Can I swim in Kakadu National Park?

Kakadu National Park is packed with serene swimming spots. From waterfall-fed pools to twisting creeks lined with gum trees, we can bet you'll want to kick off your shoes and jump straight in as soon as you arrive. But with deep water, crocodiles, wild horses and buffalo – is it actually safe to swim in Kakadu?

Is it safe to swim in Kakadu?

The short answer is yes. However, you need to take note of a few precautions before racing to the water’s edge as it can be dangerous if you don’t know what to look out for.

Kakadu is a tropical destination with two major seasons: hot and wet (November to March), and hot and dry (April to October). The wet season poses more risks for swimming as some areas are susceptible to flash flooding and rapid currents during heavy rain. Some waterways are also home to crocodiles.

It's important to stay updated with the weather forecast and observe all safety warning signs in the park. Here are some additional swimming-safety tips:

  • Never go swimming by yourself, always have someone with you
  • Observe all safety warning signs
  • Always be aware of your surroundings (and others)
  • Be careful when walking on rocks around the water as they can be slippery
  • The water can induce shock due to its cold temperature, especially on really hot days
  • Only swim where there are designated safe swimming signs – if there's no sign, do not enter the water

For more detailed information, consult the Parks Australia Kakadu water safety guide.

How to be croc-smart

We know what you’ve been thinking about since you started reading this page – swimming in stunning waterholes is all well and good, but will I see a crocodile?

Kakadu National Park is home to around 10,000 saltwater and freshwater crocodiles – that's about 10% of the Northern Territory’s entire crocodile population. While rangers regularly visit each swimming area to determine the level of crocodile threat, there’s still a chance you might see one or two as you travel through the park.

That being said, remember this: as long as you stay away from crocodiles and respect the local advice, you shouldn’t get into any trouble. Be careful around rivers and billabongs and pay close attention to crocodile warning signs, especially after periods of constant rainfall and flooding as crocodiles may use higher water levels to explore new territory.

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