Sure you know you want to go to the Top End, but it is so big, where do you even start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered these are the Top End highlights not to be missed.
The only way to travel
Drive in a luxuriously appointed 4WD along Kakadu’s famous off-road tracks, take a scenic flight over the Top End’s most spectacular waterfalls and gorges, and witness the Mary River Wetlands’ abundant wildlife from its waters.
To travel deep into Litchfield, Nitmiluk and Kakadu national parks you’re going to need some serious wheels; not least because you’ll be tackling some of the country’s most famous off-road routes like the Marrakai Track. Inspiring Journeys’ vehicles come with reclining seats, air conditioning, panoramic windows, and wi-fi to upload your pics right there and then.
The Mary River Wetlands constitute a vast network of tributaries and billabongs that’s home to the highest concentration of saltwater crocodiles in the world. From the luxury confines of Wildman Wilderness Lodge you’ll make your way to Corroboree Billabong where you’ll board a boutique cruise to explore the lotus-covered waters with a wildlife guide. Look out for bizarre-looking jabiru storks and massive salties.
It’s an adventure in its own right that you can undertake as an optional part of your Kakadu’s Ancient Secrets journey. Climb aboard a light aircraft in Jabiru for a scenic flight over Kakadu National Park and its network of deep gorges, billabongs, roaring waterfalls and verdant escarpments. It’s the perfect opportunity to capture the grandeur of the endless bush and its wildlife in a frame-worthy aerial photograph.
The Top End’s birdlife is a razzle-dazzle of colour, plus there’s a host of rare, iconic animals to keep a zoom (and macro) lens out for.
Look for these bright blue and orange birds diving down to hunt for fish along creeks and billabongs (including Yellow Water and Mary River).
With a spectacular colour scheme of deep, vibrant blue contrasted with blood red and orange, this is considered one of the most beautiful grasshoppers on the planet. Steeped in Indigenous tradition, it’s thought to be the offspring of a powerful ancestral being, its loud chirping heralding the arrival of rain.
Prevalent across the Kakadu scrub and grasslands, the agile wallaby has a fine tan coat with a telltale white stripe on its thigh and a black line along its cheek. A group of them feeding out on the plains makes for a classic Australian safari shot.
You’ll be lucky to spot this Australian icon, and even luckier to see the frill-necked lizard exhibiting its namesake spectacular collar – a magnificent orange mosaic of scales. It’s a defensive mechanism the lizard deploys to spook would-be predators before running away and scarpering up a tree.
A trip to the NT is incomplete without experiencing the pure serenity of its pristine waterholes. Some of the best locations for a ‘wild swim’ lie within Litchfield, Nitmiluk and Kakadu national parks.
Wangi Falls, Litchfield National Park
Cascading down an ochre cliff into a brilliant green pool, take a swim for a life-affirming experience; one of the pools is thought to be the site of a traditional Indigenous birthing pool.
Gunlom Falls, Kakadu National Park
You’ll find it a battle to put your camera down here to simply enjoy this chain of swimming pools; the last one represents something of a natural infinity pool with views out over Kakadu.
Edith Falls, Nitmiluk National Park
A swim in the large, pandanus- and paperbark-fringed pool, with buttresses of red sandstone at the base of these falls will reset your body for more days of exploring.