Darwin to Cooinda Lodge via Burrungkuy
Set off from Darwin eastbound towards Humpty Doo and keep an eye out for the Big Boxing Crocodile as you travel along the highway. After about 32km, you will reach the town of Wak Wak, where you can join a Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise. Seize the opportunity to get up close and personal with these giant, prehistoric creatures from the safety of your boat. This one hour cruise will take you out on the Adelaide River and entice crocodiles up to 6 metres long to jump.
If you're interested in learning more about the local culture, head down the road to the family-run Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tours where you will learn about local bush food and medicine, weaving, spear throwing, and playing the didgeridoo.
When you are ready, continue travelling east on Arnhem Highway. Mary River National Park is a beautiful wetland reserve located down the road from Wak Wak. Bird lovers will be spoiled with the diversity of species living here and will have plenty of opportunities to spot them while cruising the billabongs. For the anglers out there you can also enjoy world-class fishing, with the opportunity to catch barramundi, getting up to 1.4m in length!
From here it is a very straightforward drive to Jabiru, the main township of Kakadu National Park. Before leaving town, stroll down the Bowali Track to the Bowali Visitor Centre and get some great local tips on what you can do and see in the region. There is also some beautiful art on display at the Marrawuddi Gallery before journeying south to explore the Yellow Water and Mary River regions of Kakadu.
Your first stop is to Burrungkuy (Nourlangie), where you will find a painting of the culturally important creation ancestor Namarrgon (Lightning Man). From the carpark, take the walking track to see the painting. If time allows, explore some of the other scenic walks that showcase the biodiversity and beautiful landscapes that make up this part of the Arnhem Land escarpment.
Continue on the Kakadu Highway towards Cooinda Lodge. If you have extra time in the region and you are looking for some hikes to do, the Mirrai Lookout Trail is not far from Burrungkuy but it is a steep and challenging track. Those who complete it will be rewarded with some expansive 360 degree views of the park. The 2km track takes a moderately fit person 1.5 hours to complete. Be sure to have adequate sun protection, sturdy footwear, and lots of water as it can get very hot here, particularly in October and November leading up to monsoon season.
While you are here, doing a Yellow Water Cruise is a must-do. Cruising along the beautiful billabong to find sea eagles, jacanas, brolgas, crocodiles, and buffalo.
Yellow Water Cruise
Cruise Kakadu's most famous wetland and see the billabong come alive. Located at the end of the Jim Jim Creek, Yellow Water is part of the South Alligator River system. This river system is unique as it is included in its entirety within a UNESCO World Heritage listed National Park.
Kakadu is home to over 280 different species of birds being around a third of the bird species found in Australia. Kakadu National Park has such a large footprint that multiple ecosystems and habitats exist within its border providing a home for the many species that live in the Park.