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Overview

Glorious Kakadu is Australia’s largest national park, a mixture of floodplains and woodlands dotted with serene billabongs. Directly across the East Alligator River is the massive sandstone escarpment of Arnhem Land, the remote eastern half of what’s simply known as the Top End. Water tumbles off this plateau during the region’s wet season to inundate the plains below, allowing Kakadu’s remarkable birdlife to flourish. Aboriginal people’s long presence in this area is attested to by the wonderful rock-art sites of Nourlangie and Ubirr. Nourlangie also marks the start of the Barrk bushwalk, one of Kakadu’s best hikes. After exploring Ubirr’s ...

Glorious Kakadu is Australia’s largest national park, a mixture of floodplains and woodlands dotted with serene billabongs. Directly across the East Alligator River is the massive sandstone escarpment of Arnhem Land, the remote eastern half of what’s simply known as the Top End. Water tumbles off this plateau during the region’s wet season to inundate the plains below, allowing Kakadu’s remarkable birdlife to flourish. Aboriginal people’s long presence in this area is attested to by the wonderful rock-art sites of Nourlangie and Ubirr. Nourlangie also marks the start of the Barrk bushwalk, one of Kakadu’s best hikes. After exploring Ubirr’s mesmerizing outdoor art galleries, climb up to Nardab Lookout for a brilliant view across the floodplains – better yet, take a scenic flight over this World Heritage-listed wilderness. Another highlight is a cruise across the Yellow Water billabong to spot brolgas, kingfishers, jabirus and other wetlands life, including (of course) the ubiquitous crocodile. It’s a challenge to get there, but Arnhem Land’s Cobourg Peninsula rewards visitors with glimpses of dolphins and turtles in the Arafura Sea, and blissful solitude.

Paul Smitz
About the Expert

Paul Smitz has coauthored a dozen guidebooks for Lonely Planet on places such as Australia, New Zealand, Malaysian Borneo, Brunei, various Pacific Islands, Prague, and Brussels.

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Paul Smitz for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    May to June to see flowing waterfalls; this is also when Kakadu is less crowded.