Kakadu – Jabiru – Crocodilydoo

3 07 2014
In Kakadu National Park

In Kakadu National Park

On the spur of a moment we ventured into Kakadu.  From Katherine we were uncertain where to go next…. by lunch time we figured to bite the bullet and journey into Kakadu.  We’ve heard many mixed opinions of Kakadu – some saying it’s totally not worth the effort at all and others recommending only one or two places.  We figured we’d go and see what we find and make our own opinions of the famous National Park of the Northern Territory.

Gunlom was our first point of call and we set up camp for three nights.  There was a ranger on site and we happened to time our arrival for the free slide show night, which is a presentation on the area and it’s history.  There was also a guided walk in the morning up the steep track to the amazing look out and infinity pool.  We all went to the slide show then Dan and I did the morning walk.  Both happened to be very informative and definitely made our first experience of Kakadu more enjoyable with the extra knowledge of the place.  We never knew that uranium mines were a part of the area and even arsenic is found in Kakadu.  The Aboriginals used to call that particular area the “place of sick” or something like that.  I guess the toxins probably caused them some issues….

Gunlom was a good campsite having flush toilets and hot showers, although the drive in is a little rough, we weren’t too put off by this as we’ve defiantly been on worse!  It was also spacious and relatively quiet.  We did a walk out to the billabong, which wasn’t very picturesque and didn’t seem to have much bird life but we did see some beautiful brumbies passing by.

Our campsite seen from the lookout.  We are the blue camper trailer in the middle.

Our campsite seen from the lookout. We are the blue camper trailer in the middle.

Our camp at Gunlom viewed from the ground.

Our camp at Gunlom viewed from the ground.

Me!  On top of the mountain.  You can't tell I'm out of breath can you!

Me! On top of the mountain. You can’t tell I’m out of breath can you!

Dan … my walking buddy

Dan … my walking buddy

Beautiful Brumby

Beautiful Brumby

Gunlom waterhole.  On a side note:  This is the tree Mick Dundee and Sue had their first kiss in Crocodile Dundee

Gunlom waterhole. On a side note: This is the tree Mick Dundee and Sue had their first kiss in Crocodile Dundee

After Gunlom we moved up a little to Maguk.  Maguk is more of a bush camp, with no water or showers.  The campsites are well spaced apart, each having it’s own fire place which we utilised.  A short drive down from the campsite is an easy walk to a water hole and waterfall.  It was a little disconcerting that some of the boardwalk is underwater and there are signs about for crocodiles…. We arrived safely to the water hole which was a beautiful spot for a safe swim.  Further on at the water fall which is deemed “safe” to swim too is larger and deeper making the water dark and unable to see the bottom.  This wasn’t so inviting to swim in :-).

Two nights at Maguk was relaxing.  There was even giant water dragons to go with Kakadu’s giant termite mounds and giant crocodiles!  Even the mosquitos are giant in Kakadu!

Giant Water Dragons

Giant Water Dragons

Camp Fires

Camp Fires

Pretty colours… DO NOT SWIM HERE!  The white polystyrene is a "croc lolly".  The rangers check theses for bites to determine what crocs are around.

Pretty colours… DO NOT SWIM HERE! The white polystyrene having off the branch is a “croc lolly”. The rangers check theses for bites to determine what crocs are around.

The Maguk Water Fall

The Maguk Water Fall

Venturing further into Kakadu we set up camp at Malabanjbanjdju.  Again this is a bush camp and each night we only shared it with two other couples, making our three night stop very quiet.  This camp is on a billabong and finally there were some birds.  I’ve always associated Kakadu with huge billabongs and abundant bird life.  The documentaries I saw as a child showed thousands upon thousands of birdlife…. Maybe that is in the wet season?  At least this billabong had quite a variety of birds and to my delight one of which was a  Jabiru.  Our first morning when we ventured closer to the billabong for a look right before us in the water near the edge was a crocodile!  And a salt water crocodile at that… we all froze, took some steps backwards and he/she disappeared under the water.  We didn’t see the croc again that day.  The following day I did see presumably the same one, but not necessarily on the bank opposite us sunning itself.

We visited Ubirr, checked out all the amazing rock art and climbed up to the look out to see Arnhem Land, which is where Mick Dundee (Paul Hogan) took Sue (Linda Kozlowski) and said “this is my backyard” – for those that remember the movie Crocodile Dundee.

We also checked out Nourlangie, Jabiru and a few other billabongs but our little billabong seemed to boast the most variety of birds.  The only rather large downfall of staying further up the National Park is the mozzies (mosquitos)!!!  They are in force more than we’ve ever seen them before!   I’m not one to grab the DEET filled repellents but we found nothing else worked and even the strong stuff only lasts 30 minutes.  They are around through the day and in total force morning and evening.  The only way to survive them is cook early, wash up and be inside before 6:45pm.  Try not to go out after that and use fly spray inside the camper too.  Long sleeves and jeans all helps BUT they bite through them too!  They do dampen your experience and if it wasn’t for them we’d stay a little longer, but they are a part of the area, you put up with as long as you can, enjoy the surroundings and leave to find more hospitable bite free zones.

So our thoughts on Kakadu:  We liked it.  We’re glad we went.  The ranger talks definitely enhance your visit.  Would I go again?  Probably not unless it was an opportunity to visit some special area that you can’t normally access.  We are not disappointed we went and our seven nights are a fond memory.  Now we look forward to visiting Litchfield National Park, a place most tourists of the Northern Territory LOVE and recommend it with rave reviews – we will await to see what we think :-).

Our last campsite in Kakadu

Our last campsite in Kakadu

Our resident croc!

Our resident croc!

The Jabiru

The Jabiru

Pretty water lilies

Pretty water lilies

At Ubirr looking over Arnhem Land

At Ubirr looking over Arnhem Land

Arnhem Land

Arnhem Land

Our Billabong

Our Billabong with some birds

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3 responses

3 07 2014
Bob Mc Pherson

To me this looks like some of the most interesting/beautiful country that we’ve seen in your travels. Glad you went.

4 07 2014
Lorna

Hi from my log fireside in Sydney. You’ve had some interesting neighbours in Kakadu – some with a good set of teeth! Loved the Jabiru & the gorgeous water lilies. Well done for the walk Chris & Dan..You guys must all be so fit!
Looking forward to pics of Litchfield, I’ve heard it’s beautiful.
God bless you gypsies!
Love L x

4 08 2014
Are We There Yet?

A great wrap up of Kakadu – can’t wait to visit ourselves one day!

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