Kakadu is the largest national park in Australia. Located 240km east of Darwin, the 20,000 square kilometres park (the same size as Slovenia) stretches from the northern coast down through Northern Territory through the floodplains, billabongs and lowlands to the stone country bordering the sandstone landscapes of Nitmiluk National Park.
It is a park of incredible biological and ecological diversity and you will find flood plains, mangrove-fringed coasts, lowland hills, six-metre termite hills and a variety of woodland and forest habitats and as the seasons change, the colours of the land changes.
There are over 2,000 varieties of plants at Kakadu and many have been used by the indigenous Aboriginal people as food, medicine and materials as well as an incredible array of animals. Around 30% of Australia’s bats are found here as well as eight types of kangaroo, dingoes (which are believed to have reached Australia in the company of humans 5,000 ago), wallabies, bandicoots, flying foxes, 10,000 crocodiles, snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs and more than 50 species of freshwater fish and 280 species of birds (a third of Australia’s bird species.)
The management and conservation of the park is a challenge and they have implemented an innovative ‘joint management’ scheme, keeping true to ancient cultures while deploying modern practices to keep the UNESCO World Heritage Site one of Australia’s true jewels.
The park has been inhabited continuously for over 50,000 years and you can see stunning cave paintings, archaeological sites and rock carvings that record life through the ages, from the prehistoric hunter-gatherers to the Aboriginal Australians that remain there to this day.
Kakadu National Park is an incredible place to be and there are free guided walks as well as lots of shops, places to eat and hotels dotted around the area but of course since it is so vast, it depends where you are in relation to what you want to do.
On any visit to Northern Territory, Kakadu National Park is a ‘must see’.