Kakadu National Park, things to do: Six of the best experiences

SWIM AT MOTOR CAR FALLS

Getting to Motor Car Falls is quite a trek (and hence often overlooked by many tourists), but an early start and a one-hour walk is rewarded with a refreshing dip in this picturesque, emerald plunge pool surrounded by tropical monsoonal forest. Unlike some of the more popular waterfalls that are inaccessible during the Wet, Motor Car can be reached year-round. It was named in 1946 when the first motor vehicle in these parts attempted to get to the Falls, but couldn't make it through the creek.

CRUISE YELLOW WATERS

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Six of the best Kakadu experiences

As the misty dawn breaks over the Yellow Water Billabong at Cooinda and the waterlilies start to unfold, so the abundant bird and reptile life on the floodplains is at its most active, flying, perching, hunting and on the prowl. If you're fortunate to have one of Cooinda's Indigenous guides at the helm, you'll be given a local perspective and learn about the significance of the dancing jabiru, brolga and lurking salties to the Bininj/Mungguy people. A truly relaxing, enlightening and photographically-satisfying tour.

GO GLAMPING AT COOINDA

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Six of the best Kakadu experiences

Cooinda's new Dreaming@HomeBillabong glamping village offers the perfect compromise between camping and a luxury lodge stay, giving guests the comforts of home – a large cosy bed, air conditioning and fan cooling, indoor and deck seating and USB charging ports – presented under canvas to channel the romance of bush camping. Communal loos and showers add to the rustic 'campground' ambience, with the added bonus of drifting off to sleep to a symphony of howling dingoes and droning frogs.

SEE NAWURLANDJA SUNSET

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Six of the best Kakadu experiences

Adjacent to the incredible Nourlangie rock art gallery, this elevated rock slope looking out over Anbangbang Billabong to the Arnhem Land escarpment is heavy with spirituality, a place where the land itself speaks volumes. Take the 15-minute climb at sunrise or sunset to watch the distant cliffs illuminate under the sun's rays to a chorus of kookaburras and cockatoos, or simply sit back and meditate on the vast grandness of the landscape, a restorative exercise in itself.

FLY OVER IN THE WET

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Six of the best Kakadu experiences

An aerial view of Kakadu is recommended for a great overview in any season, but the landscape and waterfalls are particularly dramatic during the Wet, with the volume of water plummeting over the cliffs a truly stupendous sight. Fly over ancient escarpments and landforms inaccessible by car during the rains such as Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls; you'll also get a bird's-eye view of Ranger Uranium Mine, a fascinating study of "what-not-to-do" on the cusp of the mine's closure in 2021.

TOUR INDIGENOUS CULTURE

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Six of the best Kakadu experiences
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For a deeper understanding and appreciation of Kakadu, spend time with the people who know it best – the traditional owners. The enigmatic Mandy Muir runs immersive cultural experiences at Kakadu Billabong Safari Camp (kakadubillabongsafaricamp.com.au), teaching visitors about seasonal foraging, weaving and clapstick making; while Animal Tracks Safari (animaltracks.com.au) has exclusive access to wildlife-rich wetlands and tropical savannah not usually accessed by the general public, with renowned elder, Patsy Raichiwanga Raglar, sharing her bush tucker and campfire expertise.

Julie Miller was a guest of Tourism NT; see northernterritory.com and kakadutourism.com

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