Australia’s Kakadu National Park
Kakadu is Australia’s biggest park. Here you can find ancient cave paintings, wildly varying landscapes and scores of mammal and bird species for one-stop wildlife viewing at its best!
With nearly 20,000 square kilometres to explore, Kakadu is Australia’s largest national park and also one of its top tourist destinations. The park satisfies both nature and art lovers with its incredible biodiversity and extensive indigenous rock art collection.
The park’s 5,000-plus rock art sites tell the stories of the Creation Ancestors and the history of the land as told by the Bininj/Mungguy people. Dating back thousands of years, the rock art at Kakadu is said to represent one of the longest historical records of any group of people in the world, according to the park guide. Many of the paintings depict animals and the first European contact. Ubirr and Nourlangie Rock are considered the two best sites for viewing rock art and indigenous dwellings.
Kakadu is a one-stop wildlife viewing vacation. Australia is known for its abundance of birds and other animals and approximately one-third of the country’s bird population and one-fifth of its mammals have been spotted inside the park. Its wetlands are prime birding territory as migratory birds routinely pass through them every year. Common mammals in the park include the agile wallaby, black wallaroo, dingo and northern quoll. A few of the notable bird species are the barking owl, comb-crested jacana, rainbow bee-eater and red-tailed black cockatoo. And the park also has both fresh and saltwater crocodiles, among many other reptiles.
Kakadu has plenty of coast, tidal flats, hills and woodlands to explore. The park’s most stunning landscape is the sandstone escarpment of the Stone Country. The escarpment consists of outliers and vertical and stepped cliffs that form deep chasms and gorges. They were thought to have been part of a sea wall back when Kakadu was submerged by a shallow sea 140 million years ago.
Your best options for getting around Kakadu are to either rent a car or book a bus tour from Darwin or Katherine. From Darwin take the Arnhem Highway and from Katherine the Kakadu Highway.
Remember to look into road conditions before travelling. During the wet season—approximately November to April—roads may be unpassable.
Gas stations are located within the park at Kakadu Resort, Cooinda, Jabiru and Wirnwirnmila Mary River Road House.
The park has a wide range of hotels, motels and camping accommodation to choose from. It’s also possible to stay in Jabiru, a small town five kilometers outside the park’s Bowali Visitor Centre.
Park passes cost $25 per person, valid for two weeks. You can purchase passes at the visitor centre or online and print before you go.