for our second night in the park we stop at a huge Cathedral termite mound which is rock solid and probably years old. Dinner is Buffalo sausages and Kangaroo steaks which goes down very well. We sit around talking and having a few beers together.
We head east to do the Gubarra walk which we had aborted on the first day.
Fun facts about kakadu national park
The Gubarra walk takes us into stone country and the monsoon forests. We do a sidewalk up to the Castle lookout where there is more Aboriginal art on show and it offers amazing views over stone country. Myself and Luke climb right up to the top for unrestricted degree views which are simply magical. It is the sandstone rock formations of the stone country that I like the most about Kakadu.
These rocks are 2 billion years old and were formed by the sea when the sea level was much higher and much of Kakadu was underwater. The Garden of Eden is a great spot and the seven of us have it to ourselves. It is a shady monsoon rainforest pool with a small cascading waterfall running into it. On the way back to the truck I almost walk into a Golden Orb spider. Amelia shouts out to warn me just in time. We joke on that she has returned the favour of saving my life — yesterday I stopped her touching the poisonous cane toad just in time.
A fantastic three day ‘green season’ itinerary
After lunch we start on our 3 hour journey back to Darwin, leaving Kakadu behind. Back Employment FAQ's. Saturday 21st February — Day 1 in Kakadu National Park Another early start, this time I have to meet a few doors down the road at 6am for my Kakadu tour.