As mentioned here, the Aussie and I took visited Kakadu for the Easter weekend and it was just fantastic. The downsides were the heat, it felt so much hotter there without the sea breeze we enjoy (occasionally) in Darwin during the wet season and I really noticed it and the fact that even though it hasn’t really rained this wet season, a lot of places were only accessible in four wheel drives so our little Hyundai wasn’t quite equipped for the terrain.
Even though we couldn’t visit all of the places we wanted it didn’t really matter as we did so much and saw a lot. It is also the perfect excuse to visit again during the dry season too!
We travelled down to Jabiru on the Friday as we were staying in the Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel which is built in the shape of a crocodile (photo is from the Agoda website for the hotel)!
The hotel was pretty nice, with its own art gallery full of aboriginal artworks to view and also to buy. It was very quiet all over even though it was full for the Easter weekend and had good facilities including a pool where you could take a dip after a long day out in the heat. The restaurant was nice with good quality food although we were encouraged to opt for the buffet style dinner over the menu on both nights which was a bit annoying but the food was still good quality for a buffet.
The hotel was though possibly a little bit out of the way for us as most of the things we wanted to do on Saturday and Sunday were at the Cooinda end of the park but it was only a 50km or so drive back so it wasn’t a huge problem. I would probably suggest that you spend one night at the Crocodile hotel and then another 1 to 2 nights in Cooinda if you want to explore.
On our way down to Jabiru which is approximately 294km south of Darwin there are lots of places to stop including Fogg Dam, Windows on the Wetlands, The Mary River Park , the Bark Hut and Corroboree Billabong. We have visited them all before so drove straight to the park.
The park is beautiful and a sign welcomes you to the area and reminds you that a pass must be purchased for $25 which allows you 14 days access to the park unless you have a Northern Territory Driving Licence, in which case it is free. We both do so didn’t have to worry about buying the pass, although a lot of the holiday parks along the way sell them so it is easy to do.
We got to Jabiru at about 1pm and thought we would start at the Bowali Visitors Centre and this was a really good idea as I had only started really planning where we should go the day before (damn busy life) and they have guides who can help you with directions, places where there are free talks and just how to get to your hotel! We picked up maps here which was good because when you are away from the hotels and manned tourist attractions you get no phone reception which is fantastic unless you want to get directions!
The Visitors Centre was also good because there are displays where you can learn about Kakadu and Aboriginal heritage which I really enjoyed having a look around. The centre was literally 5 minutes drive from our hotel (unless you miss the Jabiru turn off like I did and end up at the very end of the highway!) where we headed afterwards to check in and have a bit of a nap. We were going to go to a free talk being held by the Rangers that evening but decided that we just wanted to relax so made plans for where we would visit the following day and had dinner at the restaurant.
I am still editing my photos (I took a LOT) from our travels on the Saturday and Sunday so will talk about the other places we visited in future posts but below are pictures taken at Bowali Visitors Centre: