A – Z of Kakadu

A – Z of Kakadu

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 02/28/2020

Reading time: 7 mins

It’s the A to Z of Kakadu! The real question is though, can we find an awesome feature of this wonderful place for every letter of the alphabet? Let’s see what we can come up with.

  • – Aboriginal peoples

    The Aboriginal people are the first inhabitants of this land. There are many Aboriginal nations across Australia. Kakadu national park has been home to Aboriginal people for more than 65,000 years. The culture of Aboriginal Australians is the oldest living culture on earth.

  • B – Billabongs

    Billabongs are large bodies of water formed when a river changes course. They are common throughout Kakadu and are important areas for plant regeneration and wildlife populations. They provide both food and water sources for native animals.

  • C – Culture

    Bininj People

    Kakadu is a living cultural landscape. The culture in this area is the longest living culture on earth and this land has been home to Aboriginal people for more than 65,000 years. You should always be respectful of the culture and obey guides and signage.

  • D – Darwin woollybutt

    You will see this hard eucalyptus plant along the sides of many Kakadu roads. They provide food for many insects and birds and are a seasonal indicator for Traditional Owners. When flowering, they indicate it is time to begin patch burning to prevent wildfires during dry seasons.

  • E – Escarpment

    There are many rocky escarpments throughout Kakadu. The most famous is the Arnhem Land plateau. From Twin Falls, climb the plateau walk and marvel at the lookout over the falls once you’ve made it to the top.

  • F – Fishing

    Kakadu has amazing fishing opportunities. Though quite regulated, there are plenty of great spots to fish in. Barramundi is the most commonly caught fish here are they are abundant in the park’s rivers and billabongs.

  • G – Gunlom Waterfall

    Gunlom Waterfall is one of the most popular waterfalls in Kakadu. At the base is a large pool with a sandy beach, great for the family. A short walk away though is a series of rocky pools, each with fabulous views of the pool below.

  • H – Hikes

    Ubirr Rock

    There are plenty of hikes to suit all levels across the park. Some hikes will loop around great landmarks, while others lead you to hidden swimming spots or up to natural plunge pools above waterfalls. Be sure to do your research as some hikes may close over wet seasons.

  • I – Injalak Arts

    Located in Arnhem Land, Injalak Arts is a not-for-profit Aboriginal-owned arts centre. Art plays an important role in the cultural and artistic life of Aboriginal artists living in isolated areas. The centre helps bring funds to artists and residents.

  • J – Jim Jim Falls

    Jim Jim Falls

    Jim Jim Falls is the biggest waterfall in Kakadu. At 200m tall, it’s no surprise the others can’t match up! Enjoy a swim in its huge pool below. Take this as a warning though, no matter what time of year, the water is much colder than you think!

  • K – Koolpin Gorge

    Koolpin Gorge (Jarrangbarnmi) is a stunning gorge located in the southern region of the park. The gorge boasts incredible plunge pools and endless greenery. There are also many particularly rare bird species in this area. Keep your eye out for the hooded parrot and Gouldian finch.

  • L – Language 

    Before the European invasion, there were about 200 Aboriginal languages spoken around Australia. In the Kakadu area, 12 languages were spoken. Today, only three languages are spoken regularly in the area. They are Kundjeyhmi, Kunwinjku and Jawoyn.

  • M – Mamukala Wetlands

    The Mamukala Wetlands are a bird-lovers dream. Hundreds of birds flock here around the billabong, reflecting the seasonal changes throughout the year. With so many species visiting throughout the year, the wetlands are always a fantastic place to visit.

  • N – Namarrkon

    Namarrkon is an important creation ancestor who is responsible for the lighting storms Kakadu has each tropical summer. His story is part of a larger story. His presence is felt each time there is a storm.

  • O – Orange-footed scrubfowl

    These small and plump birds are found in the monsoon areas of Kakadu. They are one of only three mound-building birds in Australia. They use the mounds as large compost piles, benefiting from the warmth produced by the decomposing process.

  • P – Plunge Pools

    Kakadu National Park

    Across the park, there are an abundance of plunge pools for you to cool down in. Many are found at the foot of a waterfall, while others are found atop cliffs and provide unparalleled views over the park’s landscape.

  • Q – Quiet

    One of the best things you can do while in the park is to stop and be quiet. Just for a minute or two. Listen to the incredibly ecoscape surrounding you. From chirping birds to crashing waterfalls Kakadu is an incredible place so do not forget to take a quiet second to soak it all in.

  • R – Red Bush Apple

    Red bush apple, or andjarduk, fruit in the pre-monsoon season. They are ripe and in abundance through the tropical summer. They are delicious raw, however, are also cooked to help soothe sore throats and congestion. Their flowers are great bandages, while the tea of their leaves treats stomach aches.

  • S – Saltwater crocodiles

    Kakadu has a thriving saltwater crocodile population. In fact, 10% of all crocodiles in the Northern Territory live here. You can safely see crocodiles on a crocodile cruise in the East Alligator River or Yellow Water Billabong. Never approach a crocodile and always adhere to croc warning signs.

  • T – Traditional Owners

    The Traditional Owners of Kakadu National Park are Bininj/Mungguy. Aboriginal people in the north of the park are called Bininj, while Mungguy live in the south. They live in complex social structures and hold deep spiritual connection to their country. You must respect traditional culture when on their land.

  • U – Ubirr

    Kakadu Ubirr Rock

    Ubirr is one of the main rock art galleries in Kakadu. There are several significant pieces here and the gallery is one of the reasons Kakadu received World Heritage status. The gallery has artwork depicting European contact, Thylacine and creation ancestors.

  • V – Visitor Centres

    There are two visitor centres in the park, the Bowali Visitor Centre and the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre. If possible, you should visit both centres, as each will teach you about the park in different ways. The centre staff can also help you plan the next part of your trip.

  • W – World Heritage

    Kakadu National Park is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. It is recognised for both its cultural and natural values. The park was first added to the list in 1981, with additional areas added in 1987, 1992 and 2011.

  • X – X-ray art

    X-Ray art is a style of painting only found in the Northern Territory. The animals are shown with anatomical features giving them an x-ray like look. They depict the artists understanding of the animal and reflect relationships with the land and its inhabitants.

  • Y – Yellow Water

    The Yellow Water region is a wetland region, part of the South Alligator River Floodplain. This is a great place to go fishing or on a crocodile cruise. The Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre is also located in this region.

  • Z – Zero Waste

    This is an important one. Whatever you bring into the park with you, you must take back out. Leave no trace you were there and certainly do not litter. There should be zero waste left in Kakadu from your visit.

What do you think, did we miss anything you think should be on the list? There was some hard decisions to make when compiling it!

Related article: How Big is Kakadu National Park?

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.

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