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Australia is heaven for wildlife enjoyers, and Kakadu National Park is one of the must-visit destinations for thrill-seekers. Not only is it the second largest national park in the country and one of the world’s largest tropics, but it also is listed as a World Heritage Site since it’s been home to Aboriginal people in Australia for over 60,000 years. Read on to unveil what this national park has.
Brief History of Kakadu National Park
Prior to becoming a National Park offering natural beauty, Kakadu has always been known as a land where Aboriginal (Bininj/Mungguy) people shaped their home here for more than 60,000 years. Like other Aboriginal peoples, the land is essential to the Bininj/Mungguy people’s belief systems and spirituality.
They intimately understand the natural world of Kakadu, and they come up with six distinct seasons using weather patterns, animal behaviors, and plant blooming times. All these allow them to protect food supplies and habitats of a variety of animals and plants from natural hazards.
Today, around 500 Aboriginal people still reside in 18 outposts in the National Park. Since 1976, Kakadu has once more been Aboriginal land leased to the Australian government and turned into a national park.
Bininj/Mungguy people collaborate with Parks Australia to resolve issues and control and manage Kakadu’s cultural heritage. This includes preserving the 5,000 historic rock art sites using their extensive traditional knowledge.
Fascinating Facts About Kakadu National Park
Kakadu is an integral part of the entire Australian natural landscape. Let’s check out some of its fun facts before you go there.
Kakadu is the largest national park in the country, with a size of nearly 20,000 square kilometers. For comparison, it’s almost half the size of the entire Switzerland.
Listed on UNESCO Protected Site
Kakadu makes the list as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Protected sites. This is primarily due to its Aboriginal rock art sites spanning more than 20,000 years.
Lots of Animals
Kakadu has a rich biosphere of animal life, of which some species are categorized as endangered that they can only be found in the National Park. These animals include agile wallabies, crocodiles, flatback turtles, wallaroos, pig-nosed turtles, river sharks, etc.
Not Only 4, But There Are 6 seasons!
Aboriginal people in Kakadu acknowledge six seasons: kudjwek (monsoon), bangkerreng (storm season), yekke (cooler but still humid), wurrkeng (cold-weather season), kurrung (hot, dry weather), and kunumeleng (pre-monsoon storm season).
Spectacular Termite Mounds
Kakadu has termite mounds, making them the most striking natural landmarks in the park. These imposing structures are entirely the creation of termites living inside them, and they can reach a height of 6 meters.
When and How to Get to Kakadu National Park
Kakadu has nice weather all year round. While Aboriginal people in Kakadu recognize six seasons, it is simplest to compare the two larger ones when planning to visit: dry and wet seasons, when planning to visit.
- Dry season. The dry season lasts from around May until October. It’s also regarded as peak season when most tourist sites are open and will be crowded. The average temperature during this season is relatively much cooler and less likely to rain during the trip.
- Wet season. The wet season in Kakadu lasts from November until April. While most avoid this season due to the frequent rain, it’s actually the best time to visit. Not only is it less packed, but the chances of spotting roaring waterfalls and all creatures are higher than during the dry season.
Then, how to get to Kakadu National Park? Darwin is the nearest departure to get to the park. Most airports in Australian cities and a few places in Asia offer daily flights to Darwin. Tourists will usually stay in the towns of Cooinda or Jabiru before going to Kakadu.
There is no public transport to the park. Therefore, tourists must travel independently by hiring or renting a car to the park. Travel businesses in Jabiru and Darwin also offer various tour packages to Kakadu, which can be selected per needs.
Things to Do in Kakadu National Park
The following are the must-do activities while staying in Kakadu.
Visiting The Nourlangie Rock Art Site
Take a 1.5km walk across the area known as Aboriginal people’s home. Gain an insight into this ancient art gallery that features 20,000-year-old fascinating paintings.
Enjoy The Serene Beauty at Yellow Water
Discover the tranquil beauty of the most well-known billabong in Kakadu. Experience an unforgettable wildlife-watching cruise, go billabong barramundi fishing, or gaze up at the splendid nighttime sky.
Enjoy The Natural Splendor of Jim Jim Falls
Jim Jim Falls is a picture-perfect waterfall in Kakadu. Sign up for a scenic flight to witness the mesmerizing spectacle of water crashing over the falls.
Bird Watching in Mamukala Wetlands
Take the short walk to Mamukala Wetlands to get the best spot for bird watching. The wetlands are stunning all year round, but the late dry season from September to November is when they are the most striking.
Swimming at Motor Car Falls
This isolated waterfall is best to visit when most of Kakadu’s falls are inaccessible during the tropical summer. Early morning is the ideal time to explore Motor Car Falls, surrounded by lush forest.
Accommodation in Kakadu National Park
Kakadu is so big that a one day tour is far from enough to explore the majority of tourist spots in this National Park. Three to five days in the park are the most ideal and will also be the best days of your life. During this period, you will be able to fully appreciate all that makes this Australia’s largest national park so breathtaking.
Then, where to stay? Kakadu offers a wide range of accommodation options, from safari retreats, campgrounds, and cabins to crocodile-shaped hotels. Some provide joy flights so you can witness the landscape from high above. Some even have a gallery where visitors can view or purchase the work of art of native artists.
Most will assist you in booking a trip, and others will let you plan your own activities. Whichever accommodation you choose, they all ensure a cozy starting point from which to explore all the areas of this World Heritage site.
Plan Your Kakadu National Park Trip Now!
Kakadu National Park is a must-see destination to include in your Australia itinerary. Not only is it rich in biodiversity, but it’s also loaded with the cultural heritage of Aboriginal people. If you are a wildlife enjoyer and plan to visit other Australia’s iconic national parks, don’t forget to also include Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and Blue Mountains National Park in your itinerary.