Trip To Kakadu National Park, Litchfield and Katherine Gorge. 4WD Or 2WD?
We are planning a 10-12 day trip to Kakadu National Park, Litchfield and Katherine Gorge. Our family of 4, kids 6 and 9, likes hiking and camping, but we have only done it in the US. Our budget is not enormous and we are trying to decide if it is worth it to rent a 4WD.
We want to be able to go everywhere but it costs more than $2000 vs. about $800 for a 2WD. It is a tough call. I guess the question is how much does one really miss out on by not having a 4WD (which means having to stay on bitumen roads according to the rules of every rental place I've called). Will we regret it? I realize you can't really answer this for us but any comment welcome and we won't blame you whatever the outcome...
Re: Trip To Kakadu National Park, Litchfield and Katherine Gorge. 4WD Or 2WD?
Tough call indeed. It's not the lack of 4wd that will restrict you, but the regulations. Many unsealed roads are perfectly fine for 2WD.
What time of the year do you plan to travel? Not being able to leave the bitumen is a bigger problem during peak season, when everything is totally packed. A 4WD provides the option to get away from the biggest crowds.How much does one really miss out on?
I would opt for the 4WD
- You don't need a 4WD in Katherine Gorge.
- Most of Litchfield National Park is bitumen, but the Lost City and the southern access road (passes Tjaynera or Sandy Creek Falls and Surprise Creek Falls) are unsealed. In my opinion this is the best part of the park. However, if you like hiking and camping, then Walker Creek or the Tabletop Track are also good places to get away from people.
- In Kakadu you will definitely miss out big time... Jim Jim and Twin Falls, Maguk, Gunlom, Koolpin Gorge, all the quiet and free bush camping areas...
, and try to save as much as possible in other areas. (Camping all the way, choosing free bush camp sites, cooking rather than buying meals, drinking water rather than soft drinks, really stocking up on all groceries in the city where it's cheaper, etc.)
Another option is to take the 2WD and ignore the regulations... But that's just me. Don't read that as qualified advice, please. You'd have no insurance cover on unsealed roads, so it could turn out to be VERY expensive.
I hope that whatever you decide, you will end up feeling it was the right decision!
Photo by Vaka
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