Considering a four-wheel-drive to of majestic Kakadu National Park? Look no further, here are our pick of the 4WD bunch…
Spirit of Kakadu Adventure Tour
For a full day of activity (almost 10 hours) take this indigenous-owned excursion that operates year-round (departing from Cooinda Lodge). In the dry season you’ll head for Jim Jim and Twin Falls, which plunge off the escarpment, making them two of the most spectacular sights in Kakadu (though you’ll discover early on why you need a 4WD vehicle to get there). There’s a maximum of 16 passengers and the cost is $205 (www.kakadutourism.com/tours-activities/yellow-water-cruises/). We’d also recommend indigenous-owned tour operator Arnhemlander, as well as Top End Explorer Tours and Lords Safaris.
Animal Tracks Safari
In the dry season (May–October) you can take a seven-hour wildlife safari and fascinating Aboriginal cultural tour in an open 4WD each afternoon (departing from Cooinda). We can’t recommend this enough: you’ll find and hunt the ingredients for your dinner, then cook them to eat while watching the sun set over a billabong alive with bird life. Animal Tracks has exclusive access to some areas of wetlands and woodlands, with a maximum of 18 guests along with the expert Aboriginal guide. The cost is $205. animaltracks.com.au
Overnight/multi-day 4WD tours
There are plenty of 4WD tour companies that take a little longer to enjoy Kakadu, or combine it with other wonders around the area such as the Cobourg Peninsula and Arnhem Land.
Kakadu 4WD Safaris has a range of tours, including a two-day, wet-season adventure, which focus on the small group experience and venture off the beaten track. From $395.
Brookes Australia calls its Kakadu multi-day tours ‘civilised adventure’; every night is spent ensconsed in a hotel if you’re not interested in that camping palaver. From $2221.
Venture North offers a five-day natural wonder-a-thon that takes in billabongs, swims, walks and art in Kakadu as well as the Cobourg Peninsula and Arnhem Land. From $2990.
Sugarbag Safaris is a small, local outfit run by encyclopaedic Brolga Award-winning guide Hamish. His five-day Kakadu, Katherine and Litchfield tour includes a wildlife cruise and camping under the stars in a custom swag. From $910.
The Kakadu Guide: A beautiful guide to a beautiful place