Australia’s largest national park and one of the county’s most magnificent wilderness areas is Kakadu National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed landscape includes soaring sandstone escarpments, tall monsoon rain forests and wildlife rich river estuaries and mangrove swamps, together with expansive floodplains that transform with the seasons.
Kakadu boasts beautiful gorges and waterfalls, including Jim Jim Falls, Gunlom Falls and Twin Falls, as well as spectacular wetlands such as the Yellow Water Billabong and the Mamukala Wetlands. It’s considered one of the best destinations in Australia for bird watching, with around 30 percent of the country’s species found here, as well as being home to large saltwater crocodiles in the East Alligator River and at Yellow Water.
Kakadu is also renowned for its Aboriginal rock art sites, with ancient drawings on display in rocky outcrops at Nourlangie, Nanguluwur and Ubirr where indigenous people have sought shelter for thousands of years. The paintings were often created for hunting purposes to connect people with the spirit of the animal or to depict traditional ceremonies. Some rock art stories are closely associated with the Dreamtime, including images of the Rainbow Serpent that is believed to have created much of the landscape.
Kakadu experiences its dry season from April to October when most of the visitor sites are open, with the tropical wet season extending from November to March. While the park transforms a lush green, getting around during this period can be trickier, with extensive flooding causing many roads and sites to be closed to visitors. With self-drive and guided tours more limited during the “wet”, this is an ideal time to take to the skies on a scenic flight to witness the waterfalls cascading over the escarpment.