©Chris Chen/Lonely Planet

Kakadu National Park

There is more than a national park at Kakadu; this place is also a vibrant, living acknowledgement of the elemental link between the Aboriginal custodians, the Bininj/Mungguy, and the country they have nurtured, endured and respected for thousands of generations. Encompassing almost 20,000 sq km (about 200km north–south and 100km east–west), it holds within its boundaries a spectacular ecosystem, periodically scorched and flooded, and mind-blowing ancient rock art.

In just a few days you can cruise on billabongs bursting with wildlife, examine 25,000-year-old rock paintings with the help of an Indigenous guide, swim in pools at the foot of tumbling waterfalls and hike through ancient sandstone escarpment country.

If Kakadu has a downside it's that it's very popular – in the Dry at least. Resorts, campgrounds and rock-art sites can be very crowded. But this is a vast park and with a little adventurous spirit you can easily leave the crowds behind.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Kakadu National Park.

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