Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory

5 Reasons why you should visit Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory

Having just arrived in Australia, you might be wondering what you should do. After all, there are thousands of sights to see and activities to do. You might hit the beaches, or you might take a dinner cruise off the coast near Sidney. In terms of indoor activities, if you only have a day, one of the most popular activities is a visit to the National Gallery of Victoria.

Outdoor activities include such things as the amazing Eaglehawk Neck Tessellated Pavement where the ground is naturally segmented into blocks like some science-fiction floor. Of course, one of the most amazing adventures available is a visit to Kakadu National Park (KNP).

1. Overnight adventure

A trip to KNP is not something you can actually accomplish in a day. Getting there, for instance, is done via plane or ATV and typically takes over three hours if you drive from Alice Springs or Katherine. Because of the distances involved and the vast area of the park, the best way to experience it is to book a three- or four-day tour. If you do, you can experience the park at your leisure in a small-group setting, enjoying camping in the evenings and trekking from location to location during the day. In terms of nights, there is nothing so vast as the starscape across the outback.

2. Cruise for crocodiles

Swimming the rivers is not advised, but you can take a dinner cruise up the Yellow Water Billabong, an expansive area of wetlands. During the cruise, you will likely spot more than a few crocodiles, one of the most massive predators in Australia. Additionally, there is lodging nearby, so you do not have to rough it.

Additional animals you might see include the water buffalo. These animals inhabit the floodplains, and one of the most amazing photographs you might snap is that of a lone beast submerged in the water with only its head and horns protruding up into the hot air. When evening comes, the sunset glows across the flat landscape, a shimmering mix of tangerine and blood orange.

3. Plunge in the pool

The Gunlom Plunge Pool is not a hotel pool. Instead, it is a glistening pool at the bottom of a waterfall located in Waterfall Creek. This particular attraction is a popular way for people to cool off while enjoying incredible sights.

For instance, behind the pool is the towering waterfall that feeds it. In front of the pool is a sudden drop off of rocks overlooking the vast plains of the Australian outback. In nearly every aspect, the Gunlom Pool is an eternity pool made by nature.

4. Maguk

Once you are done swimming at Gunlom, you must trek to Maguk, a series of water-filled gorges fed by--you guessed it--another waterfall. This gorge offers people another opportunity to swim in many of the filled holes that speckle the landscape. Here, you can dive from the cliffs or enjoy nature's shower beneath the waterfall.

To get there, you must be ready to drive an ATV, so accompanying tour guides along the way is the preferred way to enjoy this site.

5. Twin Falls

Yes, the Northern Territory is filled with waterfalls, and the two for which Twin Falls is named feed a pool deep enough for snorkeling and scuba diving. The falls involve a series of waterfalls and pools over an extended distance. If you are a hiker, this is your paradise as you can hike through the rocks and stop and rest at a pool as you relax against the backdrop of trickling water. When you are ready, you can resume your hike and relax, once again, at the next pool. You can continue to do this until you reach the main falls that drop 518 feet. For swimmers, snorkeling allows you to see the depth of the main pool.

As with much of the travel through the outback, getting to the falls involves an ATV. You must drive slowly as the terrain can be rough. However, slow travel is encouraged as there are a lot of opportunities for photos along the bluffs and nearby destinations, such as Jim Jim Falls.

Once you arrive, park rangers do advise that you remain aware that crocodiles are nearby. As such, you have to be on the lookout when you swim. Although signs are posted in areas favored by crocodiles, these signs are not always reliably posted. Additionally, in the dry season, crocodiles sometimes travel far and wide in search of new water spots.