7 Must See Kakadu Attractions

Covering over 19,084 km (7,600 sq. miles) in Australia’s Northern Territory, Kakadu is the largest National Park in the country, a vast region filled with cultural, environmental, geological and historical significance, not only to Australia but to the planet. National Park status for Kakadu was officially established in 1979, with World Heritage site designation attained in 1981.

Most notably, Kakadu is distinctly unique for being a center of the Aboriginal civilization for more than 40,000 years, a history generally considered to be the world’s oldest continuous culture. As home to an ancient civilization who have managed to keep their history and natural resources remarkably well-preserved, determining the best Kakadu attractions to see isn’t an easy task, but here are a few attractions that are guaranteed to educate, entertain and fascinate even the most demanding visitor to this national and global treasure.

Sunset at yellow River in Kakadu national park has beautiful reflection, Darwin, Australia

7 Must See Kakadu Attractions

Warradjan Cultural Centre is a recommended starting point, providing an interesting and informative overview of both Aboriginal history and culture, with exhibits featuring artifacts utilized by the locals, unique indigenous wildlife and much more, all presented in a friendly and helpful atmosphere.

Burrunggui (also called Nourlangie Rock) is part of a massive sandstone formation that according to Aboriginal legend was shaped by the civilization’s ancestral creators, and contains numerous man-made shelters featuring amazing rock art that depicts various stages of the region’s history. Religious rituals, hunting/gathering, local legends/events and even visiting ‘outliers’ are among the subjects portrayed on Burrunggui’s walls, with ongoing research attempting to learn more about these fascinating creations.

Gunlom Waterfall Creek requires a bit of an effort to enjoy to the fullest but is certainly an experience well worth the trek. Increasingly challenging levels provide camping, hiking, swimming and sightseeing opportunities, with the breathtaking Infinity Pool waiting as a reward for the heartiest hiker.

Picturesque waterfalls are abundant throughout Kakadu, with some of the more popular including Jim Jim Falls, Motor Car Falls, and Twin Falls. Accessibility to Jim Jim is seasonal, with hiking featured during the dry season and awe-inspiring plane flights available via Kakadu Air during full-flow or ‘wet’ season. The final stretch in accessing Motor Car Falls presents a challenge, but a placid, crystal-clear pool ideal for a leisurely swim is waiting, surrounded by steep, breathtaking cliff walls. Twin Falls is definitely for the most adventurous, combining (in season) a boat ride among steep gorges, a medium-to-strenuous hike, climaxed by stunning views of almost indescribable beauty.

A trek to Maguk Gorge is memorable on many levels, from the incredible lush vegetation, exotic birds, and unbelievably clean air. Sparkling turquoise pools are beyond inviting, and there’s not a poor view to be found.

For visitors who appreciate a casual walk through Mother Nature, a leisurely stroll along Bardedjildji Walk is guaranteed to satisfy. Virtually every natural resource offered in Kakadu can be found along the Walk’s 2.5 km length, from billabongs to freshwater swamps, sandstone formations, lush green vegetation, and as a bonus, a cave that was used in the film Crocodile Dundee.

The Mamukala Wetlands attract migratory birds from across the southern hemisphere, as well as birdwatchers from around the world. Just a small sampling of Mamakala’s avian visitors: the Australian Pelican and White Ibis, Barking Owl, Black-eared Cuckoo, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Dusky Honeyeater, Grey-crowned Babbler, Magpie Geese, Paperback Flycatcher, Sacred Kingfisher, Royal Spoonbill, the Wandering Whistling Duck and dozens of others.

Although many of Kakadu’s top attractions require extra effort in order to reach them, this only enhances the experience, giving the traveler an added sense of accomplishment once they’ve arrived.