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Group on a river cruise at Yellow Water in Kakadu National Park

River cruisingin the Northern Territory

Cruise the rivers and explore plunging gorges, serene billabongs and lush wetlands that just can't be appreciated (or reached) by land.

[carousel hero="true" rotateheadings="true" smallheight="false"][slide image="/-/media/images/articles/river-cruising/hero-image/group-on-a-river-cruise-at-yellow-water-in-kakadu-national-park.jpg" imagealt="Yellow Water Cruise's vessel on the billabong at sunrise. Yellow Water Billabong, Kakadu's most famous wetland, is located at the end of Jim Jim Creek, a tributary of the South Alligator River. The river system, which is the largest in Kakadu, contains extensive wetlands that include river channels, floodplains and backwater swamps. Covering nearly 20,000 square kilometres, Kakadu National Park is teeming with wildlife, home to important Aboriginal rock art sites, and takes in diverse and exotic landscape." butttontext="" buttontarget="" buttonurl="" video="" slidecontentoverride="" heading="River cruising" subtitle="" introtext="" captionlink="" captionlinktext="" darkenimage="false" headingoverride="" renderh1="true"][/carousel]

Whether it’s wildlife spotting, fishing or just relaxing on the picturesque waterways, taking a river cruise is a great way to get close to nature. Cruise the Katherine, Mary, Adelaide, East and South Alligator Rivers and explore plunging gorges, serene billabongs and lush wetlands that just can’t be appreciated (or reached) by land.

By the light of the night sky

Indigenous Australians were arguably the world’s first astronomers, and night cruises on Kakadu’s famous Yellow Water Billabong give great insight into aboriginal mythology and history. Katherine Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park is part of a 13 gorge system where boats cruise between sheer cliffs and sandy freshwater beaches taking in views of ancient Aboriginal rock paintings.

When they say ‘Jump!’

In 1971 the Australian saltwater crocodile, believed to be facing extinction, was declared a protected species, but today huge numbers of crocs roam the waterways of the Northern Territory. With the help of experienced guides you can learn about these magnificent creatures, and watch them leap from the water for food… from the safety of the boat, of course.


Fishing is a favourite pastime of both locals and visitors to the Territory’s rivers. Cruise boats take keen anglers – novice and ‘pro’ alike – along the South Alligator River, Shady Camp and Adelaide Rivers. From February to May barramundi congregate for the wet-season’s feed, while from June to November Corroboree Billabong, Hardy’s Lagoon and Shady Camp (upstream) are dense with silver tail dancing barramundi, saratoga, tarpon, and sleepy cod.

Keep an eye out

Rich with local flora and fauna, local waterways are home to wild buffalo, jabiru, white-breasted sea eagles and brolgas. The birdlife around the water lily-lined billabongs is truly spectacular and twitchers will revel in the myriad bird species that call the Territory’s rivers and wetlands home.