Kakadu National Park
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Going Safari in Arnhemland
This World Heritage-listed national park is fed by pristine river systems, and it's alive with the various calls of over 280 bird species. But the best way to explore the floodplains, billabongs, and rugged stone landscape of Kakadu and Arnhem Land is by a small tour of just a few people. While it's a national park, a lot of the land is sacred Aboriginal land, but some tours have leased the land so they can show visitors ancient cave paintings and rock formations, native plants and animals. Mt Borradaile is totally gorgeous, with lily-covered billabongs and waterways teeming with birds, crocodiles, and barramundi (fish). In the adjacent escarpment there's quality Aboriginal rock art in old habitation caves and shelters, something you will find only on a tour. Ochre paintings of elegant hunting figures with spears and boomerangs illustrate life up to 50,000 years ago, while vibrant spirit figures and ships show the evolution of the world's oldest continuing living culture. One option is Davidson's Arnhemland Safaris, located on a 700 kilometre square exclusive lease in northwest Arnhemland, 50 minutes by light plane from Darwin. There's a newly rebuilt safari lodge hidden in the surrounding bush, with en-suite cabins built to embrace the top end climate. Or go for the deluxe en-suite cabins, which provide a few more luxuries. A central hub overlooks the pool and offers cold beer and other drinks to have in the lounge area or the poolside deck.
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Kakadu Bird Week
Kakadu National Park is home to more than a third of Australia’s bird species, and every year during spring, Kakadu Bird Week brings together binocular-clad "twitchers" and nature lovers to count and celebrate the country's feathered friends. Veteran birders take long treks into the sandstone country to stalk such secretive species as white-throated grass wrens, while newbies work in teams to identify a variety of birds that live in the woodland, savannah, billabongs, and high up in the escarpment, taking special note of iconic local species such as the ubiquitous jabiru (black-necked stork, pictured). If birds like that weren't exciting enough, some of the surveying occurs in areas not normally accessible to the public. Bonus.
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Exploring the Rivers and Pools of Kakadu
This UNESCO World Heritage-listed wilderness offers a slew of dreamy water-based adventures. Take a guided voyage along one of the park's gorgeous rivers— like Kakadu Tourism’s Yellow Water Billabong Cruise or East Alligator River Cruise—cool down at Jim Jim Falls, or explore the mystical Maguk Gorge. Whatever you choose, don’t leave here without experiencing the Gunlom infinity pool, a dazzling combination of waterfall and a crystal-clear plunge pool with sweeping views over Kakadu.
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