Continuing on the Essential Australia series, we turn our focus back to the Northern Territory. One of the more overlooked parts of Australia, surprisingly it houses some of the most incredible locations. We have already looked at it’s most famous iconic location Uluru, but the Kakadu National Park is a location just as (if not more) spectacular.
This enormous, diverse National Park is located three hours drive from Darwin and holds the title as A Wandering Memories favourite location in the territory. The park houses a diverse variety of landscapes and natural beauty, from towering waterfalls & dense forests to sandy desert & barren rock formations. The park, a marvel at all times really comes into itself at dawn and dusk where the sun turns everything a magical set of colours – its like something out of a dream.
The landscape is so incredibly beautiful it is simply inspiring in every sense.
Along with the landscapes, the park is also a very significant cultural location with a vast aboriginal heritage. The land itself has been home to the aboriginal cultures for over 50,000 years, and is rumored to be the oldest culture in the world. Interestingly two aboriginal families, the Bininj and the Mungguy still reside in more remote parts of the park, living as they have for thousands of years. Although we didn’t see them, we did visit some culturally significant locations, such as ancient caves that contained some incredible wall paintings.
There’s a slightly indescribable feeling housed within the park, especially around these types of locations – it’s somewhat spiritual.
As with much in the Northern Territory the weather is a resounding factor in the park, with the wet season, literally washing away roads and making a lot of routes impassable. Tropical storms cause flash floods where acres of previously dry earth, become swamps within hours. The benefit of this season is in the rock formations that capture the clean rain water and make incredible swimming holes.
Whilst the dry season removes the majority of water and dims the green leaves throughout the forests. This is where the heat makes travelling a little uncomfortable with temperatures rivaling that of the scorched desert. The best time to visit is in-between seasons where you can still witness the magnificent greenery, waterfalls and watering holes yet it is bearable and more accessible.
Such space, nature and weather makes Kakadu an inhospitable location for us humans to settle, which in turn makes it perfect for some of Australia’s wildlife. The park is home to some iconic creatures such as Crocodiles, Snake’s, Spiders, Emu’s, Lizards, Kangaroos, Buffalo and a host of colourful birdlife. It is not uncommon to come across a resident crossing the road or slithering past you. On this note the majority of snakes, spiders and crocodiles are among the most dangerous in the world, therefore caution is always recommended.
As you can read, Kakadu is beyond any simple recommendation for any stay in Australia – it is truly the embodiment of the word ESSENTIAL.
Please see the Essential Australian series on A Wandering Memory below: