Kakadu National Park
UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park is Australia’s largest national park embracing 20,000 square kilometres of land. The park stretches southwards
from the coastline of the Arafura Sea taking in many ancient geological features including; billabongs, estuaries, floodplains, wetlands including Yellow Water
(Ngurrungurrudjba) and the dramatic Arnhem Land sandstone escarpment, which offers great opportunities for varied day hikes in this rugged environment.
The sheer uniqueness of the biological and ecological diversity of Kakadu is astounding – according to Australian Geographic “the park is home to about one- third of Australia’s 800-plus bird species and one-quarter of the continent’s land mammals….and still contains nearly all the plant and animal species that were present in the area before European settlement.” Although in the wilderness, Kakadu still feels very safe with well-marked roads and trails and well-equipped campgrounds and facilities in some areas.
There is not a continuous walking trail here but a series of different day walks which take in the full variety of the park’s landscapes, wildlife and Aboriginal heritage sites. You essentially use a series of car camping sites and drive between each location to start each day’s walk. Hiring a 4WD vehicle is recommended for unsealed road access. Kakadu has two seasons of spectacular extremes; the dry and the wet – with each season offering a vastly different experience for visitors. The most popular time for visiting Kakadu is during the dry season from April to September when most of the tourist sites are open and are easily accessible. It is best to avoid October through to March because of high humidity, storms and heavy rainfall.
Get ready for
● The staggering beauty of the natural landscapes
● 20,000+ year-old Aboriginal rock art galleries
● Sweeping views from the ancient Arnhem Land escarpment
● Secluded billabongs, rock pools & waterfalls
● Incredible birdwatching
● Learn about the complexity of indigenous cultures and history
● Saltwater and freshwater crocodiles
A slightly challenging walk to start your itinerary. The 6.5km / 4hr loop-walk travels along sandstone rocks, pandandus fringed pools and along the shores of the East Alligator River. You have the chance to spot the wonderful White-bellied sea-eagle, lavender flanked wrens and peregrine falcons, plus the many crocodiles which inhabit this river.
Next up is Ubirr, one of the two most famous rock art sites in Kakadu. Enjoy the 1km loop walk past wonderful Aboriginal rock art sites and additional climb (30 minutes) to the lookout. This is a great spot to picnic and enjoy the sunset views over the Kakadu floodplain below and into Arnhemland. A very special way to end your day.
A wonderfully diverse walk that includes a short side trip to the famous Nanguluwur rock art site. Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) is a large sandstone monolith that stands above the surrounding sea of woodlands. This walk starts with an initially steep, short climb takes you onto the top of this rocky outcrop, from where you walk across the relatively flat summit. It is a fantastical landscape of eroded sandstone towers, panandus, woodlands, a wide variety of flora and fauna and wonderful expansive views across the flat surrounding landscape. From the top of Gunwarde-warde lookout the walk drops into the valley below via pockets of ferns, sandstone pandanus, woollybutt, grevillea and native cypress pines. The walk should only be attempted by people with a good level of fitness and is not recommended for solo walkers.
Enjoy a stroll around this lovely billabong of 2.5km , with a side trip (600m return) to Nawurlandja lookout. Bring a picnic as there are plenty of spots to relax, sit quietly and take in the fascinating bird-life. There are also very good views of the large rocky outcrop of Burrunggui (Nourlangie), which you walked yesterday.
In the afternoon drive to nearby Kubarra Pools During the wet season these pools are connected by a series of smaller flowing cascades.
This area is called Yurmikmik in Jawoyn country and hosts a series of short walks including Motor Car Falls (7.5km/4hrs), Boulder Creek Walk (2km/45mins) and Yurmikmik lookout walk (5km/2hrs). Get there as early as you can in the day if you intend to do all three walks and fully explore the area
Motor Car Falls is named after a miner who managed to get his Chevrolet truck as far as what is now known as Motor Car Creek. Expect to walk by cool shady creeks, rocky ridges, open woodland and tropical (monsoonal) forests with a diverse range of flora and fauna.
Gunlom is a magical place to relax and reflect after your Kakadu walking adventures. It is best known for its beautiful plunge pool located at the top of a seasonal waterfall – you can also enjoy wonderful views and explore further on the Gunlom Lookout walk (1km). It’s a short steep tough climb but definitely worth it to sit and take in Kakadu’s incredible ever changing dramatic landscapes.
Today gives you the time to call in at Cooinda on your way back out of the park and take a boat cruise on the renowned Yellow Waters wetland (cruise not included). This is a fantastic way to see the teeming wildlife of this wetland area, which harbours many saltwater crocodiles and prolific birdlife, such as the Jabiru storks.
Duration: 5 days
Grade: Varies from easy to hard
Type: Non-continuous, required vehicle
Start: Badbong Wodjmeng Sandstone River Walk
End: Gunlom Lookout Walk
Location: Northern Territory
Closest towns: Jabiru, Darwin
Nourlangie is a large sandstone monolith that stands above the surrounding sea of woodlands, with the famous Nanguluwur rock art site.
Anbangbang is lovely billabong of 2.5km walk there are plenty of spots to relax, sit quietly and take in the fascinating bird-life.
This area is called Yurmikmik in Jawoyn country and hosts a series of short walks including Motor Car Falls (7.5km/4hrs), Boulder Creek Walk (2km/45mins) and Yurmikmik lookout walk (5km/2hrs)
Gunlom is best known for its beautiful plunge pool located at the top of a seasonal waterfall
On the trail
Kakadu National Park covers a huge area of land, made up of six main landforms including Savannah woodlands, southern hills and ridges, stone country, tidal flats and coast and wetlands. When hiking in the park, depending on where you are, you can expect a variety of surfaces such as sand or stony paths, soft riverbank pathways (always keep a lookout for crocodiles near waterways) or rocky boulders that you’ll need to scramble up and over.
- Our detailed guide to hiking Kakadu – contains all the essential information you need to know in advance
- 5 days worth of food for your adventure; breakfast, lunch and dinner each day – delivered straight to your home
- Our own range of Lightweight, highly nutritious meals that are locally sourced, delicious and easy to carry & cook ( freeze dried and dehydrated)
- Our ‘state of the art’ Navigation app to guide you on the track; showing huts, campsites and all points of Interest along the way
- Delivery to your door* of our ‘Adventure in a box’ food parcel
- Our ‘Get fit for hiking’ e-guide for backpacking adventures
- 10% GST included
- We can also arrange services such as pre- and post – trip accommodation at additional cost (see FAQ’s)
* Additional $35 delivery charge for locations in NT, WA and Northern Queensland
- Transfers or transport to Kakadu National Park
- No equipment included
- National park pass bought locally- Your pass includes free ranger guided walks, talks, and cultural activities for the public
Our essential information guides give you everything you need to know – and none of the information you don’t – to prepare well for one of these hikes. We cover off all transport and transfers with contacts, full equipment lists tailored to each walk, and safety factors to consider that can be unique to each track. We give you the information you need to know about water and where the best accommodation is before and after your trip, plus overviews of Aboriginal & European history and wildlife you can expect to encounter.
It saves countless hours of trawling through websites, guidebooks and forums to get to the essential information you need to know, so you don’t forget to factor in anything for your adventure.
Finding your way
Our unique RAW Travel walking app has been designed to help you navigate easily on the trail. Simply download your map with the link we send you and you’ll be able to follow your route with ease, showing your location in real time without any internet connection needed. The app has many great features; it shows you weather forecasts localised for each of your overnight stops, detailed information on each campsite/ hut and what facilities are available there so you don’t need to carry our trail guide. There are important reminders, safety information, videos and emergency contact information for your route. It also has a unique audio feature that can tell you about places and points of interest as you approach them on the trail.
Need to Know
This Kakadu walking trip is moderate – challenging and best suited to hikers of reasonably good fitness and confidence. Some sections such as the Barrk sandstone walk are best suited to more experienced hikers whilst others such as the Billabong walks are fairly easy and accessible to all walkers. Because this trip is centred on day walks there is no need to carry a full pack each day, as you will be departing and coming back to the same camp each day where your car is. At least 1 person in your party should have experience in off-track walking and navigation, Kakadu walking can be rugged and temperatures hot.
RAW Travel has a detailed guide specifically for multi-day walk training, you will receive this as part of your booking.
Companies in Darwin that rent out vehicles can offer camping packages with those vehicles, so this is your best bet to rent a complete camping kit. There isn’t anywhere in Darwin that hires just outdoor gear/equipment so if you are wanting to hire some camping items just you will need to arrange this near your hometown and take everything with you.
Car is the only practical option for Kakadu walks. Although possible to reach Kakadu by public transport, you will need your own vehicle to get around once there and do the walks. It is recommended to hire a 4WD to reach the full range of places mentioned in this itinerary as some are accessed via unsealed roads, and some rental car companies may not let you drive on unsealed roads in a 2WD vehicle.
Independent adventures place you at the centre of the experience, giving you the confidence to be a self-reliant walker on the trail. We take care of the research needed and give you all the essential information relating to the trip ( a task that seasoned walkers can tell you often takes many hours to get the correct information) so you can be thoroughly prepared and confident that you have everything you need for your adventure. We give you all the contacts & details to nearby transportation, accommodation and hire services, highlight any risks to be aware of and how to mitigate them.
The food prep is a major hassle of many hikers trips and we solve that for you. We prepare all the food that you need for your trip, all pre-measured and dehydrated / freeze dried to take away the weight but keep the freshness. Our meals are reviewed by Nutritionists to provide the right daily nutrition and energy for your demands of the walk. And our ingredients are prepared from the best local ingredients here on the Mornington Peninsula, cooked to order and freeze dried fresh – not sitting on a shelf for years at a time!
Once you arrive at the trail it’s all over to you the adventure begins! You are free and independent to create your own experience the way you want it. We provide you with an app to help you navigate in real time on the trail and give you the campsite locations and points of interest but you are completely autonomous & self – supporting on the walk. These trips are best suited to people who relish that sense of liberation and freedom that comes with being self-reliant and don’t need the back up of a leader or group travel. Independent Adventures are different from our other self – guided walking trips as there are no briefings, transfers or local support from RAW Travel staff. It’s just you and nature out on the trail!
If you are an experienced walker then yes, but not recommended for a beginner to walk solo due to the terrain. The trail is well marked for its entire length and there are communal campsites to head to each evening.
All campgrounds in Kakadu are first-come, first-served and open to all self-guided walkers. Camp fees apply in Kakadu National Park. They range in price from $6 per
adult per night for campgrounds with drop toilets to $15 per adult for campgrounds with toilets and hot showers. Children from 5–15 pay half the adult
price. Campground management will collect the fees.
There’s no mobile coverage in most of Kakadu. There is some mobile coverage in Jabiru and Cooinda and at the Bowali Visitor Centre. Pay phones are available in front of the BP station and the shopping plaza in Jabiru, as well as at Bowali Visitor Centre, Cooinda Lodge, South Alligator Lodge.
Social and environmental
All our adventures are fully carbon offset so that you know your travel has minimal impacts. Hiking itself is a low impact activity but we offset the cost of all our office operations and food production as well, so you can be satisfied that you have chosen a form of travel that is both good for you and good for the planet. Each year we also plant trees on behalf of every customer who has travelled with us, aiming to build towards a carbon positive effect with our operations.
As a B-Corp a focus on local community is an important part of who we are. We are committed to buying locally and source our produce from growers here on the Mornington Peninsula. We care about people in our community and for every meal pack you buy with us we donate a meal to a homeless support charity, to spread some love and share good food with those who need it most.
TRIP date selection
when would you like to travel?
Please select your preferred dates for on-demand trips or select a scheduled date for group departures. If you have booked a self-guided trip please understand that because your trip date is on demand and we must check availability of all properties on your chosen dates before it can be fully confirmed