The Highlights of Kakadu National Park

Posted October 21, 2013 by Alberto Molero in Travel Lists

A wildlife refuge and UNESCO World Heritage site, Australia’s Kakadu National Park covers nearly 20,000 square kilometers. From stone country in the southern portion of the park to the marshes and billabongs of the north, these diverse landscapes are home to many rare and endangered species. One-third of Australia’s bird species call Kakadu home, as do one quarter of its fish. In addition to the stunning landscapes and unique wild residents, Kakadu is also notable for its aboriginal culture. The Bininj Mungguy people have lived on this land for over 50,000 years. If you’re planning a visit to Kakadu, you won’t want to miss the following highlights.

Wildlife Spotting

Home to over 2,000 plant species and many animals you won’t see anywhere else in the world, one of Kakadu’s primary draws its native wildlife. There are over 10,000 crocodiles living in the park, which can be viewed safely from a boat tour. You’ll want to take care around water holes to avoid disturbing the snakes and crocodiles, but this is where you’ll also find some of Australia’s most colourful birds and the unique flatback turtles. From viewing graceful cranes to frilled lizards, there’s never a dull moment.


One of the best ways to explore the outer reaches of the park is by car. There are several roads only accessible to vehicles with 4-wheel drive, so you’ll want to get behind the wheel of a hardy vehicle like a Jeep to get off the beaten path. These tracks lead to sights like Barramundi Gorge, with its diverse wildlife, or the secluded swimming hole at Graveside Gorge. You can also spy phenomenal aboriginal rock art which is accessible just off the main road, including the 20,000 year old Nourlangie Rock Art site. If you plan on driving on rough terrain, it’s best to avoid travel during the rainy season, which lasts from January to April. Roads can easily get washed out and treacherous during this time. Guided Jeep tours are also available if you don’t have a suitable car of your own.

Aboriginal Art

In addition to the Nourlangie Rock Art site mentioned above, another top spot to take in paintings dating back thousands of years is Ubirr. Inside the main gallery, you’ll find images of animals and spirits, ranging in age from 8,000 to 15,000 years. The Nardab Lookout is accessible a short climb from the main gallery of this rocky site, giving you a panoramic view to take in the famous Kakadu sunset. You can learn more about the art you’ve seen by visiting the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre, with a permanent exhibition explaining creation stories and cultural traditions.


There are numerous ways to explore Kakadu. Driving, fishing, swimming, and cycling are all possibilities. However, walking provides you with the unique opportunity to explore the land and appreciate the finer details of its plants, animals, and geography and there are many notable trails to follow. The Barrk Sandstone Bushwalk is one of the most popular, departing from the Nourlangie site. You’ll pass through wetlands and rocky terrain on this track.

Whether you choose to explore on foot or behind the wheel of a Jeep, you’ll want to take your time in Kakadu to appreciate the beauty and spiritual nature of this ancient refuge.


About the Author

Alberto Molero

Alberto Molero is the co-founder, photographer and designer of WildJunket. As an adventure junkie, he’s fed his adrenaline cravings with scuba-diving trips in Borneo, ice-climbing excursions in Iceland and hiking expeditions in Australia. When he’s not traveling the world, he dreams of living on the beach and going surfing all day.

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