As you’ll probably come to learn, during the Top Ends wet season the area experiences much higher water levels, thus resulting in flooding and a lot of closures.
With the flooding, crocodiles have a lot more freedom to move around unmonitored, so even if the waters recede, there is still the possibility of crocodiles. For my trip to Kakadu the wet season had already ended, but being one of the largest wet seasons in the last decade – there wasn’t much open for us. But that didn’t stop us from making the most of our trip! Kakadu is brimming with wildlife, and I learnt first hand that that’s not an exaggeration. So here’s a list of all of the best experiences for those visiting Kakadu after a heavy wet season…
🚶🏽 Nourlangie Lookout
Though this viewpoint is most well known for its sunsets, it’s probably the best lookout in Kakadu. We sadly just missed out on the sunset, but we were sure to come back during the day to check it out. From the carpark it’s just a short walk up a steep rocky cliffside and then you can see over the entire valley below. You can go up as far as you like, but the view from the top is obviously the best! If you like walking, at Nourlangie there are also plenty of walking trails that display some of the incredible culture, history and indigenous rock art.
🦅 Yellow Water Sunrise Cruise
Honestly there is really no point in coming to Kakadu if you aren’t planning on taking a cruise down the famous Yellow Water River. The Yellow Water River is basically the heart and soul of Kakadu, and it’s the best opportunity to get up close to some of the Top Ends wildlife. For our cruise we were joined by Skipper Chizzo, and within about 5minutes we had already spotted our first croc. Over the entire trip we saw 7 crocs (I spotted 3… by the way!) and this was our guides record. As well as the crocodiles we saw plenty of wetland bird life, and Chizzo gave us a whole lot of information about the area and its history. But in saying that, there’s also time to relax and cruise with only the peaceful sounds of the surrounding nature.
Depending on the season you might also see some Brumbys, Buffalo and Barra.
The sunrise cruise also includes a buffet breakfast at Cooinda’ Lodges’ restaurant – Mimi’s. After the cruise you are dropped off at the same pick up spot and you can walk over to the buffet.
Note: depending on the season/time of year, you can also drive directly to the Yellow Water car park where the boats are docked. When we visited, the car park was flooded so they blocked off the road and had all guests meet at Cooinda Lodge for included transfers.
🦎 Mirray Lookout
- 2km | 30mins
This viewpoint was signposted to be a 1.40hr walk, but it only took us a short 15minutes to reach the top. In the heat of the day we needed a well deserved rest once we reached the top – there were plenty of benches to sit and relax on, and a large wooden awning to provide shade. From the viewpoint you can look out over the vast and vibrant valley that is Kakadu, stretching out towards Nourlangie.
🐃 Yellow Water Sunset Cruise
Similar to the sunrise cruise – the sunset cruise is known to offer more wildlife. For sunset, the croc sightings seemed to be harder… it appeared that by morning the crocs relaxed on the sandbanks while it was cool (and much easier to spot), and in the heat of the afternoon they were all swimming around underwater. The sunrise cruise operated the same as the sunrise one, but this time we jumped on board with Skipper Milsey for a different perspective of the billabong.
We saw less crocs, and plenty of wetland birds. I almost had my doubts about how much wildlife we would see over sunset… but then it happened… for the first time of the season, we watched an entire herd of buffalo emerge from the bushes and enter into the wetlands under the golden sky. It was unlike anything I had seen before. I have never been on an African safari, but this felt like the closest thing to it.
Note: If you buy tickets for one cruise you can get 50% off the next one – so why not?!
See? Kakadu still has plenty to do after the wet season!
What else would you get up to?
You can get a closer look at my adventures on my Insta Highlights here!
(🌧 If you have the chance to visit during a dryer season, I would recommend visiting; Cahill’s Crossing, Maguk Falls, Gunlom Falls & Plunge Pool and Ubirr Lookout)