Aus Jim Jim Falls Kakadu National Park NT
Aus NT Lords Kakadu Arnhemland Safaris crocodile
Aus kakadu cultural tours example trip 2
Aus nt Kakadu NT rock art
Aus Jim Jim Falls Kakadu National Park NT
Aus NT Lords Kakadu Arnhemland Safaris crocodile
Aus kakadu cultural tours example trip 2
Aus nt Kakadu NT rock art
Discover the untamed wonder of the Top End

Kakadu National Park

Come to Kakadu! Australia’s largest national park. Dual World Heritage listed for both natural beauty and Aboriginal culture. Breathe in the fresh air in the wide open spaces of the Australian countryside. Immerse yourself in the oldest living culture on earth. One of the most interesting, diverse and unspoilt natural areas of Australia, Kakadu is not to be missed.

Where should you visit Kakadu National Park?

Kakadu National Park | Australia holiday
Cruise through Kakadu on crystal clear water
Meet the locals in Kakadu
© TravelEssence

Welcome to Kakadu National Park

Covering an area of 20,000 square kilometres, the park is gigantic and has great importance in terms of culture, flora and fauna. Science has proven that human presence has existed in the area for at least 25,000 years. Kakadu derived its name from the traditional owners, the Gagudju people, who leased the land to the Australian Government.

Enjoy vibrant colours of red, blue and green around the national park
© Tourism Australia

Kakadu's biodiversity

Kakadu's incredible biodiversity is recognised all over the world. The landscape and wildlife of the World Heritage-listed park changes dramatically from one end of the park to the other. It includes coastlines with mangrove forests, vast stony landscapes and endless floodplains and wetlands. The savanna forests and lowlands, which make up about 80% of the park, are home to a huge variety of plants and animals.

Kakadu is home to about 2,000 plant species, roughly a third of all Australian bird species and about a fifth of all Australian mammals. Some of these animals are endangered or threatened with extinction and many are unique to Australia. Think of the flying fox, river sharks, the wallaby and the pygmy possum.

Kakadu is a birdlover's paradise!
© Lords Safaris
Hear the distinctive laughter of a Kookaburra
© Lords Safaris

A living cultural landscape

Kakadu became a national park in 1979 and was one of the first in Australia to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1981. It is also one of only four parks in Australia to be listed for both cultural and natural values. The park is recognised as "a living cultural landscape with exceptional natural and cultural values".

Caring for and understanding the land is fundamental to Aboriginal culture. While the traditional owners welcome you to Kakadu and gladly share their culture with you, it is important to be respectful during your visit. This land has been theirs for thousands of years, and not all places are open to the public. Make sure to read the signage or follow your guide’s instructions.

A man and woman on a safari in Kakadu National Park
Immerse yourself in Indigenous culture
© Tourism NT | Helen Orr
Cultural Kakadu tour | Australia holiday
Kakadu is home to the oldest culture on Earth

Aboriginal kinship

Kakadu is home to the Mungguy people in the south and the Bininj people in the north. These groups are divided into clans which generally consist of two or more family groups that share ownership of certain areas of land. These boundaries are passed down generations through the father.

The clans in Kakadu have a complex kinship system that determines how individuals relate to one another and dictates the ways in which individuals communicate with each other. Today, Kakadu counts around 19 clan groups. Three out of the twelve languages that used to be spoken here are still alive today: Gun-djeihmi and Kun-winjku in the north and Jawoyn in the south.

Kakadu National Park | Australia holiday
The Mungguy en Bininj people gladly share their culture with you
Aboriginal waterhole | Australia holiday
Indigenous people welcome you to their homeland

Things to see and do in Kakadu

You definitely won’t get bored in Australia’s largest national park! You can go birdwatching, fishing or hiking with an Aboriginal guide. Take a boat trip on one of the billabongs, such as the Yellow Water at Cooinda, or the South Alligator River. Explore the park by plane or helicopter for an incredible view from the air. The list is endless! Here are a few of the highlights.

The park is easy to navigate around by yourself
© Tourism NT
Discover termite hills on a guided safari
© https:www.lords

The waterfalls

The Kakadu waterfalls reflect the magic of this World Heritage-listed national park and are a major attraction for visitors. Not only are they vastly varied, from the towering Jim Jim and Twin Falls to remote waterfalls in monsoon forests, they also reflect Kakadu's dramatic seasonal changes.

In the dry season, the waterfalls remain relatively quiet, and a great way to experience them is by bushwalking and camping. In the wet season, however, many turn into roaring torrents and their epic power is best viewed from above on a scenic flight.

Hike around Jim Jim Falls
© Tourism Australia

The most famous waterfalls in the park are Jim Jim Falls, Twin Falls and Gunlom Falls, the largest of which are the Jim Jim Falls. The 200 metre waterfall is at its best in the tropical summer (November to March), when heavy rains send huge volumes of water crashing into the gorge below. The disadvantage is that the waterfall cannot be visited during that period, instead spectacular views can be seen by air.

At Twin Falls, the water flows from the stone cliffs into a natural pool perfect for a cooling dip. Pack a picnic lunch and soak up the atmosphere on the white sandy beach at the base of the gorge.

Gunlom Falls are one of the finest in Kakadu, and also the most popular. The cascading waters and pristine plunge pool are a highlight for many visitors and offer the opportunity for some outstanding photography.

The majestic Jim Jim falls are best seen from the air
© Tourism NT | Hello Emily
Replenish and rejuvenate in clear, cool water in stunning natural surroundings
© Tourism Australia

Petroglyphs in Nourlangie Rock

There are many rocky outcrops in Kakadu National Park. One of the most famous is Nourlangie Rock. Because of its height, the views from the top are breathtaking. Make sure to visit at sunset, when the views are particularly magical. You will also find Aboriginal rock engravings here.

Ubirr Rock and the art galleries

Another rock that is well known for its spectacular views is Ubirr. However, it is so much more than that! What really makes it stand out are the rock art galleries. With murals that are over 20,000 years old, you are looking at one of the oldest drawings in the world. Within driving distance of the Bowali Visitor Centre, it is easy to visit.

The Yellow Water cruise

Watch the sunrise or sunset onboard an award-winning Yellow Water Billabong cruise near Cooinda (year round sailing). One third of all of Australia's bird species live here, making Yellow Water with its birdsong a must see in Kakadu. You will also see crocodiles, wallabies, wild horses and buffalo living around the lily-covered billabongs. From July to November, you can take a 1.8 kilometre walk across the floodplain to a viewing platform at Home Billabong.

Marvel at the waterlilies on the Yellow river
© Tourism Australia
Sit back and relax on the Yellow Water River cruise while a guide explains about the flora and fauna

Crocodile spotting

There are about 10,000 crocodiles in Kakadu - and that doesn't include the hatchlings! These fascinating creatures have been around for millions of years. There are a few ways to safely see these prehistoric predators in the park. There are safe platforms at Cahills Crossing and Yellow Water, and two cruises to choose from - the Guluyambi Cultural Cruise and Yellow Water Wetlands cruise.

The end of the dry season (August to November) is the best time to see the crocodiles. Depending on the weather and time of day, they can warm up in the sun or cool off in the shade or in the water. Before booking a cruise, ask your guide about the best time of day to see crocodiles, as it can vary from week to week.

Spot crocodiles in their natural habitat from the safety of your boat
You'll find many of these predators lurking around

Admission to Kakadu National Park

Before going to Kakadu National Park, it is important to do your research. Kakadu National Park is Aboriginal land and is leased to the Director of the National Park. Today it is managed by the traditional owners in partnership with Parks Australia.

The traditional owners of Kakadu recognize six seasons in the park, but usually the seasons are referred to as the Wet or the Dry. Much of the park is inaccessible during the wet season due to flooding, so make sure the areas you plan to visit are open while travelling through the Top End. In addition, visitors need a Kakadu Pass to enter the park, and you may also need a permit to visit certain areas.

Aus Waterlilies in Kakadu Darwin NT

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Jabiru as starting point

Many excursions depart from Jabiru, making it a good starting point for exploring Kakadu National Park. Near the town is also a small airport that offers flights over the park. This is an absolute must as it is the best way to see the vast basins of the rivers and the blackened landscapes.

In Jabiru you will also find The Bowali Visitor Centre. Here you can find everything you need to know about the park: lots of information about the area, hiking maps, the condition of the roads and of course explanations about the special flora and fauna of the park.

Jabiru is also one of the places in the park where you can pitch your tent to spend the night. In addition, the East Alligator region, the Nourlangie area, the Yellow Water region and the area around Jim Jim and Twin Falls also offer camping opportunities.

Kakadu in all its splendour is best seen from the air
You will be treated to the best night skies you've ever seen
© Tourism NT | Hello Emily

Best time to visit

Kakadu National Park is located 256 kilometres east of the city of Darwin in the Top End. You can reach the park via the Stuart Highway and the Arnhem Highway. The park is open all year round and has two seasons, the Wet (November-April) and the Dry (May-October).

There are two visitor centres, Bowali Visitor Centre and Warradjan Visitor Centre, where you can learn all about the wildlife, Aboriginal culture and geology of Kakadu. The best time to visit is May-September. In any case, make sure you are equipped with insect repellent, sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat with a mosquito net.

Kakadu river cruise | Australia holiday
Sunrise and sunset are the best times for a cruise with an abundance of wildlife
Kakadu is home to about a third of all Australian bird species


A visit to Arnhemland, the authentic reserve for the indigenous people at Kakadu National Park, is a truly unique experience. This area has never been colonised and therefore has remained a piece of authentic Australian wilderness. The indigenous population still largely lives here in the traditional way and nature is overwhelming. The area can only be visited with limited permits.

There is no better way to visit Arnhemland than with a local guide. During a guided tour you will learn about the indigenous culture and you will climb the Injalak Hill together with an Aboriginal guide. This place has one of the most fascinating rock paintings in Arnhemland and the guide will tell you all about it. The Injalak Hill is about a hundred metres high and the path requires a cautious ascent having a somewhat untouched feel to it, so a reasonable fitness level is required.

After climbing the rock you will visit the Injalak Arts and Crafts Centre where you can admire even more Aboriginal art such as paintings and hand-woven baskets.

An authentic experience in the Top End of Australia

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Travel with a small group to Litchfield National Park and learn about the oldest culture on earth.

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Where to stay?

Make your trip extra special by experiencing a unique stay from our large collection of hand-selected accommodations located in Kakadu National Park and beyond. Your travel specialist will match you up with accommodation that suits your wants and needs. A journey where your accommodation is an experience in itself.

Bungalow with pool view in Kakadu, Australia.
Take in the natural surroundings from your own private pool
Kakadu wilderness bungalow bedroom
Be one with nature in a Kakadu wilderness bungalow

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Why book with us?

  • Well-organised holiday, designed just for you
  • Small-scale accommodations run by friendly local hosts
  • Carefully recommended activities based on your interests
  • A travel tempo and driving distances that match your needs
  • Ingrained sustainability in all facets of your holiday
  • 30 years of experience in travel to Australia
  • Peace of mind with a local network in Australia and a 24/7 emergency number

Let's design your holiday together

We'll take the time to get to know you to match your fully bespoke holiday with your pace, your interests, and anything you desire. Combined with first-hand, local knowledge, you'll receive a mapped out itinerary from us - but the process isn't done until you are 100% satisfied. We take care of every detail, so you can focus on relaxing, rejuvenating and reconnecting with yourself and the world around you. Get in touch to get started now.

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Discover a world beyond ordinary

At TravelEssence, we specialise in crafting custom-made holidays that take you off the beaten path and create memories to last a lifetime. We believe in connecting with the heart and soul of a place, introducing you to the locals who call it home. Engage in conversations with fascinating individuals who will share their stories, traditions, and way of life, leaving an indelible mark on your journey.