Kakadu powered campsites for vans. Suggestions please.

Submitted: Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 20:50
ThreadID: 103725 Views:1609 Replies:5 FollowUps:6
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We are planning the Kakadu leg of our travels and will be leaving Darwin at the end of the week. I am looking for suggestions as to where we can base ourselves for two or three nights in up to three different places so we can see as much as possible, while still enjoying powered sites (read air conditioning) for our caravan.
(Yes, we are wimps but not used to the 'winter' weather here being the same as our hot summer at home!)

We are also sick of towing the van over rough dirt roads after 18 weeks on the road so would like to park it in resorts and van parks, and then just drive to the 'must see' places.

I have studied the literature and had a look online and am now totally confused! We want to see art sites, the lookouts, do walks, see Gunlom falls, Jim Jim and twin falls, and do a Yellow Waters cruise, and anything else we can squeeze in...also fish if that is permitted anywhere. Not much eh!

thanks for any helpful suggestions from people who have been there and done that.
I would like to book ahead if possible and have it all planned before we leave Darwin.

regards,
Heather



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Reply By: Member - Rob D (NSW) - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 22:14

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 22:14
Hi Heather,

The Badgers website has many thousands of reviews of individual caravan parks around Australia. All of the reviews are by people who have actually stayed at the park.

This is a far more reliable source of information on what the park is actually like; far more so than relying on a 3 star or 4 star rating in other publications.

For example, one park we were considering staying at recently looked good from both their advertising and the caravan parks book, but on examination of the write ups on the Badger's website we discovered that the sites were very small and difficult to manoeuvre a large van into.

Badgers Caravan Park Report
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Follow Up By: Member - Rob D (NSW) - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 22:28

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 22:28
We stayed at the Lakeview Park at Jabiru which is at the northern end of Kakadu. If I remember correctly it only has on-suite sites.

It is convenient to many of the attractions, including fishing in the East Alligator river.

Cahill's crossing, about 40km from Jabiru is a must see. It is a causeway crossing the East Alligator and when the water rises above the level of the causeway, the fish jump across from one side to the other and it is quiet common to see around ten salt water crocodiles catching the fish in mid air.

This may be the wrong season to see this if the water level is constantly over the causeway. Ask a local.

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Follow Up By: Member-Heather MG NSW - Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 07:20

Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 07:20
Thanks Rob,

Yes I am familiar with Badgers but was looking more for places where we can base ourselves around the Kakadu loop road which are convenient for us to see as much as possible.

So long as they have power and enough space to park our van we don't need much else. We have an ensuite bathroom.

We were hoping to see the crossing at the right tide, hope we are lucky!
cheers and thanks again,

Heather
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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 08:44

Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 08:44
There is only 3 spots in the park with powered parks. If you stay at Aurora Kakadu out on the Darwin road you virtually have to drive past the two parks in Jabiru to get to most of your tourist spots. I would suggest you stay in Jabiru for touring the northern part and Gagudju Lodge Cooinda Caravan Park & Campground for the southern features.

This map shows all the parks in Kakadu NP. Click on the pins for more info. Zoom in on Jabiru to access the two parks located there. Use the links in the pop-ups to do your final selection.

We stayed in Kakadu Lodge & Caravan Park and found it OK. The only reason for going there was to recharge the van battery half way through our visit. The rest of the time we stayed at Merle and Mardigal campgrounds the rest of the time (no solar panels on that van.)
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Follow Up By: REDHUX - Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 10:21

Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 10:21
G'day Heather,
I'd have to agree with Peter having done Kakadu 4 weeks ago.
Kakadu Lodge has fantastic grassed powered sites, good facilities and a big pool for an arvo dip! From here you can do trips to Ubirr rock art and Cahill's Crossing. We got permits ($12.50 per adult) from the Northern Land Council in at Jabiru and visited the Injalak Arts & Crafts centre at Oenpelli. Highly recommend :)

When heading to the southern end of the park, Gagadju Park at Cooinda is quite centrally located. Very busy though! On the way down pop in and see the art at Nourlangie and then pack a lunch and eat at Anbangbang Billabong...beaut spot! From Cooindah you can do Yellow Waters Cruise, Jim Jim & Twin Falls, Gunlom etc.

There are no powered sites however, if time permits, stay a night or 2 in at Edith Falls NP. Top spot and great campground but you need to get in pretty early to get a spot.

Enjoy your trip Heather...it's a beautiful part of our country up there!
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Reply By: tg123 - Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 09:54

Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 09:54
Hi Heather!
In my experience it's best to go for an unpowered site if at all possible. Places like Cooinda pack the vans into powered sites with a shoe horn yet on an unpowered site we had buckets of room with easy access to facilities.
In my book Cahill's crossing is a must do (camp at Merle but the mozzies were thick on my last visit) and a sunset cruise on Yellow Waters will knock your socks off!
Good luck and safe travels!
Cheers
TG
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Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 10:37

Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 10:37
Heather, at the place where you do the yellow waters cruise, there's a caravan park.

When you first go in there, the sites are a bit squishy, but if you look down the back there's a relatively new grassed area which is very roomy (this was in 2011).

We really enjoyed the Yellow Waters cruise. Our friends did the morning cruise that included breakfast on return. That pile of eggs and bacon looked so yummy.

I've been enjoying your blog entries. We are in QLD at the moment and will be for another 6 weeks or so. Maybe we can catch up since we missed the opportunity in WA.

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Follow Up By: Member-Heather MG NSW - Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 20:03

Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 20:03
Hi GB,

Yep after reading all the replies so far and the other information I have collected we will probably stay in Jabiru for a few days and then move to Cooinda to see the southern bits of Kakadu. I'll book the cruise and accommodation at the same time.
I would rather have cramped sites and air conditioning at present so we can come back to the van every now and then for some relief from the heat!
We are planning on heading back home at the end of this month and once we get to Three ways are going down the centre, through Alice, so I doubt whether we can catch up soon. However if you are down the South Coast of NSW we would love to meet you both.
regards and thanks for your input,
Heather
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Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 23:31

Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 23:31
Hi Heather

We were not at all hot in the caravan in the Parks campgrounds and wouldn't have run our air conditioner even if we had power. All of these campgrounds were very pleasant - but the killer mosquitoes at Merl near Ubirr were none to pleasant :O. We were there in early August 2009.

My favourite was Mardugal; right near Cooinda and hardly anyone there while Cooinda looked packed out.

Several of the Parks campgrounds have generator areas.

Apart from the road into Gunlom which is not in good order due to washouts at present and taking caravans on it is not recommended, the other campgrounds are very easy access.

We based ourselves for a couple of nights at several parks campgrounds to take the non towing raod and track day trips to different features.

Motherhen
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Follow Up By: Member-Heather MG NSW - Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 07:18

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 07:18
Hi MH,

Sounds like you were lucky with the weather, or maybe you don't feel the heat like we do. We find when the temperature inside the van is anywhere above 33 degrees its very uncomfortable.
We have used the air conditioner daily for the past few weeks, apart from when we were shaded for much of the time by big trees, at El Questro.

I will check out the national park campgrounds to see which allow generators, so thanks for that information.

regards,
Heather
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 11:29

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 11:29
Hi Heather

Yes, I really do feel the heat. I am known for enjoying the climate in Bridgetown, known on forums as Fridgetown LOL. While it was certainly air conditioner weather in Darwin in August, Kakadu was mild while we were there. Maybe we were lucky.

Generators are permitted in designated areas during specified hours at Gunlom, Mardugal and Merl campgrounds. I think you know where to find my reviews and research on campsites ;)

Enjoy the wonderful north.

Mh
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