Yellow Water is a landlocked billabong brimming with native flora and fauna and is one of World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park’s best-known landmarks.
See the park’s wildlife on board a Yellow Water Cruise or during a walk along the boardwalks on the water’s edge.
Known as Ngurrungurrudjba, the billabong is located near the small settlement of Cooinda. It’s home to crocodiles, wild horses, buffalo and other wildlife. Get out onto Yellow Water as part of a boat cruise for a closer look at a rich variety of wildlife. The vast range of resident birdlife includes jacana, egrets, jabiru, sea eagles, magpie geese and many other native species.
Stroll the boardwalk to study the Paperbark forests, pandanus and fresh water mangroves that line the shore. The surface of the billabong is dotted with beautiful pink and white waterlilies. When the waters recede, take the walk across the floodplains to a viewing platform on Home Billabong – a great place to take in an unforgettable Top End sunset.
Call in to the Warradjan Cultural Centre building to find out more about Aboriginal culture.
An entry fee is required to enter Kakadu National Park.
Indicative Prices tickets from $95 to $124
- Coach Parking
How do I get to Yellow Water?
From Darwin the drive is 305km and will take you 3 hours and 10 minutes. Follow Route 36 (Arnhem Highway) until you reach Jabiru and continue on the Kakadu Highway until you reach your destination.
What makes Yellow Water special?
Yellow Water (Ngurrungurrudjba)is Kakadu’s most famous wetland and contains one third of Australia’s bird species. Its abundant wildlife and beautiful views make it a fantastic place to stay, explore or take a cruise. Yellow Water is part of the South Alligator River floodplain and home to some impressive saltwater crocodiles.
When is the best time to visit Yellow Water?
Most people prefer to arrive in the dry season, from May to October, when the days are sunny and the nights are cool. The average daily maximum is about 32°C.
November to April is the wet season, when humidity climbs and daily maximums can hit the high 30s. This brings balmy evenings and spectacular thunderstorms, which is part of what makes the NT wonderful.
How do I get around?
All of the Yellow Water attractions are accessible from a 2WD vehicle.
What things are there to see on the way to Yellow Water?
This dam was built in the 1950s as part of a Northern Territory rice project. The project failed, but the dam is still there and has become a fantastic spot to see wildlife, to enjoy a picnic and to reflect on the power of nature.
Window on the Wetlands
The Window on the Wetlands Visitor Centre overlooks the Adelaide River floodplains and is approximately 65km from Darwin or a 50 minute drive.
Can I camp at Yellow Water?
You can camp at Cooinda Camping Ground, which offers a range of camping options from unpowered and powered sites to budget cabin accommodation. The campground is located beside the Yellow Water Billabong. Cooinda is a great place to set-up camp for a few days as there is a petrol station, general store, shaded swimming pool and bistro-style dining.
What are the best things to see and do at Yellow Water?
Take a Yellow Water Cruise
An absolute must-do on any trip to Kakadu National Park. The Yellow Water boat cruises operate throughout the year and the scenery is spectacular. The morning and evening are the best time to experience the billabong and the abundant wildlife that inhabit the area.
Take a walk, look & wander on the Yellow Water boardwalk
The Yellow Water boardwalk and billabong walk are accessible from July to November after the wet season rains have receded. From here you can safely spot crocodiles surfacing and cruising around or sunning themselves on the banks.
Take a guided tour of Kakadu’s stunning sites
This program with rangers and traditional owners runs in the dry season months from April to September.
There’s a whole range of activities here. You can learn traditional weaving and painting with Aboriginal artists, explore wildlife habitats all while rangers point out significant plants to both the ecosystem and the traditional owners. You can also see rock art and ancient Aboriginal campsites.
For more information, phone the Bowali Visitor Centre in Jabiru on 08 8938 1120.
Where else can I go from Yellow Water?
Depending on which direction you came from, there are many other attractions off the Kakadu Hwy within Kakadu National Park.
If heading northeast on the Kakadu Highway, Nourlangie, with its spectacular walks and impressive rock art, is approximately a 35 minute drive from Yellow Water.
If heading south, Maguk Waterfall (Barramundi Gorge) is approximately 63km. Leave plenty of travel time as the last stretch of road is 4WD only. The estimated travel time is approximately 2.5 hours.