Kakadu Park Secrets
Get away from tourists in Kakadu National Park
The Kakadu Park in the Northern Territory is one of the major tourist attractions in Australia, a must see for anyone travelling to Australia's tropical regions.
But the popularity of Kakadu National Park has its draw backs: 200,000 visitors a year, all visiting the same attractions at the same time... Is it possible to visit Kakadu and experience "untouched wilderness"?
If you already explored this site a bit then you know I'm here to tell you about the hidden gems of Outback Australia, the secret places that only we locals know about.
But I also want you to enjoy the big attractions as they should be enjoyed:
If you would like to experience the wonders of Kakadu National Park, but want to escape the tourism circus that surrounds it, follow the tips laid out below:
Pick The Best Time To Visit Kakadu National Park
The most common advice regarding seasons is that the middle of the dry season, from June to August, is the best time to visit the Kakadu park. This is the time of the year with the most pleasant temperatures. But it is also the time with the highest tourist numbers..
Avoid the biggest crowds. Schedule your trip earlier or later. It might be a bit warmer in May or September, but heck, that's what the beautiful waterfalls and rock pools are there for. And if you don't mind heat, humidity and a bit of adventure you might even consider visiting during the wet season...
Choose The Best Areas Within Kakadu National Park
Most tourists enter the Kakadu park through the northern entrance, the one closest to Darwin. Be different. Instead of turning left just south of Darwin onto the Arnhem Highway, continue on to Pine Creek, and turn left there.
The Kakadu Highway leads to the southern entrance, which is located only 60 km from the main highway. Many of Kakadu's most beautiful waterfalls, like Maguk and Gunlom Falls, can easily be reached from there (even in a day trip from Darwin).
And many people who choose the northern entrance never make it that far...
Choose The Right Vehicle
The Kakadu park's network of bitumen and gravel roads is fantastic and well maintained. Still, there are many tracks that are accessible by four wheel drive only, and they lead to some of the most beautiful and pristine areas within the park.
Hiring a four wheel drive vehicle not only greatly increases your reach within Kakadu National Park. A 4wd vehicle also allows you to leave many of the other tourists behind.
Do You Like Camping?
Kakadu park offers some of the best camping facilities of all Australian national parks. The managed camp sites offer a generator area and proper bathrooms with hot water, they have barbecue facilities and fire pits, and you are allowed to collect fire wood in the park. These sites are popular and they fill up quickly.
But there are many bush camping sites that are well maintained, too. They offer basic toilet facilities, barbecues and fire pits. And usually they are only accessible by four wheel drive. See the point above, and be willing to rough it a bit. As a reward you will wake up to bird songs rather than your neighbour's blaring stereo. (And for a small fee you can still have a hot shower at one of the managed camp sites...)
Do You Like Bushwalking?
The Kakadu park also offers an extensive network of walking tracks. You can choose from short half hour walks, to full day or even over night trips, and everything in between. The longer the walk, the fewer people you will meet and the more different habitats, flora and wildlife you will see.
If you are interested in over night walks you have to register with the rangers and get permission. I think I can pretty much guarantee that you won't see other people on these walks...
To sum it up:
To get away from the tourist masses visit Kakadu National Park in the shoulder season, take your four wheel drive to the southern parts of the park, and be willing to exchange ultimate comfort for the ultimate nature experience.
You will treasure the memories of your visit for the rest of your life.
For links to more detailed information on all the points above see the main Kakadu National Park page.