You’ve heard of the 7 wonders of the world. Spectacular as they are, we have some wonders of our own in the tropical summer season at Kakadu National Park. Now, for the first time, Kakadu National Park staff reveal their favorite ‘secret’ spots to enjoy the best of the wet.
1. Exploring the Upper East Alligator in your boat
Ranger Trish says it is a ‘wonderland’ of crystal clear water, melaleuca forest and great barramundi fishing. Trish says, ‘With the Million Dollar Fish campaign on until 31 March 2017 it’s essential you try your hand at this gorgeous location. Even if you don’t catch any fish, the landscape is spectacular and can leave you in wonderment for hours.’ Just make sure you are croc wise on this river system, and take care to launch and retrieve your boat safely. Find out more about fishing and boating in Kakadu.
2. Getting on the Magela Cruise
Only offered in a very wet tropical summer, Ranger Anja says this is one of the best tours in the park. ‘It’s a special tour offered by Guluyambi Tours when the Magela Creek reaches a consistent 0.8m in depth. It’s the only way to get across to Ubirr when the Magela Creek Crossing is up. You can get up close and personal with wildlife and it’s an opportunity to experience Kakadu’s “Little Bayou Swamp” guided by an Indigenous guide.’
3. Taking a scenic flight over the roaring Jim Jim and Twin Falls
Thundering waterfalls across Kakadu are best experienced on a flight. Ranger Steve says his favorite wet season activity is to take a helicopter flight along the escarpment taking in the length of Kakadu and its large number of wet season waterfalls. ‘It’s the only way to appreciate the volume of water that pours over this magnificent landscape,’ he says. Learn more about scenic flights in Kakadu.
4. Exploring the jungle river systems of Yellow Water region
Park Manager Pete says his favorite place in the tropical summer is the Yellow Water region. ‘Launching your boat from Mardugal Boat Ramp means you have several great options for exploring this beautiful region that resembles the Amazon jungle. You can take the narrow channels into Jim Jim Billabong, you can take the channels towards Home Billabong and through Dingo Dreaming on to Yellow Water. It’s a great place to try and catch the Million Dollar Fish, or just enjoy spotting crocodiles, jabirus and brolgas. If you don’t have your own boat, make sure you get on a Yellow Water cruise that takes a different route during the wet season.’ More about boat cruises in Kakadu.
5. Relaxing by your own jungle infinity pool
Ranger Dani’s pick of the tropical summer spots is the Yurmikmik region, particularly Boulder Creek Falls. ‘We love to explore the crystal clear infinity pools at Boulder Creek which are great for families, you can spend the entire day at just lounging around the waterfalls that look like a fairy garden. I think the wet is the best time of year to see Kakadu. You are obviously restricted to where you can go because some of the park is covered in water, but the places you can go are absolutely sensational.’
6. Bringing to life Namarrgon Dreaming at Nawurlandja Lookout
Ranger Tracey loves to spend afternoons at the secluded Nawurlandja Lookout watching wet seasons storms roll in across the Arnhem Land Escarpment. ‘It’s a fabulous spot to bring the Namarrgon ‘Lightning Man’ dreaming to life, as the weather moves in over the Arnhem Land Escarpment. You can experience an ancient story coming to life the same way it has done since time began. It’s safest to stay at ground level if there is lightning in the area’.
Julie from the Bowali Front Counter adds that the Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) region is her all time favorite in the wet season, because there are so many experiences – rock art, lookouts, walks, wildflowers and small cascades all in a picturesque landscape.
7. Getting your adventure on doing the Barrk Walk
The tropical summer is the best time to do the 12 km Barrk Walk loop, according to Ranger Anja. It takes you over the sandstone of Mount Brockman behind Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) rock art site. ‘If you walk quietly you may come across barrk, the endemic black wallaroo, before it thumps off in to the sunset. The barrk wallaroo is the namesake of this track. It is definitely the best place to spot wildlife in the park, particularly this elusive and incredibly cute wallaby. It’s also the perfect time to do this walk because of the variety of wildflowers and tranquil shallow rock pools.’
8. Soaking in seasonal waterfalls surrounded by moss, ferns and native ginger
Ask ranger Sarah her favourite tropical summer spot and she tell you it’s the stuff of fairytales, where waterfalls cascade from the sandstone walls of Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) art site, like a water window in to another life. ‘Experiencing Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) in the wet is a great opportunity for those who came in the dry to see a completely different side of this beautiful and culturally significant place. Standing in an ancient rock shelter surrounded by Bininj rock art, a carpet of native ginger and water falling down native fig roots hanging from the ceiling is magical. If you are quiet you will also spot lots of wildlife who seem to be enjoying the cooler weather.’
9. Plunging in to Motor Car Falls
Ranger Chris says walking the 3 km through the grasslands to the base of Motor Car Falls is definitely worth the effort to enjoy the waterfall. ‘The walk takes you through grasslands, and a valley where the rock walls seem to reach the sky. When you start climbing up the hill to the base of the falls, you know you are in for a special treat. That waterfall’s thundering sounds invite you to take a dip, rewarding you for the effort in getting there. It’s just a beautiful place to spend the day out of the heat.’
10.Breathing in the fresh monsoon rainforest air
Kakadu has a number of monsoon rainforest pockets visitors can experience in the wet. Ranger Kasia says one of her favourite places is Gubara. ‘It’s a little known place in Kakadu, and one you need to work a little bit harder to reach. Once you get there you are definitely rewarded with a cool, dense, shady environment to rejuvenate in.’ It’s a ‘must-do’ in the Kakadu summer.