Kakadu National Park Travel Answers

change location
sirgaw's Profile Photo

Advise please

by sirgaw Online Now May 13, 2012 at 5:35 AM

Hi, Lady Gaw and I have been lucky enough to score a half price booking (buy one get one free) for The Ghan from Darwin to Adelaide in July. We are now quickly considering a 10 day holiday in NT where we've never been to before. We are NOT huntin, fishin campin types, but are thinking of 3 nights Darwin then rent a 2WD for time in Kakadu followed by 2 nights Katherine and then finish up with a further 2 nights Darwin. Everything in the way of accom in Kakadu is expensive but we can't decide between 2 or 3 nights and perhaps all in Jabiru with 2 day trips from there and see something else in the half day available before we head to Katherine. We want to be able to go see Katherine Gorge but not a "hurry up and get going" whistle stop tour from The Ghan with only 4 hours stop over in the town.

So:
1. Where would you stay in Kakadu and I'm leaning towards Aurora Kakadu Lodge?
2. How long would you stay?
3. Is the park pass @25 per head usable in Katherine Gorge as well as Kakadu?
Thanks.

Quote & Answer
12 Answers
  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    Re: Advise please

    by CatherineReichardt Online Now May 13, 2012 at 7:01 AM

    You lucky man, David!
    Sadly my local knowledge is not recent enough for me to have confidence in recommending local service providers. However, for what it's worth, the following points might be of interest.
    Firstly, Katherine is a top spot (just wish they'd spell my name correctly), and well worth giving it the time it deserves. The Gorge is stunning, and I could have watched the squabbling fruit bats in their roost for hours ...
    Secondly, wherever you stay, Kakadu's rates will make your eyes water - Paul Hogan has a lot to answer for! I would recommend that your antidote to this should be Litchfield, which I think is a greatly underrated park, and easily incorporated into your Katherine trip. Also I hugely enjoyed the Territory Wildlife Park. which is en route and well worth a couple of hours (their 'walk through' billabong exhibit is terrific).
    Hope this helps.
    Regards
    Cathy

    Be the first to rate this answer!

    Was this helpful? Quote & Answer
  • sirgaw's Profile Photo

    Re: Advise please

    by sirgaw Online Now May 13, 2012 at 7:11 AM

    Thanks Cath - and sorry I have not responded to your comment and ratings as yet. I've been flat strap reading up on NT - and yes they did spell Katherine wrongly (BTW one of our daughters is Kathryn - so there - LOL)

    I've seen your comments about Litchfield, so from your knowledge would you elect to do both or not?

    Yes The Ghan offer came out of left field, so I jumped on it.

    Be the first to rate this answer!

    Was this helpful? Quote & Answer
  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    Re: Advise please

    by CatherineReichardt Online Now May 13, 2012 at 7:16 AM

    Impossible to choose, David - they're very different experiences.
    Litchfield is far more verdant, with more waterfalls than you can shake a stick at, whereas Kakadu has those magnificant wetlands.
    I would ask yourself how often you're likely to get back to the Top End ... and then adjust your schedule from 10 days to two weeks (but then I'm a master of self justification)!
    I do envy you the Ghan - enjoy!!!

    Be the first to rate this answer!

    Was this helpful? Quote & Answer
  • sirgaw's Profile Photo

    Re: Advise please

    by sirgaw Online Now May 13, 2012 at 7:27 AM

    Sigh - thanks, sadly it is a question of money for the 10 days vs 2 weeks. I've wanted to do The Ghan for years and wanted to drive from Melb to Darwin and take the car on the train for the return leg, but Lady Gaw (she who must be obeyed) objected in no uncertain terms to my plan of about 5,000 km of driving - %$#@^& women!!!!!

    Be the first to rate this answer!

    Was this helpful? Quote & Answer
  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    Re: Advise please

    by CatherineReichardt Online Now May 13, 2012 at 7:39 AM

    So, I assume that you are flying back, David? Is the problem that you have the return flights already booked?
    If you want to slice the allocated time differently, I'd cut down on the time in Darwin. I've spent some time there on business over the years and like it, but there's not a huge amount to do in the city itself. I'd personally consider cutting your first stint in Darwin from 3 to 2 nights, and then reduce it to one night in Darwin on the way out.
    I think that the Cyclone Tracy exhibit is staggeringly good, and feeding the fish at Doctor's Gully is a must, but my very personal take is that the rest isn't 'must see' in relation to the parks, so if time is an issue, rather surrender some of your Darwin time for Litchfield. Also, there will be very little extra driving time/distance involved, if that's an issue for your car hire.
    Any better?
    Regards
    Cathy

    Be the first to rate this answer!

    Was this helpful? Quote & Answer
  • sirgaw's Profile Photo

    Re: Advise please

    by sirgaw Online Now May 13, 2012 at 7:50 AM

    Yes Mum - LOL. Now considering 1 night in Adelaide River and going to Litchfield on way back from Kath. Add to the list of Darwin things to do is the recently opened Bombing of Darwin display, which I think is part of the museum - got lots of coverage in the press here when it was the 70th anniv of the bombing (Feb 1942 and many similarities to Pearl Harbour - been reading about this for over 40 years). Also have you been to the night market please?

    Be the first to rate this answer!

    Was this helpful? Quote & Answer
  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    Re: Advise please

    by CatherineReichardt Online Now May 13, 2012 at 8:07 AM

    Nope, but I gather that it's well worth doing.
    The bombing exhibit sounds great!

    Be the first to rate this answer!

    Was this helpful? Quote & Answer
  • 1+1's Profile Photo

    Re: Advise please

    by 1+1 Online Now May 15, 2012 at 2:50 AM

    1. Where would you stay in Kakadu and I'm leaning towards Aurora Kakadu Lodge?

    Jabiru is more towards the northern end of the Park, Cooinda is around the centre. Those would be the 2 places to base yourselves in Kakadu. The Aurora is probably your best bet in Jabiru, and in Cooinda there's only a choice out of one.

    From Jabiru you can get up to the Aboriginal art at Ubirr and do the sunset up on the rock with everyone else (it's very popular). There is the East Alligator River cruise near there with Guluyambi. You could even get over to Kunbarllanjnja in Arnhem Land to see the Injalak Art Centre and watch the artists doing their bark paintings (and see some really spectacular country along the way). The Park Visitor Centre near Jabiru has some great displays and audio/visuals which help explain what you're seeing while in Kakadu. You can do scenic flights (fixed wing or helicopter) from Jabiru which are great (although not really cheap).

    On the way down to Cooinda there's the Aboriginal art at Nourlangie Rock. Nearby at Djarradjin an Aboriginal family runs bushtucker tours and billabong night cruises. Another one ( Animal Tracks) operates nearer Cooinda (picks up guests from there), also does bushtucker and ends with a sunset complete bushtucker dinner. At Cooinda you've got the Yellow Water Cruises. Just near Cooinda is the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre, well worth a visit.

    So that's why I suggest staying at both places, they've both got lots to do. If you had more time there's even more than I've listed (depending on what you're interests are).

    2. How long would you stay?

    This is the typical "How long is a piece of string?" question. How long would it take you to cover all those things in the short list I've provided above?

    3. Is the park pass @25 per head usable in Katherine Gorge as well as Kakadu?

    The Park fee is25 per head and only for Kakadu. Kakadu is a Commonwealth park run by a totally separate organisation to the one running Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) which is an NT park. There's no fee to go into Nitmiluk, but tours, cruises, etc., are charged by the companies running them.

    By the way, Katherine (town) is named after the Katherine River. The river was named after Katherine Chambers who lived in Adelaide. Stuart wanted to marry her and this flattery was one of his tactics. He also flattered her father with the names of many features - Chambers Gorge, Chambers River, Chambers Pillar, and the list goes on. He ended up marrying her.

    But don't be misled about Litchfield, Kakadu has vastly more attractions. Although Litchfield is good for what it is. I've done a hell of a lot of bushwalking in Litchfield (and Kakadu, and Nitmiluk). You would miss a lot if you skimped on Kakadu, especially for the short time of your visit.

    Pine Creek and Adelaide River I think would also be to your liking. And there is a lot in Darwin, if you take the time to check it out. I won't go into all the detail now, this post has already become a great epic. Happy planning!

    Be the first to rate this answer!

    Was this helpful? Quote & Answer
  • kiwi's Profile Photo

    Advise please

    by kiwi Online Now May 15, 2012 at 3:21 AM

    SirGaw I'd come with you on your roadtrip in a heartbeat, but then I am not Mrs Gaw hahaha, and we must respect her wishes.
    1+1, Ziggy, is very knowledgable on this area and I had the amazing fortune of covering some of this region with him. Reading his reply has made me envious that you are heading up to Kakadu and surrounds.
    You can read some pages about Kakadu and area on pages by Ziggy's Survivor Mob, to help you decide.
    I look forward to reading your reports after the trip.
    Have fun!! thanks Zig for your valuable knowledge.

    Be the first to rate this answer!

    Was this helpful? Quote & Answer
  • sirgaw's Profile Photo

    Re: Advise please

    by sirgaw Online Now May 15, 2012 at 3:53 AM

    Thanks Pam (Kiwi). Since getting back to the computer I've been trolling through Zig's amazing pages on NT - and I have to agree that maybe I should not have asked the question - How long would you stay?

    It is a big world and needs far more than the 1 life time I have available. Sadly work, bringing up kids, paying off the house and all the "normal" activities of life restricted my travel. Now I've got the time as I've retired but not the funds to be able to do all I'd like to do - sigh.

    . . . and a very big thank you to Zig - and just how close were you to that emu on your pp? (I thought they ripped off arms and then spat out cameras - LOL)

    Be the first to rate this answer!

    Was this helpful? Quote & Answer
  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    Re: Advise please

    by CatherineReichardt Online Now May 15, 2012 at 8:07 AM

    Hi
    Sorry, I should have been clearer - I was recommending Litchfield AND Kakadu, not either/or.
    Regards
    Cathy

    Be the first to rate this answer!

    Was this helpful? Quote & Answer
  • AlbuqRay's Profile Photo

    Re: Advise please

    by AlbuqRay Online Now May 16, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    Wow, Zig, I should have spent more time at Kakadu. Maybe next time. I agree with Pam, David, Zig is a ranger at Kakadu and there is no better source for recommendations.

    Be the first to rate this answer!

    Was this helpful? Quote & Answer
Your Answer
Advanced Editor View Guidelines