Mention Kakadu National Park
and a number of images come to mind. Aboriginal art, rock formations, bird life and sweeping escarpments. Other than being well known for its world heritage
has a lot to offer the traveller. There are a number of 4WD tracks in and around the park and its a bird watchers, boat and fishing lover's dream. Just watch out for the crocs!
The images we tend to see of Kakadu
are aerial photographs taken from light aircraft during the November to April period, and you could be forgiven for thinking that Kakadu
was a rainforest - it is far from it. Kakadu
is not world heritage
listed for its beauty, but for its diversity so forget the images you've seen in the magazines and on TV. In reality Kakadu
is not like that - ask anyone who's been there. Kakadu
actually has 6 main landforms, although about 80% of the park is defined as "Lowlands", which means shallow soils, lots of ironstone and ancient rocky hills. The most popular areas for tourists are the Floodplains and the Estuaries, due to the wonderful array of plant life and especially wildlife that can be seen near the water.
by vehicle means you'll be there during the Dry Season as this is the only time that vehicular access is possible along the dirt and sometimes rough tracks that lead to the most interesting locations.
How to Use this Trek Note
Click the "Map" tab below to see the route we've provided. Icons on the map are the POIs you'll need for navigation purposes. Be sure to check the list of Nearby Places
on each POI page.
If you'd like to save this information there are a couple of ways to go about it, depending on what you're actually after:-
- Ideal solution - download the ExplorOz Traveller App from Google Play or the App Store. The app enables you to carry the ExplorOz Places, Treks, & Maps data offline in your mobile device ready for your adventures. It is a complete mapping, navigation and tracking app. For more details, read our ExplorOz Traveller page.
- You can print a paper copy of the text using the print icon button shown above, near the social media buttons. For the best output it is advised to open each tab/section to load all images and artwork. You will still need to click open each Place page (listed in Where to Stay, What to See) to print off all available information.
- If you have a Hema Navigator or use Mapping Software such as OziExplorer, or TrackRanger AND you are an ExplorOz Member, then you can click the Download Trek button at the top of this page to obtain the raw data files (eg. GPX) for this Trek.
- If you're not a Member, or you'd like to batch download the entire Treks database you can obtain this by buying a product called EOTreks Route Files from our online shop.
The land itself is more than two billion years old, and the Aboriginal rock art adorning it is has been there for 50,000 years or more. There are as many as 5,000 Aboriginal sites identified in Kakadu
. The rock art galleries reveal fish, birds and animals presented x-ray style, revealing internal organs and bone structures. The name ‘Kakadu
’ comes from ‘Gagadju’ - the main Aboriginal language used in the northern part of the area at the start of the 20th century. Today three major languages are spoken within the Park - Gundjehimi, Kunwinjku and Jawoyn.
The first European discovery of the Kakadu
area was in 1818 with the naming of the West Alligator, East Alligator and South Alligators Rivers by surveyor Phillip Parker King. In an overland expedition in 1845, explorer Ludwig Leichhardt was the first European to stand on the edge of the Arnhem Land escarpment.
In 1979, the first stage of Kakadu National Park
was begun and in 1984 it gained its World Heritage
listing and the area achieved international recognition as a cultural and ecological treasure. Today, Kakadu National Park
covers 20,000 square kilometres and is home to more than 1,600 species of plant, 60 mammals, 290 birds, 120 reptiles, 25 frogs and 55 fish (many are rare and occur only in Kakadu
's World Heritage
status, its recognition as the back drop to Crocodile Dundee, and its controversial uranium mining leases keep the Park in the international spotlight.