5 Fabulous Days in Kakadu

by Hickey Family
(Oakville, Ontario, Canada)

Our family recently had a one month vacation in the Cook Islands and Australia. By far, the highlight of our trip was the 5 fabulous days we spent in Kakadu National Park. We rented a 4WD campervan with snorkel and we are so glad we did! Without it we would not have been able to see many of the fantastic sites.

On the drive to Kakadu, we visited Fogg Dam which was teeming with birds. We saw the huge termite mounds and saw several woodland areas being 'cool burned'. When we arrived in Kakadu we stayed at the Jabiru campsite overnight.

The next day we went to the Nourlangie Rock Art Site and did the short hike up to see the beautiful views of Nourlangie and the plains. Next, we did the return hike around Anbangbang Billabong which was mostly dried up and uneventful, until the end when we were rewarded with seeing a wild boar drinking at the edge of the water.

Then we headed to Jim Jim Falls. We loved it there! We arrived late in the afternoon, so we had it all to ourselves! We drove back out and camped overnight at Garnamarr. In the morning, we drove to Twin Falls. That was an adventure having to cross Jim Jim creek with the 4WD with the water level 0.7 meters! We opted to take the boat into Twin Falls (rather than hike to the top), as we wanted to visit Jim Jim Falls later in the day. Twin Falls was spectacular, but no swimming there due to croc danger! We went back to Jim Jim Falls and enjoyed the afternoon, swimming in both the sandy beach water hole and the plunge pool too! We camped at Cooinda Lodge.

We got a wake-up call (can you believe it!) outside our tent at 5:30 am so that we could get ready for the sunrise yellow water cruise. Sunrise was recommended as the best time as this is when the wildlife is most active. We saw all kinds of flora and fauna, egrets, ducks, osprey, herons, feral horses, a boar family, and six or seven crocodiles! It was fantastic.

We then drove the Gunlom Falls. After visiting Jim Jim and Twin Falls, Gunlom Falls were a bit of a disappointment. However, the water holes at the top were the big payoff! We spent 2-3 hours swimming and moving from one pool to the next and enjoying the views from the top. We returned to our campsite at Cooinda.

We got a tip from a family that we should visit Cahill's Crossing on the East Alligator River. If we got there slightly before high tide, we were likely to see crocodiles crossing from the salt-water side to the freshwater side. It was a great tip -- we saw several crocodiles. We watched the action for about an hour and we didn't want to leave, but we had to have our 4WD vehicle back to the rental company. All in all, a fantastic five days in Kakadu!
(Written Sep 2011)

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