7 Days in Kakadu with Kids
Kakadu this is one of our highlights of the trip, we spent 7 days in Kakadu National Park and it has left an impression on us that won’t be forgotten. It is a place full of culture, adventure and some of the most stunning landscape we have seen. With so much to see and do we had to narrow it down as travelling with young kids there needs to be some down time also, in saying that we really got to pack in a fair bit of adventures and we wanted to share with you our itinerary spending 7 days in Kakadu with kids.
We left from Darwin and only being a short drive we arrived early, we based ourselves at the Kakadu Lodge Caravan Park in Jabiru for the first 3 nights, while we waited for our site to be ready we made our way to the Bowali visitors centre in Jabiru, this is a great starting point for your stay in Kakadu as you can find out about all the landscapes and wildlife in Kakadu and learn about the culture. They also run free activities, live workshops and guided tours it’s a good idea to find out the times for the tours so you can plan in your days. We were lucky and got to do a weaving workshop where Ella and I were able to weave our own bracelets. Once finished we settled back at the Lodge and relaxed on our first night.
We decided to head down to Cahills Crossing to watch the crocodiles out in the wild. There is just something incredible about seeing crocodiles in their natural habitat (high up and far away from the water that is!) Cahills crossing is the only road crossing from Kakadu into Arnham land and you need a 4wd to cross the river if your game. The best time to come is at high tide which brings the fish in and the crocodiles all come up to have a feast on them, we spent at least an hour there watching them and saw plenty of crocodiles waiting in the water.
Later that day we headed out to Ubirr with an easy walk around several aboriginal rock art sites it was fascinating to learn that people use to camp here under the large rocks using them as shelter. They would use the plants and animals from the floodplain for food. The large rocks were painted with thousands year old aboriginal rock art and it was incredible to see. This takes you to a easy climb up to the top to the Ubirr lookout for the most stunning lookout over the Nadab Floodplains and Arnham Land, this was breathtaking. We stayed here while the kids played and watched the sun set and we were lucky to be treated with someone playing their didgeridoo while the sun was going down.
We took the one hour drive to Maguk Gorge it has a 14km 4wd track to get to but when we went it was easy. We debated on whether we should bring the carrier for Bodhi or not, Ryan was a definite yes, I said no we should be fine for this one it’s meant to be a short walk, I was wrong wish we had brought it. While it is only a short 1km walk there is lots of rock hopping and creek crossings to navigate over. It was challenging especially holding a one year old but when you are rewarded with the stunning Maguk Gorge all is forgotten. A pristine natural waterfall and plunge pool at the base of the gorge walls where we enjoyed a little dip and Ryan swam all the way to the waterfall. There is also a unmarked walk to the top of the gorge which takes you to the rock pools and a view over the Gorge. We went off track to the left a little through the bush which took us to a lovely shallow spot which is ideal for little ones.
We packed up our van and made the 40 minute drive to Cooinda Lodge which is where we would spend our last 3 nights, this allowed us to be close to other sites we wanted to see. We took this day as an easy day and enjoyed using the parks facilities which had an amazing pool with a huge splash pool for the real little ones, kids playground and beautiful sites.
We spent today tackling Gunlom Falls which has a stunning plunge pool at the bottom surrounded by huge gorge walls. It took us 1.5 hours to get there with some unsealed road but easy even for a 2wd. We then hiked our way up the steep decent to be taken away by the infinity pool and little rock pools at the top. We were a little nervous about this one with the kids as we had been told how steep the climb is, but we were glad we did it. Bodhi went in our hiking backpack and it took us 30 minutes to climb to the top. Ella did really well and climb to the top and back down all herself, she loved it.
Our last full day and it was an early start for our sunrise cruise on the Yellow Water River Cruise Boat. It was such a sureal experience, waking up early to get on the boat and watching the sun rising and wildlife waking on the yellow water billabong it was really something. We were lucky with a misty morning and the place was peaceful and still. We were amazed to learn that one third of Australias bird species are represented in Kakadu National Park with at least 60 species in the wetlands. The river was full of wildlife we spotted many different species of birds, water buffaloes, horses and of course crocodiles, lots of crocodiles. We were a little unsure with how Bodhi would do but the carrier came on the boat and I was able to get him to sleep and Ryan was able to enjoy spotting the animals with Ella. After the cruise it came with a buffet breakfast back at the lodge and we spent the rest of the day enjoying the caravan parks pool and playground, ready to pack up and go the next day.
The cruise came with a free sunset cruise and I was able to contact them and get a spot on the sunrise cruise again instead of the sunset option, just me this time while Ryan and the kids slept in. It was another magical experience which I was able to take in in a different way and have fun photographing some of the wildlife. After this it was back to the caravan to pack up and say goodbye to Kakadu.
Here’s our video we made showing our Kakadu adventures with our kids.
- Where we stayed – 3 nights at Kakadu Lodge and 3 nights at Cooinda Lodge Caravan Parks.
- What we saw – Cahills crossing, Maguk Falls, Ubiir, Gunlom Falls and Yellow Water Billabong.
- Deal with the Yellow Water Cruise if you book a sunrise cruise you get a free sunset cruise.
- You need a park pass which is valid for 7 days
- Check out the cultural centres there are 2 for details and times of free guided tours
- Bring a carrier if you have kids under 5, the walks are short but lots of rock scrambling
- There is a fair bit of driving to do within the National Park we used around 1.5 tanks travelling from Darwin
- There is a supermarket in Jabiru if you need supplies
Kakadu was a highlight for us in the Northern Territory and still with more places to explore it is yet another one on our list to get back to.