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Kakadu & Surrounds 7 day itinerary

17 places · 7 days
Visit NT ·3 months ago
Kakadu & Surrounds 7 day itinerary Thumbnail

You'll have plenty of time to get to know this diverse and fascinating portion of the Northern Territory with a week in Kakadu National Park. Learn about Australia's oldest living culture's ancient myths and traditions, and immerse yourself in the region's high-quality Aboriginal art. On a river tour, get up up and personal with the world's largest reptile and learn about native fauna. Relax among waterfalls and swim in crystal clear plunge pools on a day trip. Climb to tremendous heights for unrivaled views of the Park's spectacular floodplains and escarpment country. Spend your evenings admiring Kakadu's famous sunsets.

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Itinerary
Day 1
Start early to get the most out of your day
Early this morning, leave Darwin through the Stuart and Arnhem highways for the 2-hour trip to Kakadu National Park's northern entrance. This tour requires a 4WD vehicle because certain spots are only accessible through a 4WD track. A park pass is essential because you will be entering Aboriginal land. Your pass grants you access to the park, as well as ranger-led hikes and talks and interpretive materials. Your pass can be purchased online or at a number of places in the Top End. Visit the Parks Australia website for further information.

Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park, Kakadu Hwy, Jabiru NT, ...
Begin your adventure at Bowali Visitor Centre
The Bowali Visitor Centre will be your first visit. Before wandering around informative displays and the gallery, you can stop for refreshments at the cafe. Remember to ask the employees at the about any road closures or conditions you should be aware of during your trip through Kakadu.

Bowali Visitor Centre

Bowali Visitor Centre, Kakadu Hwy, Jabiru NT,...
Cruise on the East Alligator
Join a cultural tour on the East Alligator River to see Kakadu from the river. While your native guide discusses culture, creation stories, bush foods, and survival tactics, keep a watch out for crocodiles. Disembark and stroll onto Arnhem Land to see traditional hunting and gathering tactics demonstrated.

East Alligator River

East Alligator River, West Arnhem NT, Austral...
Rest your head in Jabiru
Tonight, I'll be staying in Jabiru, Kakadu's largest municipality, which offers a range of lodging options, including camping and motels.

Jabiru

Jabiru NT, Australia
Day 2
Hop on a day tour to Arnhem Land
Join a one-day Arnhemland Aboriginal Culture Adventure tour today to immerse yourself in the region's culture. You'll get to examine ancient rock art on Injalak Hill and visit the Injalak Art Centre with the help of a local Aboriginal guide. The centre sells high-quality Aboriginal art that is all manufactured in the area. You may also be able to witness local ladies weave pandanus baskets while watching the artists at work. An approved trip includes all licenses and royalties required to enter Arnhem Land.

Arnhemland

Arnhemland, NT, Australia
Or get a permit and explore on your own
You are not required to be on an approved tour to visit the Injalak Art Centre, but you must request for a permission from the Northern Land Council before to your visit. You can also apply for permits at the NLC office in Jabiru, but make sure you have some time on your hands because the permit can take a few days to be authorized.

Northern Land Council

Northern Land Council, Mitchell Street, Darwi...
Take advantage of free Dry Season activities
If you visit during the dry season, take advantage of the seasonal ranger program, which offers over 40 free activities each week, including cultural displays, guided walks, nighttime slideshows, and rock art presentations.
Experience a famous Ubirr sunset
A must-do is the late afternoon guided walk at Ubirr, one of Kakadu's most visited locations. The old indigenous rock art will be explained by your local guide, and you'll complete the journey on top of Ubirr in time for a spectacular sunset and unforgettable views across the floodplains.

Ubirr

Ubirr, Kakadu NT, Australia
Grab a bite on the way back
Grab a bite to eat on the way home at the Border Store, which is recognized for its wonderful food and pleasant service.
Day 3
Prepare your supplies
Get your 4WD ready for a camping trip in the bush. Make sure you've brought enough food and water to last the night (and firewood if you are travelling in the cooler months).
Soak up history at the Nourlangie rock art site
Travel south from Jabiru to the Nourlangie rock art site, which has been utilized as a storm shelter by the local Aboriginal people for thousands of years. The artwork on the walls provides a glimpse into their rich spiritual heritage. During the dry season, free activities are offered on a daily basis.

Nourlangie Creek

Nourlangie Creek, Kakadu NT, Australia
Challenge yourself to the top of Mount Cahill
Mirray Lookout is just up the road. If you're feeling energetic, try the 3.6-kilometer return trek to Mount Cahill's summit, which takes around 1.5 hours to complete. The breathtaking panoramic vistas of central Kakadu's escarpment and floodplains will not disappoint.

Mirrai Lookout

Mirrai Lookout, Kakadu NT, Australia
Unwind at Cooinda Lodge
Take the Kakadu Highway for about 20 kilometers and turn off at Cooinda Lodge, where you can spend the night. The lodge offers a variety of lodging and camping options, as well as entertainment and activities for guests, such as bush tucker seminars and live music.

Cooinda Lodge Kakadu

Cooinda Lodge Kakadu, Kakadu Hwy, Kakadu NT, ...
Day 4
Get off the beaten track to the magnificent Jim Jim Falls
Today, you'll go on a four-wheel-drive trip to Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls, two of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world. Travel down the 4WD track for about 2 hours to reach your first stop, Jim Jim Falls, which is only accessible during the dry season. After the strenuous hike, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the red ochre Arnhem Land escarpment, which contrasts with the crystal blue waters of the falls. Stretch your legs and embark on a 2-kilometer return hike through a monsoon forest to a deep plunge pool flanked by 150-meter-high cliffs. The falls are in full power during the rainy season and offer a beautiful sight from above.

Jim Jim Falls

Jim Jim Falls, Kakadu NT, Australia
Picnic for lunch before heading to Twin Falls
On the way to Twin Falls, the picnic place is located along the Jim Jim Falls access road. Stop here for a bite to eat before continuing on to Twin Falls, which is only 10 kilometers away. Warning: This section of the tour requires a 4WD with a snorkel because there is a creek crossing to cross that is normally around 0.6–0.7 m deep.

Twin Falls Road

Twin Falls Road, Kakadu NT, Australia
Climb aboard a shuttle boat to Twin Falls
Twin Falls may be reached by the Twin Falls Gorge Boat Shuttle Service, which will take you to the base of the falls and provide you with information about the area through a talk given by the boat's guide. Tickets for the shuttle service, which runs until late in the afternoon, can be purchased at the campground. Take a picturesque stroll along the boardwalk to the cascading falls, or just sit back and enjoy on the white sand beach.
Another night in Cooinda Lodge
This afternoon, return to Cooinda Lodge by driving back to the Kakadu Highway.
Day 5
Explore the Cooinda area
Spend the day at Cooinda exploring. The Warradjan Cultural Centre is a must-see. You can learn about the local Aboriginal people's culture and beliefs while also seeing traditional weaving and culinary techniques.

Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre

Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Kakadu ...
Absorb the changing landscapes of Yellow Water Billabong
On a Yellow Water Billabong sunset tour, get to know Kakadu's most famous wetland. The billabong is home to crocodiles and a diverse assortment of resident species, and it's the finest opportunity to see the wetland wildlife in their native habitat. As the sun sets, watch the Brolgas dance while your knowledgeable guide explains how the Bininj people exploited the flora and animals to support their way of life.

Yellow Water Billabong

Yellow Water Billabong, Kakadu Hwy, Kakadu NT...
Or get in the action with a fishing tour
Perhaps a Yellow Water Fishing Tour is more your style if you want to be right in the middle of the action? You'll have the chance to capture the legendary barramundi on Kakadu's most famous billabong, guided by skilled fishing guides. If you catch a big one, you can have one of the chefs prepare it to your specifications. It'll be a fishing trip you'll never forget.
Kick-back for your final night at Cooinda Lodge
After a long day of touring, return to your Cooinda Lodge lodging and relax.
Day 6
Prepare for your camping adventure
Get up early, pack your 4WD, and restock your cooler with enough food, water, and firewood to see you through the rest of your journey. Get back on the road; this time, your destination is Gunlom Plunge Pool, which is located further along the Kakadu Highway. The drive itself is spectacular and takes about two hours from Cooinda.
Stopover at crystal clear Maguk
Make a pit stop at Maguk to break up the journey. A short walk to the base of the Maguk waterfall is well worth the effort, as you'll be welcomed with crystal clear pools ideal for relaxing in the mid-morning sun.

Barramundi Gorge (Maguk) Waterfall

Barramundi Gorge (Maguk) Waterfall, Kakadu NT...
Hit the road for Gunlom
When you're ready to get back on the road, head north on the Kakadu Highway to Gunlom, a beautiful spot with a flowing waterfall feeding into a plunge pool below. This will also be your overnight camp.

Gunlom Waterfall Creek

Gunlom Waterfall Creek, Gulung Mardrulk NT, A...
Bask in the views at the infinity pool
If you hike to the top of the falls, you'll be rewarded with spectacular views of southern Kakadu and more crystal clear pools to soak in, including the famous natural infinity pool. Relax and enjoy the serenity at the picnic places shaded by big gum trees.
Settle in for a night under the stars
Set up camp for the night and take in the last sunset over Kakadu National Park. Before you sleep in for the night, raise a glass to a week filled of adventure and unusual experiences.
Day 7
Relax the morning away
Today is the last day of your stay in Kakadu National Park. Spend the morning at Gunlom relaxing before returning to Darwin via the Kakadu Highway.
Make a Pine Creek stop over
Stop in at Pine Creek, which is located close the Kakadu and Stuart Highway interchange. There are various spots where you may unwind with a refreshing drink and a friendly conversation with the locals. Continue on your trip back to Darwin, reminiscing about your time in Kakadu.

Pine Creek

Pine Creek NT, Australia
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