Most scenic/best campsites in Kakadu?

Submitted: Monday, Apr 29, 2013 at 22:25
ThreadID: 101931 Views:2573 Replies:7 FollowUps:2
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Hi all,
we expect to arrive in Kakadu in around a week's time. We have a camper trailer, and the option of using a tent instead, although we would still need enough space to park the car and trailer.
Given the time of year (eg I know Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls areas will still be inaccessible, which campsites would you recommend, for scenery, variety, privacy etc.
We have three young kids so will be being pretty cautious re crocs, and expect to have 4 nights in Kakadu overall.
I know there is some free/bush camping, but is this only for tents? We prefer beautiful scenery and not being crammed in with 1000s over having access to facilities.
Thanks for any insights!
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Reply By: Member - Serendipity(WA) - Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013 at 11:22

Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013 at 11:22
Hi Carolyn

If you are entering Kakadu from Pine Creek then you will come across Moline Rock hole just about 3km from the bridge before you get to the Ranger's hut. Small campsite that doesn't get a lot of visitors and you can swim there. Bit of a rough track but only 2km about off the road.

Next would be Barramundi Gorge or they call it Maguk nowadays. We found not many camp at this site but it is nice enough campsite. The falls are awesome especially if you take the track to the top. You can swim at the top. We had our kids there from about grade 1 onwards. When you take the track up to the gorge at one stage you need to cross the creek. Don't cross, just look up the hill for the track going to the top.

After that Sandy Billabong which is 4x4 access and doesn't get a lot of people. No you can't swim there and should camp away from the water's edge but a peaceful spot. (tourist taken there a few years back swimming at night). Turn into the Muirella park camping area and go through out the back to sandy billabong.

Jim Jim campsite might be open by now. It does get busy with lots of tourist and tour groups playing their didgeridoos till late but the falls are great to see.

Hope that gives you some ideas.



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Reply By: Tjukayirla Roadhouse - Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013 at 11:36

Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013 at 11:36
one of the best spots, without doubt is Koolpin gorge (Jarrangbarnmi) beautiful spot, and well off the beaten tourist track.
It's a bit of a muck around to get access, as you need to download and fax a form to the parks mob for a permit, but, that also helps keep the numbers down, which is good.
It is a special area of Kakadu, and was one of my favourite spots to take tourists when I was a Tour guide in the Top End.
Failing that, yes, Maguk is another favourite of mine. As is Gunlom, which does get a bit busy at times, but great camping and great walks, and great swimming holes.
AnswerID: 510036

Follow Up By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013 at 14:45

Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013 at 14:45
Agree with Al. We stayed at Koolpin Gorge in 06 and there was only 3 other vehicles there. Fun getting in and we had to get the key from the Mary River RH. Had tried to get permits for the other permit only areas but only got Koolpin.

The walk up the gorge to the falls was a minor challenge, rock hopping and wading, but well worth it.

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Reply By: DaveO*ST-R - Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013 at 20:11

Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013 at 20:11
Haven't been to Kakadu for some time, but one of our favourite spots was Gunlom (AKA Waterfall Creek) A beautiful spot about 25 k's in from the Kakadu Highway. Heaps to see and do.


AnswerID: 510059

Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013 at 21:08

Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013 at 21:08
Hi Carolyn

We stayed one or two nights at each as we moved through, taking day trips to the main places. Firstly Gunlom, then an unserviced one at Gungural, followed by Mardugal (near Cooinda), Muirella, and Merl (bad for mosquitoes). Merl was the only one hard to get a spot for a big rig, but would be no trouble for a camper trailer - it is a big campground.

Although the parks campgrounds were mostly similar, Mardugal was my favourite. It was also surprisingly quiet - I think most people opted for powered site at nearby Cooinda which seemed fairly crowded.

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Reply By: Peterpan - Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013 at 21:35

Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013 at 21:35
Hi. I enjoyed camping in 05 and 06 at Merle campground with showers and toilets near Border Store just before Ubirr. Plenty of room for a trailer or tent. The rock art and escarpement tour with the rangers at sunset was very good. Doug Neville a aboriginal ranger there then was very helpfull. Enjoy your trip.
AnswerID: 510067

Reply By: Carolyn R2 - Wednesday, May 08, 2013 at 07:39

Wednesday, May 08, 2013 at 07:39
Thanks guys. Sadly most if those places are still closed. Luckily ubirr is open so we will probably vase ourselves near there for a couple of days (merl?) and hope that gunlom or maguk opens by the end of the week though that seems unlikely.
AnswerID: 510559

Follow Up By: Aussi Traveller - Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 13:00

Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 13:00
I just looked up the Kakadu road report and Gunlom opened today.

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Reply By: Carolyn R2 - Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 10:51

Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 10:51
Just a follow up to all this to let you know we ended up staying at Kakadu Lodge and were very happy. IT maybe different in peak season, but only about 1/5 of the campsites were used, so we had lots of shade and lots of space. The pool was a lifesaver in the heat (normally I would choose bush camping over a caravan park, and Merl looked quite nice with heaps of space, but with three kids, the pool won us over!). Cost was $38 per family for a powered site.
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