Kakadu tours from Darwin – Day 2. We arrive in Kakadu national park via an off road “shortcut”, that takes our huge 4WD truck through rocky streams and Australia’s iconic orange dirt. Our first stop will be Maguk (Barramundi Gorge). But their may be a Kakadu surprise waiting for us when we arrive!
(On Day 1 we visited Litchfield National Park and Mary River – click to read)
Kakadu Tours From Darwin Day 2: Maguk (Barramundi Gorge)
Another day in the Aussie outback and another breathtaking gorge to go swimming in!
From our camp near Mary river, we off-roaded towards Maguk. On arrival, we spotted an unsettling sign.
Do you all remember that scene from Crocodile Dundee where Linda Kozlowski’s character goes to get some water and a croc snaps down of her water bottle hanging around her neck……well this trip is NOTHING like that! But interestingly enough many of these areas do have to be cleared of crocs after the wet season. You’d be surprised how much rain they have and how much movement these crocs can have.
Before they open up any swimming hole for the Northern Territory tourism season they have to make sure that there are no crocs still lurking about. Another reason why we were happy for our Adventure Tours guide Rick, as he knew which ones were clear – and which ones we not! As well as how and where to check for signs that crocodiles could be about. So, the area we would be swimming would be safe – phew!
On a side note if you’d like to actually see the croc from Crocodile Dundee – his name is Burt and he is still alive (cause that’s what crocs do best – I think the oldest croc in the world is 113, as of 2016, and lives in Cairns). Burt is living at Crocosaurus Cove in Darwin.
Kakadu tours from Darwin: Ubirr Rock Art
After lunch, we were going to be greeted by a real Aussie outback surprise – this awe inspiring view…
When you think of the Aussie outback you probably imagine red sand and rocks. Well, after the wet season, there are actually areas of intense green. You almost feel like you’ve turned up in Africa. Epic. Totally unspoiled and completely unexpected. Of course, Kakadu may not look like this all year round. But May / June are a great time of year to visit for this greenery.
Below the viewpoint are many well preserved Aboriginal art of Ubirr rock.
Here was where we did a bit more learning about one of the world’s oldest surviving cultures and explored the rock art paintings of the Nourlangie (Burrungi) area. Some are estimated to be at least 20,000 years old, this is one of the longest historical records of any group of people in the world – amazing ey!
The story of law breaking is used to illustrate to children that breaking the law can have terrible consequences.
In an aboriginal tribe, food is shared. When you go out to hunt and gather food, it is forbidden to eat that food until you return home and can share all the food of the day. But one time, a young girl was out searching for fish and realised that a rival clan had left some of their catch by the river. As it was not her catch, she stole and ate the fish. But they caught her.
She was punished for her crime by being badly beaten. On returning home her family asked why she had been beaten and she admitted she had stolen and eaten the fish. But the punishment should have been given by her family, and it also was too severe for the crime. As such, the two tribes went to war and many died, all because the girl broke the law.
Amazingly, the art often serves a functional purpose. Images may be more a “local menu” than as part of a story. Though they can be seen in both forms.
These more modern (approx from 2,000 BCE) “X-Ray” paintings help teach the parts of the animal for eating and to connect more the natural world with the spiritual.
Kakadu Tours From Darwin: Kakadu Accommodation (Jabiru)
Throughout the tour we stayed in furnished tent accommodation. Well ventilated but with netting to keep the bugs out. And real beds!
Of the 3 places we stayed, Kakadu Lodge had the best food. A real gourmet menu with items you wouldn’t see in a regular Aussie outback pub. Like sweet potato, lamb moussaka and more. The rib-eye steak was incredible, and even that premium meal choice was included in the price of the tour.
Kakadu Tours From Darwin Day 3: Scenic Flight & Edith Falls
The morning of day 3 offers the opportunity to take a scenic flight of Kakadu National Park (at additional cost).
Sadly our budget was dwindling and we opted to go to the Bowali Visitors Centre instead, which is free, and where you can learn more about the indigenous wildlife of Kakadu. Such as the Brolga – A Grey bird with gangly legs and a red crest on it’s head, famous for an energetic jumping and trumpeting dance it makes during the wet season.
Other members of our small group reported the views from in the air were pretty spectacular!
We’ll have to make do with google images this time.
Once the group was reunited, it was time to get a lesson in Aboriginal culture at the Warradjan Cultural Centre.
We learned the local Aboriginal climate calendar which helps them understand where to be and what to eat at different times of the year.
We also, more poignantly, learned the stories of various members of the community, alive and dead, on their opinions of the way life was before and after foreigners brought their culture and technology to the Northern Territories and Kakadu. It’s amazing to think that many of today’s elders did not meet a foreigner until they were teenagers. It’s a reminder of how remote the region was until very recently.
A more modern cultural experience was to be had for our picnic lunch. We stopped at the old mining town of Pine Creek. Situated on the highway that crosses central Australia all the way from Adelaide to Darwin. When workers were digging holes for telegraph poles in 1871 – they struck gold! The town grew rapidly to a population of 3,000 operating 15 mines.
Those days are long gone, but the old pianola still sits, ageing, in the Lazy Lizard Tavern. And the shop outside serves fantastic home made ice cream! Cookies and Cream for the win!!!
After lunch, another dip in a refreshing gorge, this time at the famous Edith falls just outside of Katherine on the edge of Nitmiluk national park (The home of the Katherine Gorge Cruise we’ll be taking on Day 4). You’d think you’d get sick of all this swimming in gorges….but you don’t!!!
Ready to Book your Kakadu Tours From Darwin? We Toured with Adventure Tours Australia – Part of Intrepid.
For US Readers CLICK HERE
Kakadu tours from Darwin – Katherine Accommodation
Our final night’s accommodation was at a private campsite. So you need to be travelling with a tour group to be booked in here.
The owners prepared us a very personal home cooked meal and we enjoyed our final night with wine (purchased on the way to the camp) around a big group table. This dinner was almost more glamping than camping!
Book your Kakadu tours from Darwin
We found the 4 day trip with Adventure Tours (Intrepid) from Darwin to be a well thought out itinerary that lets you see the highlights of the region in a very short time. If you missed Day 1, or want to read on to day 4, you can do that below.
But if you are ready to book, you can check availability by clicking the button below.
Wait, I missed Day 1 – Click here to read about Litchfield National Park & Mary River Wetland Cruise
Read Day 2 & 3 above on this page.
Love this Post? Why not pin it on your favourite Travel Pinterest board?
Really love this post ❤️ Don’t forget to bookmark it for later!
Disclaimer: We received our tour with Adventure Tours complimentary – all opinions remain our own. This article contains affiliate links thanks for supporting our blog by using them.