When the competition’s this fierce, you don’t get to be Australia’s most iconic national park without good reason. 

Kakadu National Park is brimming with billabongs, waterfalls, otherwordly rock formations, and all types of native wildlife so it's little surprise that this bucket-list region is where the outback runs wild. Whether you want to explore the bushland of Litchfield National Park, soak up the year-round warmth in Katherine, or cross the Northern Territory from top-to-tail, taking in the highlights from Alice Springs to Darwin, our tours in Kakadu & The Top End are once-in-a-lifetime experiences. From trekking through beloved national parks that show off Mother Nature's best work to marvelling at ancient Aboriginal rock art engraved centuries ago, let the magic of the Aussie wilderness fill your heart with overwhelming happiness and your mind with unforgettable memories. 

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Things to do in Kakadu & The Top End

Sunset over Mary River in the Northern Territory

Marvel at the sunset over Mary River

Not only are the Mary River wetlands a network of waterways that are home to saltwater crocodiles and plenty of native bird species but they’re also a nature-lovers playground with bushwalking and fishing among some of the more popular things to do.  If you really want to take your trip to the next level, then stay for the sunset along Mary River and watch as the shifting colours sparkle on the water’s surface. 

Aerial view of a boat cruising through Katherine Gorge

Cruise the waters of Katherine Gorge

For the best Aussie wake-up you could ever have wished for, take a morning cruise over the inky waters of Katherine Gorge. From watching the shifting colours dance across the surrounding sandstone walls to observing the misty fog unfolding above the water’s smooth surface, the peacefulness that comes with listening to the early morning sounds of Nitmiluk National Park is an experience you’ll never forget. 

Small blue-tongued lizard sunbaking on a rock

Get up close and personal with Australia’s native wildlife

While Kakadu National Park boasts plenty of culturally significant sites, mesmerising waterfalls, and more epic walks than you could possibly do, it’s also one of the best places for animal spotting. Thanks to its 20,000 square kilometre size, the park is home to roughly 60 species of mammals, 280 species of birds, 25 species of frogs, and 117 species of reptiles so get your binoculars out and have your cameras at the ready because you’re going to want to capture everything. 

A lone traveller floating in Edith Falls, Katherine

Take a dip in the breathtaking Edith Falls, Katherine

There’s nothing more relaxing after a challenging hike or a day spent exploring Nitmiluk National Park than cooling off in Edith Falls. This spectacular natural swimming pool is lined with native paperbark and pandanus trees and promises a couple of hours of fun and relaxation. Whether you want to float in the water as you take in the sounds of the Aussie wilderness or marvel at the water cascading down the ancient rock, Edith Falls is one of the best places to be.  

Ancient Aboriginal rock art in Kakadu National Park

Look over some ancient Aboriginal rock art in Kakadu National Park

While there are plenty of breathtaking natural landscapes to marvel at and take photos of throughout Kakadu National Park, the most impressive site remains the rock art created by Aboriginal Australians many centuries ago. Follow your guide as you uncover the story of Indigenous Australia from learning about traditional foods to how to weave and spot animals from the edges of billabongs. Listen to the stories of the Dreamtime and absorb as much Aboriginal culture as you possibly can. 

The Lost City formations in Litchfield National Park

Walk among The Lost City sandstone formations in Litchfield National Park

Take a step back in time and marvel at what looks like the remains of an ancient civilization at the sandstone formations affectionately known as 'The Lost City’ in Litchfield National Park. While this collection of natural formations might be secluded and hard to locate, it’ll be more than worth the effort when you first lay eyes on their curious shapes and impressive size. Naturally formed from millions of years of wind and rain erosion, this intricate city-like scene is a must-visit. 

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Kakadu & The Top End FAQs

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises). However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Learn more about Intrepid's COVID-19 proof of vaccination policy

There are a few ways you can get to Kakadu National Park with the best option depending on where in Australia you're travelling from. If you're coming from a different state, the best option is to fly with the nearest major airport being Darwin International Airport (DRW) which is then a 1 hour and 45-minute drive to Kakadu via a rental car or an organised tour. You can also decide to embark on an epic road trip with most major cities over 24 hours away from Kakadu National Park. 

There are two main seasons in the Kakadu region, that being wet and dry. The dry season runs from May to October and the wet season runs from November to April so keep that in mind when planning your trip. The dry season is regarded as the 'best' time to travel and is, therefore, more popular (and crowded) than at other times of the year. Regardless of when you're travelling to Kakadu, there is always something to see and plenty of activities to participate in. 

Read more about the best time to visit Kakadu National Park

There is a whopping 24 national parks scattered across the Northern Territory with each one telling a story of natural creation millions of years ago. From captivating waterfalls to jaw-dropping landscapes, here are a few of our favourite Northern Territory national parks: 

  • Nitmiluk National Park 
  • Litchfield National Park 
  • Kakadu National Park 
  • Umbrawarra Nature Park 
  • Limmen National Park 
  • Flora River Nature Park 

If you're interested in learning more about Northern Territory's national parks then click here. 

What to pack for a trip to Kakadu & The Top End largely depends on what kind of holiday you want to have (whether it's adventurous or more relaxing) but there are still a few essential items you'll need for both. Make sure you pack comfortable walking/hiking shoes, socks, sunscreen, a hat, a day bag, and a reusable drink bottle. You should also carry a mini first aid kit with you, as well as your camera, portable chargers, and a visitors guide to the national parks you plan on visiting. 

Read more about what to pack for Kakadu National Park

Due to Kakadu National Park's remote and secluded location, there will be less service (and often no service) than in other more populated areas. This doesn't mean there's absolutely no service though. You'll find mobile coverage in Jabiru and Cooinda, as well as at the Bowali Visitor Centre, although remember to keep in mind that this is a perfect opportunity to disconnect with the rest of the world and embrace the beautiful wilderness that's before you. 

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

Learn more about Accessible Travel with Intrepid

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