Waterfalls to Wetlands – Gagudju Dreaming

Four nights we spent at Cooinda in Kakadu National Park but even that is not enough time to explore all that Kakadu has to offer. It seriously is one of the most beautiful places on Earth barely touched by outside influence or humans.

On arrival into the National Park we stopped at the Mary River Roadhouse to purchase our parks pass. $25 per person for 14 days – quite reasonable considering it is basically your ticket to such a beautiful place. While we were organising our passes the Aboriginal Guide told us of this place off the track about 6kms down the road called, The Rockhole. He said it is definitely worth a look and that there are no crocs so it is nice for a swim. He was right! It was a beautiful introduction to what Kakadu had to offer. I went into the water up to my knees but I wasn’t too sure about the no crocs thing. So I got out rather quickly. It was beautiful though. We stopped a little further on at a lookout called, Bukbukluk with amazing views over Kakadu floodplains and monsoon forests. The third stop for that day was Maguk. It was a beautiful walk along a creek bed that turned into cascades and rock pools at the end of the walk you scramble over a small wall of rocks and there you find a beautiful waterfall. It was a magical spot. Too bad for crocs the water looked awfully inviting. We had our first fresh Top End Mango to recoup after our walk in the humid, dense heat.

Kakadu National Park - The Rockhole
Kakadu National Park - Maguk
Our first Top End Mango - Delish

We decided instead of moving all around the park, each night setting up a new camp we would base ourselves a Cooinda Resort. It was a fantastic idea as it was one of the best caravan parks we have come across in our travels.

Our campsite at Cooinda
Part of resort pool Cooinda

The next day we had a full day off-road adventure planned. A trip to Twin Falls and Jim Jim Falls. The roads were in fairly good condition heaps of corrugations in places and as you got closer to the Falls it was sandy. We had a water crossing over Jim Jim Creek it was .7m. It is a paved/stone bottom which makes it quite an easy crossing.

Jim Jim Creek Crossing

When we arrived at Twin Falls we found out that we had to take a shuttle boat up the gorge. They used to swim the distance but due to crocodile numbers in recent year they no longer having swimming in most of the park. Our shuttle boat guide was an Aboriginal man named Dallas. As it was just Shaun and I on the boat and in the whole gorge Dallas spent a lot of time explaining about culture, the seasons, crocodiles and how their water systems work in Kakadu. It was amazing experience. He then dropped us off and headed back to base and then it was just Shaun and I. We scrambled through rocks over cascades of crystal clear water and then we were there. The base of Twin Falls as they flowed over the Arnhem Escarpment into a crystal plunge pool.

Croc Safety
Kakadu National Park - Twin Falls
Kakadu National Park - Twin Falls Croc Trap
Kakadu National Park - Twin Falls Gorge
Kakadu National Park - Twin Falls Cascades
Kakadu National Park - Twin Falls
Kakadu National Park - Twin Falls

From Twin Falls we headed onto Jim Jim Falls. The Falls are dormant during the dry season however because they have had 5 inches of rain so far this season they were flowing. Now because the plunge pool is so high up and surrounded by high rock the crocs are mostly unable to get in so we were able to swim at the base of the falls. It was BEAUTIFUL and after the 30min rock climb in the heat of the day it was well deserved.

Kakadu National Park - Jim Jim Falls
Kakadu National Park - Shaun having a dip in the plunge pool at Jim Jim Falls

For our third day at Kakadu we arose early for our Sunrise Cruise at Yellow Waters. They had a deal where we could cruise again for a discounted price so we took advantage of it and followed up our Sunrise Cruise with a Sunset Cruise. Here is some photos of both cruises in no particular order:

Yellow Waters
Yellow Waters
Yellow Waters
Kakadu National Park - Yellow Water Cruises
Kakadu National Park - Yellow Water Cruises
Kakadu National Park - Yellow Water Cruises
Yellow Waters - Crocodile Saltie
Kakadu National Park - Yellow Water Cruise Breakfast Included - Yes Shaun ate breakfast!!
Yellow Waters - Crocodile Saltie
Kakadu National Park - Yellow Water Cruises

The cruises were amazing. I know I have said this already but KAKADU IS SUCH NATURALLY BEAUTIFUL PLACE. You have to visit it to see the beauty for yourself.

The next day we visited Nourlangie Rock and Ubirr to see the Rock Art Sites. It is fantastic the way they are preserving the Art – for those who say Australia has no history, you are very wrong we have an extensive history. Some of the art work we saw dated back 5000 years other 20,000 years. Now Ubirr is in North Kakadu right on the border into Arnhem Land and at the top of all the rock shelters and rocky outcrop is a beautiful view across the flood plains.

Burnout Woodlands
Kakadu Rock Art
Kakadu Rock Art
Lookout from Ubirr - Kakadu
Lookout from Ubirr - Kakadu

While we were near the border to Arnhem Land (which we are coming back at a later date to explore) we checked out the tidal river crossing named Cahill’s Crossing that links Arnhem Land with Kakadu and the rest of the world. We were there at low tide as at high tide you cannot cross.

East Alligator River - Border of Kakadu and Arnhem Land
East Alligator River Crossing - Border of Kakadu and Arnhem Land

All in all there is so much to see in Kakadu. When we go back we will stay for a full week or maybe a bit longer. There are heaps of walks that we missed out on due to them being closed from heat etc.

We are now living it up in Darwin, kicking back and relaxing in our apartment overlooking the waterfront.

Will keep you updated on our adventures. Please feel free to leave comments or send e-mails with feedback or questions. We love hearing from you all.

Bye for Now.

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8 thoughts on “Waterfalls to Wetlands – Gagudju Dreaming

  1. Hi
    WOW!!!
    You have been to so many places since we separated at Kings Canyon.
    Absolutely awesome
    Wish we were still with you
    Take care
    XOXOX

  2. A great blog and on behalf of Gagudju Dreaming, thank you for your kind words about our Gagudju Lodge Cooinda and Yellow Water Cruises.
    It seems as though you spent a decent amount of time in the park to truly appreciate Kakadu.
    The water level is rising on Yellow Water now – so much so we have to depart on Home Billabong (at the back of Cooinda) and steer the boats through the forest to get to Yellow Water. An experience in itself.
    On behalf of our clan, the Murrumburr tribe, we wish you and your family the very best for 2012, and more great travels.
    Boh boh.

    1. Wow. Thank you so much for commenting! We appreciate it. When we hit the road again in May we are heading up towards Cairns and across the top to Broome. We are going to stop in and stay at Kakadu for a couple of days. Kakadu is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world. We had such a wonderful time. We also thought Gagudju Lodge was by far the best caravan park we have come across in our travels. We normally like to free camp but for a caravan park it was affordable and well looked after and the facilities were amazing.

      The water is starting to rise. It would be amazing to fly over Kakadu in the wet. We watched a video while there about the Wet Season “Gudjewg” it was beautiful. Kakadu has many faces.

      I don’t know if you would be able to help us Iain but our tour guide (shuttle boat) at Twin Falls was ABSOLUTELY fantastic at his job. So passionate about the land and his culture. We would like to pass on our thanks and appreciation to him. Maybe in the form of a letter?

      Kind Regards,

      Sarah

      Boh Boh!

      1. Hi Sarah,

        The Twin Falls shuttle boat is run by Parks Australia (Kakadu National Park) so if you’re compelled to write a letter about Dallas, best to address it to the Tourism and Visitor Services Manager of Kakadu National Park, C/- the Bowali Visitor Center, Kakadu Highway, NT 0886.

        If you come back in May, Kakadu will be different. Waterfalls flow heavier, landscape greener. Hopefully you’ll have time to go to the back of Nourlangie to Gubarra, do Koolpin gorge for a night and, of course, Gunlom. Drop us a line if you do make it to Kakadu! Also if you’re continuing onto the Gibb River Roard at that time of year, camp privately by the Penetecost River at Home Valley Station and a couple of days at Manning Gorge are almost compulsory! (as with a tyre repair kit)

        Best to you and Shaun,
        Boh boh,
        Iain

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