4 day adventurous tropical journey
The Top End of Australia is the perfect place for thrill-seeking adventurers like you. There are so many ways to push yourself and experience new things, with the added element of remote and rugged wilderness dialling the adventure up a notch or two.
This is what a Top End adventure looks like
This action-packed itinerary includes some of the best experiences that the Northern Territory has to offer. You’ll be heading into the heart of Kakadu, coming up close and personal with crocodiles, hiking to gorges, canoeing through canyons, taking to the skies and more. And it’s all done with one of the world’s most ancient and revered places as your backdrop.
Pack some comfortable walking shoes, your camera, your outdoor gear and a can-do attitude. From the moment you land in Darwin you'll be experiencing the very best that the Top End has to offer – so get set for an incredible adventure.
Pick up your 4WD
Nothing says ‘adventure holiday’ more than picking up the keys to your hired 4WD. Your car will be ready and waiting for you when you land at Darwin airport, so you can hightail it straight out of town and head east into the wilderness.
Get up close and personal with jumping crocs
Your first stop, about one hour from Darwin, is at the Adelaide River. Here, you’re booked in for the Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise – a never-to-be-forgotten experience that puts you within reach of these incredible, prehistoric creatures. Watch the crocs leap straight up out of the water with pure power and precision; and snap some incredible pics to share with friends back home.
Drive in to Kakadu
Following your hour-long cruise, get back on the Arnhem Highway to finish your drive to Kakadu National Park. You’re about to arrive at one of the most remarkable and revered places on earth. Your accommodation tonight is the Mercure Crocodile Hotel Jabiru, which is ideally located up near the north-east corner of Kakadu. Take a quick dip in the cooling pool before heading off for an afternoon and evening you’ll remember forever.
Watch the sun set at Ubirr
Ubirr, about an hour north of Jabiru, is one of Kakadu’s most famous sites. It’s home to a remarkably pristine collection of rock art featuring fish, turtles, goanna and other native animals – there’s even a painting of a thylacine (or Tasmanian tiger). Allow about an hour to view the rock art before climbing up to the rocky lookout, where you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views of Arnhem Land and the Nadab floodplain. It’s the perfect place to watch the sun set over your first day in the Northern Territory.
Let the season dictate your day
The way you experience Kakadu can depend largely on the season you’re travelling in. If it’s the wet season, typically November to March, some of the roads become impassable given the sheer volumes of water flooding the land. Now’s the perfect time to take a scenic flight over Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls to see the thundering waterfalls below you.
If you’re here in the dry (April to October), tackle the rugged 4WD track leading to Jim Jim Falls and encounter the majesty of the place on foot. Before you travel, get the latest access updates from Parks Australia. It's worth the 900 metre walk across the rocks to take a dip in the crystal clear water of the plunge pool.
Experience the magic of Maguk
Barramundi Gorge (Maguk) is one of Kakadu’s best-kept secrets. It’s well worth the trek in – the 1km walk to the incredible waterhole takes you through lush rainforest, revealing an expansive and inviting pool. Swim across its length to the gently tumbling waterfall and experience nature at its very best.
Take a cruise on a billabong
Following a day spent exploring Kakadu’s gorgeous gorges, it’s time to check in at Cooinda Lodge. This accommodation is ideally situated next to the famous Yellow Water Billabong, home to remarkable scenery and wildlife. A sunset cruise is the perfect time to take in the beauty of these wetlands.
Hike up and around Edith Falls
Set off early from Cooinda Lodge and head south out of Kakadu. Your destination today is Katherine and the beautiful Nitmiluk National Park. On the way there, pull off the main highway when you reach Leliyn/Edith Falls and spend the morning exploring this gem. If you’ve got the time and energy, tackle the walk to Sweetwater Pool on the Jatbula Trail (9km return). Otherwise, the 2.6km Leliyn Trail is a challenging but enjoyable walk along a steep, rocky loop – with the option of a refreshing swim in the upper pools which won't disappoint.
Go canoeing in Nitmiluk Gorge
Spend the afternoon canoeing along the waterways of Nitmiluk Gorge. Cruising along the Katherine River, surrounded by the towering walls of the gorge, is an unforgettable experience. It can get blisteringly hot out here, so pack plenty of water, sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat and sun-smart clothing.
Sleep tight at Knotts Crossing Resort
After such an action-packed day, you’ll sleep like a baby at Knotts Crossing Resort, which is located in the heart of Katherine. Rest up – your final day on this incredible tour of the Top End promises more adventure.
Drive back to Darwin
This morning, you’re heading up the Stuart Highway and back to Darwin. Having crammed so many incredible adventures into your days, you’ll love having a couple of hours in the car to reflect and prepare yourself for two final, heart-stopping adventures before you jump on the plane home.
Hop aboard a thrilling harbour ride
When you get back to Darwin, head straight for the harbour, where you’re hopping aboard a Matt Wright Airboat Ride. This once-in-a-lifetime experience on a custom-built V8 airboat will get your adrenaline pumping with a fast lap of the harbour, followed by a more chilled out cruise towards the scenic mangroves and their abundant bird life.
Face off against a crocodile
You started this incredible adventure with crocs, so it’s only fitting that the last thing you do in Darwin is jump into the Cage of Death at Crocosaurus Cove. You’re lowered into the same enclosure as some of the largest saltwater crocodiles on the planet for a unique 15 minute, face-to-face encounter. This is sure to make you feel more alive than you have in a long time.