Darwin – Litchfield National Park
5 days drive, cruise
Wind through the Adelaide and Mary River wetlands to World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. Here you can bushwalk through rugged escarpments and lush rainforest and discover a treasure trove of Aboriginal rock ark. Learn about the Territory’s pioneering history in Pine Creek and swim in crystal-clear waterholes in the tarzan landscape of Litchfield National Park. You can do this dream drive on a fully sealed road in a two-wheel-drive vehicle.
It is a 250-kilometre journey along the Arnhem Highway to Jabiru, the unique town in the middle of World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. On the way you can stop to explore the wildlife haven of Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve on the lower Adelaide River. Or hold a python and get up close to saltwater crocodiles on a Jumping Crocodile Cruise. Spend the night in Jabiru, which offers a range of accommodation and excursions into Kakadu, as well as an Olympic size swimming pool, tennis courts and golf course.
Take a couple of days to explore Kakadu’s waterfalls, wetlands and Aboriginal rock art galleries. Go bushwalking, barramundi fishing or spot salt water crocodiles in the wetlands. See the crevices Dreamtime ancestors cut into Nourlangie Rock and some of the world’s finest examples of X-ray art at Ubirr Rock in Kakadu’s north-east. Travel through the South Alligator Valley into the less visited stone country in Kakadu’s south. Here you can hike to the top of Gunlom Falls, made famous in the movie Crocodile Dundee as Echo Pool. Explore rock pools, cook a campfire meal at the base of Arnhem Land escarpment and camp overnight. Spend your second day cruising through the wetlands with a local Aboriginal guide. See saltwater crocodiles and birds such as brolgas, jabiru, whistling ducks, radjah shellduck, magpie geese and many species of kingfisher and heron. Afterwards, soar over Kakadu’s sights on a scenic flight.
From Jabiru, head south through Pine Creek, and take in the buildings built in the gold rush of the 1870s. Visit the 1888 railway station that is now a museum and marvel at original mining machinery in Miner’s Park Bakery. See the galvanised iron ore bakery where Jimmy Ah You and his son once baked bread for World War II soldiers. Then learn more about the area’s Chinese history in the National Trust Museum at Pine Creek. Head back onto the Explorer’s Way and stop for the night in Batchelor, a small, well-kept town at the entrance to Litchfield National Park.
Swim in crystal-clear swimming holes, see thundering waterfalls and get up close to thousands of tall termite mounds in the tarzan landscapes of Litchfield National Park. Swim in the plunge pool at the base of Florence Falls or explore the surrounding monsoon rainforest. Picnic next to roosting fruit bats at Wangi Falls and see sweeping valley views at Tolmer Falls. Take a wildlife cruise on the Reynolds River, part of a bordering working cattle station. At the end of the day, drive the hour-and-a-half back up the highway to Darwin.