DAY 16 KAKADU first day
Following the recommendation from an Aussie the day before. We decided to skip the nearby walk we had originally planned to do and go to Gunlom.
We left our trailer at the camp (locked) and went to Gunlom rockpool.
The walk was nice and not too long, a bit rocky but easy to do. Once you climb up you can find a nice waterhole with a view of Kakadu, and we all enjoyed this panorama.
The water is crystal clear and I recommend swimming there. However, don’t do what I did, which was hitting a rock in the water. Its pretty shallow so enjoy a quick swim, and don’t dive deep!
After this nice stop, we went back to the visitor centre as agreed, and paid for our pass, which was forty dollars. We were staying for 3 days and it’s the same price if you stay longer. So for one week it’s a better deal, which is some advice we can give you if you have time.
Our plan for the afternoon was already settled, again after getting recommendations from some Aussies during our trip. Maguk was the next stop.
We drove to the campsite in Maguk to set up the tent for the evening. On the way we stopped at a lookout, and on the turnoff we took a corrugated road into the campsite. It was not too bad, and after our experience with El Questro we knew we would make it easily.
We went for the walk to the Rock pool, which takes around 40 minutes; we had found out about an “off track” which goes the upper pool instead of the bottom one. The bottom one is more popular and easier. However the top pool is amazing. This spot was really “breath-taking”. The view from the top overlooked on the Barramundi gorge. It was like a private pool with natural Jacuzzi. We were alone, and we spent some time chilling out and enjoying the water.
You can also do some snorkelling, and go on a tunnel underwater. Which is really cool, right?
If you are fit, and adventurous you should climb up to the upper pool, its not hard and its definitely worth it to go up. It could totally be a spot to bring your date, and well with travel mates it’s also nice.
It was a good day; there was good harmony and to top off the day, we end with a nice dinner made by our German, a hash brown specialty. This is the good thing about renting with Share Bus. You are with travel mates from different nationalities, and you can exchange the culture, and good food.
This day we had lot of driving planned. The problem with Kakadu is that it is huge; ‘Its half size of Switzerland! We had to go to Jabiru, and it was more than one hour to get there.
We stopped to the visitor information in Bowali and also for fuel at Cooinda lodge. It was a good location with a walk around, but we had to skip it as we had a schedule already.
Firstly, we drove to our campground called “Malabanjbanjdju”, which was on the way, but quite far (50minutes) from the town of Jabiru.
After setting up the campsite, we drove to the activities for the day. Jabiru is a good area to see the historical sights, like rock art and paintings from Aboriginal people.
It’s a practical stop with a lot of shops around, it is also a stop to connect yourself again with the real word, and yes they have signal there. After the “practical stop”, we headed to Nourlangie “burrrungkuy”; I had heard about this place and ask the team to check it out, as it is well know for rock art, such an easy walk, and has a nice path with explanation of aboriginal stories.
As we wanted to immerse ourselves with the Aboriginal culture, we decided to do an activity with a ranger. We chose to do the Ubirr rock art talk, a cultural activity. The tour was 2 hours long but it went fast. We were captivated by the story of this place, getting to know more about the stories of this land and contemplating the sunset. The Sunset from the rocks in Ubirr is amazing and a must do.
If you are interested on the culture, you can do a lot of free activities with a ranger, but you need to plan ahead. You could also go to the Warradjan aboriginal cultural Center.
And looking back, we recommend staying close to Jabiru even if you have to spend some money; you will be more central and it will save some energy and time.
This day was already the last day in Kakadu, and we had to have the “croc experience”,
another must do in this park.
First, we went for a walk at East Alligator river. It’s an easy small walk, where you can walk along the river, and spot for some crocodiles already. We also did a part in the bush, which was kind of scary.
The most thrilling moment was when we went to Cahill crossing, again following someone’s recommendation. This is the good place to spot crocodiles where you don’t spend any money. This is a river crossing where you can see heaps of crocodiles. When they snap up the fish it is really impressive. Make sure you check the tide before going there, and get there 30 minutes before low tide. It was a nice experience before leaving the park.
We decided to leave and go to Litchfield, where we stayed in the Florence falls campsite, enjoying the amenities!
We decided to enjoy Lichfield with no rush, chilling out, and enjoying the morning in the comfy campground with a shower. Someone told us about a bush campsite at Buley rockhole, but after reflection we all decided to stay in this campground.
We checked the map, and found that this park is the best place to chase waterfalls.
-We first stopped at Tolmer falls. It is a nice waterfall but you cant swim there, it’s a preserved spot with bats and a nice lookout. We also decided to do a walk, a small loop, with nice vegetation from Northern Territory. (Cycades plants).
The others stop were more interesting, as we could spend more time there.
–The cascades: nice walk with some rainforest, a must do in Lichfield enjoying the clear water. We went to the bottom pool but you can also go to the upper pool. It was really quiet place and not crowded.
– Wangi falls: We all enjoyed this place, a nice and wide waterfall, with a big swimming area. We recommend you to check under the falls, there is a hole and it is like a small jacuzzi. It’s the best spot to contemplate the beauty of the nature around you.
You can also enjoy a walk in the tropical forest, with many bats.
This day was again another day to chill out, with two big attractions to check out, Florence Falls and the Buley Rockhole.
One recommendation if you are in Florence fall camping, go for a swim overnight, we didn’t do it, but now looking back I regret that we didn’t try this adventure.
Florence Falls: This falls was on my bucket list, and it was nice walk to go there, 135 steps with a lookout on the way, on a platform. When you are there down, the problem is the stream/ current? Is really strong.
It was the first time I saw a big sign in French, saying to be careful with the current/ stream.
We recommend you to be careful, as its kind of shallow water and rocky. We didn’t dive here; only relax in the water, with no risk.
Buley rockhole: This is another famous spot and easily reachable , so we recommend you to go early. There weren’t many people around and we could enjoy the calm and tranquility of this place. We found a spot for Jordan to hang his hammock, but I prefer enjoying the water.
It’s a really nice place as there are many small, but deep pools in the rocks you can be in. After some time, the big pool was crowded with people from a tourist bus. However, the good thing is you can move upwards to check out the other pools.
From this place you can walk to Florence falls, but we didn’t do it, due to timing. But if you have time and go early, this looks like a nice walk.
After Florence Falls, we decided to leave the park; we wanted to be closer to our arrival point, Darwin. We stayed in a place close to Berri Springs, and we all agreed that this camping spot was one of the worst we had been to so far. If I could choose again, I wouldn’t go there, but I’d pay some money for a nice camping spot. Well, we handled the bad camping spot and tried to make it nice. After lighting a fire and playing some Uno it worked pretty well. The only annoying thing was the wind. This place had no connection too :s
Day 21 :
The last day of this trip. We knew the last day wouldn’t be a relaxing day. We knew that we had to clean up the trailer and packed, so we decided to do it early and organise the stuff. We all worked together, teamwork is always a good idea to get things sorted. We did well. We could finally leave and enjoy a last spot on the way – Berry Springs.
Berry springs were not far at all from Darwin, maybe 40 minutes away. It’s a nice natural pool, and for my part I enjoyed a nice last swim there.
Afterwards, we made our way to Darwin and were all happy to have some comfort in a hostel. And we did our own thing, after 3 weeks together you need some space and time for yourself. We agreed that it can be tough, when you are in free camp and never have time for yourself. Well we made it, and I am glad we did. We had a nice group energy and did lot of things. You have to be on the same page to enjoy the trip, teamwork and communication is definitely the key to a good trip.
If you choose to free camp, it can be exhausting. However, we can be proud, with our choice to free camp, we saved $270!! Its crazy how camping can be so cheap, you just need to be well organized!