What to pack for Kakadu National Park

A trip to the otherworldly Kakadu National Park will undoubtedly be an unforgettable adventure. But before you go anywhere, you need to think about what to pack. Kakadu is a remote region in the Northern Territory, so it's important that you're prepared with the right gear.

We've compiled a list of essentials you'll need in case you don't know where to start.


1. Walking shoes

When travelling to a national park that's 20,000 square kilometres in size, it's almost a given that you'll be doing lots of walking. Bring comfortable walking shoes with good tread to prevent slips and trips. You should ensure they've been worn in prior to the trip, as blisters aren't fun.

2. Long, loose, lightweight clothing

Packing long clothing for an outback-meets-topical destination might seem strange, but your legs will thank you for it. Hiking in the park can involve trails where there's overgrown bush with twigs and branches that can scratch your legs. The best way to avoid this? Wear long pants.

3. Warm layers

Regardless of when you're travelling to Kakadu, it's a good idea to pack a set of warm clothing for the evenings and early mornings. Temperatures can drop to 17°C between June and August, and while this might not seem cold, it's still worth bringing a cardigan or jumper to ensure you're not chilly when the sun goes down.

4. Swimwear

There are plenty of waterfalls and natural pools to swim in Kakadu, so don't forget your swimmers. Popular spots include Gunlom Falls, Motorcar Falls and Jim Jim Falls. Jumping into these refreshingly cool pools is the perfect way to relax after a sweaty hike.

Other essentials

1. Sun protective gear

The UV rays are high all year in Kakadu, so sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses are essential. Protecting yourself against the sun should be a top priority, especially since you'll be spending a considerable amount of time outdoors.

2. Visitor guide/park notes

If you're exploring Kakadu as part of a group tour, like on our Hike Kakadu National Park trip, then bringing a visitor guide or park notes isn't necessary as you'll have an expert local leader by your side. However, if you're doing a self-guided tour, then it's important to have as much information as possible about which areas of the park you'll be visiting and the type of landscape you can expect to lower any chances of getting confused or lost when hiking.

3. Reusable drink bottle

Kakadu can be quite a physically challenging park, especially if you plan on undertaking some of the more strenuous hikes. It may seem obvious, but make sure you drink and bring plenty of water with you on hikes. Maintaining your hydration levels is super important, particularly when it's hot and muggy.

4. Binoculars

There are over 400 species of animals that call Kakadu home. The best way to spot as many as you can is to bring binoculars. From small reptiles sunbaking on rocks to fast-flying birds soaring through the skies, getting a close look at some of Australia's native animals is all part of the fun.

5. Camera

Mobile phones do a pretty good job of capturing images these days, but there's nothing like whipping out a camera and snapping a couple of higher-quality pics. From zooming in to changing the settings, carrying a camera around with you opens up photography possibilities left, right and centre.

6. Day bag

This is another must-have if you're planning on spending most of your time outside (this should be everyone). There are plenty of things you'll need to carry around with you from sunscreen and lip balm to bandaids and your mobile phone, so a small day bag is a must.

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