Kakadu National Park is situated 170 km southeast from Darwin. It covers about 2 million hectares with one of the most diverse fauna and flora.
There are four major river systems: East Alligator River, West Alligator River, Wildman River and South Alligator River.
There is over 60 mammal species and 50 freshwater species in the area.
The biological diversity and the indigenous heritage of the place finally was recogonised by the international community.
Thus, in 1992 the entire Kakadu National Park was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
On average, over 200000 people visit Kakadu. The strong imprint of Aboriginal culture, stunning landforms and plenty of animals continue attracting visitors. Salt water crocodiles of the Yellow water are trademark of the area. Although hunting is not allowed in the Park, the licensed fishing is permitted. To visit Kakadu you can organise a tour or drive by yourself. Most roads are accessible for two wheel drive vehicles. However, areas like Twin Falls, Jim Jim Falls and Gunlom have roads suitable only for 4WD.
Kakadu Choice of Tours
The question is: do you want an organised tour or drive by yourself. The answer depends on:
- How much time do you have to prepare?
- How much time do you want to allocate for the trip?
- How much money do you want to spend on the trip?
For those who believe that Kakadu is a wilderness, which only Crocodile Dundee can master, you are dead wrong!
Kakadu is a well developed place with good roads and accommodation.
However, if you do not have time to prepare for the trip than organised tours are the better choice.
However, if you know how to camp or you booked the accommodation in advance than try to venture by yourself.
The amount of time to spend in the park is also important. Remember, Kakadu is a vast place with the size of Switzerland. Imagine going to Switzerland and having a day to travel around? So, if you dedicate minimum 3 days to stay in the Park then you should be satisfied with the self tour. For those who plan 3 or less days to stay in Kakadu, a booked tour will be more appropriate. Simply put, tour organisers will take you to major attraction faster than you can.
Kakadu Organised Tours
The tour operators almost exclusively use air conditioned coaches with pre-booked air conditioned accommodation. There is really little to experience the wilderness of Kakadu with organised tours. However, for short 3 day trips you have a chance to see major attractions such as:
- Mamukala Wetlands
- Yellow River (place where you can see salt water crocodiles)
- Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre
- Ubirr (Aboriginal rock paintings and river cruises)
- Jabiru (mining town)
The prices vary depending on the package. You can expect to pay $160 per adult per day for a guided tour with a descent exploration. Who provides tours? Essentially zillions of operators cater for this area. Internet booking are the most convenient and informative for trips to Kakadu National Park.
Kakadu Self Drive
Self driving is for those who prefer to stick to their own itinerary.
Kakadu is pretty developed for 2 wheel driving vehicles.
However, some spectacular areas are only accessible to 4WD. The stunning Twin Falls and Jim Jim Falls are some of those places where 2 wheel drive vehicle is not allowed.
You need to know in advance where you are going to stop, camp or take the accommodation. Distances are very important. Being inside the Kakadu National Park does not mean that your are within the facilities. Beautiful Koolpin George is only 135km from Jabiru but you cannot take that trip at 6pm. Plenty of food (preferably not perishable), and "gallons" of water are the must. Charged cell phones, GPS and ready first aid kit will further help with unexpected situations.