Can you swim at Maguk Falls?

Can you swim at Maguk Falls?

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 09/09/2022

Reading time: 4 mins

Given its location in Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory – where the days are blistering, but many of the waterways can be home to crocodiles – you’re right to ask the very important question of is it safe to swim at Maguk, also known as Barramundi Gorge.

To start with a full disclaimer from Northern Territory Tourism themselves, you are in ‘Croc Country’, and are advised to practice full diligence at ANY water spot in Kakadu, as saltwater crocodiles can be present in just about any of them. If there is no signage to say otherwise, always err on the side of caution. There are no 100% guarantees crocs won’t be in any water holes, rivers, plunge pools, beaches or creeks, and crocodile safety needs to be taken seriously!

Now in saying all of that… Maguk is a very popular swim spot, and many people swim here every single day to escape the heat. So, let’s talk about why this is a much safer spot to cool off.

Due to the inviting waters and pristine environment, rangers and locals know this is an idyllic destination for travellers to visit. At the end of every wet season (which is November – April by the way, you can read more about what that is like here ) any crocodiles that are found here are caught and relocated elsewhere to keep you safe. There are additional traps set up for any that make their way back unexpectedly.

The water in Maguk is also crystal clear, so guides and travellers can check as best they can for anything to be worried about. Fortunately, it is rare in Maguk – croc sightings are few and far between in the dry season.

Why is Maguk so special?

Maguk is one of the slightly lesser-known beauties of Kakadu National Park, though it is gaining in popularity and now being included in many tour itineraries. You could be sharing this delightful bit of nature with others, or you could get the whole place to yourself.

It is found within a monsoon forest, and a trek through the diverse forest will take you to a breathtaking plunge pool, serviced by a cascading waterfall and surrounded by the high rock walls of the gorge. The Maguk waterfall is only one of few that continues to flow without the rain of the wet season, so you’ll get a show any time of year.

Once you’ve had a swim in the plunge pool, you can climb to the top of the waterfall, where you’ll be met with a series of lagoon type rockpools and a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape, and directly down into the navy water below.

The hike to the main pool is relatively easy, but the climb to the top of the waterfall can be a little trickier. It is an unmarked path complete with inclines and a touch of rock climbing. The view and serenity are worth it, trust us.

The pools are filled with black bream fish, so you’ll enjoy some calm company while you’re in there. Confident swimmers can head into the deeper water towards the waterfall and enjoy a snorkel, and those not as confident can wade in the sandy shallows.

How do you get there?

Maguk is a little off the beaten track, in the Mary River region of Kakadu National Park.

14km of the journey towards it is on rugged terrain, so you’ll need a 4WD or a guide who will take you there. It is an hour south of Cooinda, and once you make it to the carpark you have a 1km walk ahead of you to the plunge pool. The walk is beautiful and crosses over Barramundi creek – keep an eye out for wildlife.

Alternatively, join a tour group and have the driving taken care of by an experienced and friendly guide.

However you get to Maguk, you should give yourself at least 2 hours to explore the area, take a refreshing swim, have a poolside picnic and enjoy some of nature’s finest work.

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.