Darwin – Kakadu National Park – Katherine – Nitmiluk National Park – Batchelor – Litchfield National Park – Darwin
Cascading waterfalls, rugged escarpments, aboriginal rock art, giant crocodiles and exotic bird life; Australia’s Top End will change how you see the world.
Wind through the Adelaide and Mary River wetlands to World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. Here you can explore the freshwater billabongs and waterways which provide excellent opportunities for wildlife spotting, fishing, bushwalking and photography. Learn about the Territory’s pioneering history at Pine Creek before travelling to Katherine to explore the magnificent Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge. On your return to Darwin stop and explore the beauty of Litchfield National Park. You can do this ultimate drive on a fully sealed road in a two-wheel drive vehicle.
Darwin – Kakadu National Park
The rare and unspoiled beauty of Kakadu National Park is only a 3-hour drive from Darwin. On your way to the park, along the Arnhem Highway, there are several opportunities to see wildlife in their natural environment. Stop at Adelaide River and board a cruise to see huge saltwater crocodiles jump for food from the safety of a riverboat.
- Enjoy a fiery Darwin sunset onboard a harbour cruise or from one of the many restaurants, pubs and cafes along the waterfront.
- Browse through unique art and enjoy delicious international cuisine at the famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets (April – October).
- See saltwater crocodiles in their natural habitat onboard a jumping crocodile cruise on the Adelaide River, just 45 minutes from Darwin.
- Feed the young jumping crocs, or get up close and personal with a saltwater crocodile in the Cage of Death at Crocosaurus Cove.
Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park is World Heritage-listed for both its natural and cultural wealth. The park covers 19,000 square kilometres of dramatic landscapes, from towering escarpments and waterfalls to vast floodplains and savannah woodland. The wildlife in Kakadu is prolific with the park home to more than one third of Australia’s bird species and a quarter of Australia’s fish species. Kakadu also has some of the best and oldest examples of Aboriginal rock art in the country. The Nature’s Way takes in many of the park's major sites including Mamukala Wetlands, the Bowali Visitor Centre, the town of Jabiru, Nourlangie Rock, Jim Jim and Twin Falls, Cooinda and Gunlom.
- Learn about Kakadu National Park through the interactive displays at the Bowali Visitor Centre.
- Take a sunrise or sunset cruise on the Yellow Water Billabong to see crocodiles in their natural habitat, abundant birdlife and buffalo on the floodplains.
- Visit Ubirr and Nourlangie Rock for art galleries that date back 50,000 years.
- Fish one of Kakadu’s many waterways for the mighty Barramundi.
Kakadu – Katherine
Head south along the Stuart Highway to Pine Creek, a small town with a pioneering and gold mining history. Visit the National Trust Museum and wander around Pine Creek Railway Precinct, an important transport hub during the 1870’s mining boom and WWII. A further 90km down the road, Katherine is a great place to base yourself to explore Nitmiluk National Park. Take a dip in the Katherine Hot Springs – a series of clear pools fed by a natural thermal spring located on the banks of the Katherine River.
- Take a scenic flight or helicopter for a birds-eye view of the mighty Jim Jim and Twin Falls.
- Hike up to nature’s infinity pool at Gunlom Falls for a swim and magnificent views over Kakadu and Arnhem Land.
- Make the 1km journey through lush monsoon forest to discover a pristine waterfall and the beautiful plunge pools at Maguk.
Nitmiluk National Park
Just a 30km drive from the township of Katherine is the world-renowned Katherine Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park. Katherine Gorge is a network of 13 gorges carved by the Katherine River from billion-year-old sandstone country. Start the day at the Nitmiluk Visitor Centre for advice on the many ways you can experience the spectacular gorge. If you are feeling adventurous, hire a canoe and experience the gorge from a completely different perspective. Or, if you would rather kick back, relax and be guided comfortably through Katherine Gorge, check out one of the many boat cruises on offer.
- Stop at the Nitmiluk Visitor Centre to learn about the cultural and spiritual significance of the gorge.
- Experience the high cliffs of Katherine Gorge by canoe or cruise.
- Take a helicopter flight for an unforgettable experience. Some of these flights include exclusive landings at ancient rock art sites and spectacular spots to take a refreshing dip.
- Follow the marked-track over the sandstone plateau for a short walk, or embark on a multiday hike on the 60km Jatbula Trail.
- Stay at Cicada Lodge, a unique luxury property overlooking Katherine Gorge.
Katherine – Batchelor
Drive south of Katherine and make a stop at Elsey National Park near Mataranka. Relax in its famous thermal springs and explore the local heritage sites. The journey north through Katherine includes Leliyn (Edith Falls), where you can have a cooling swim in the huge, pandanus-fringed plunge pool fed by waterfalls. The area is also great for bushwalking – challenge yourself to walk the 2.6km steep rocky loop that is Leliyn Trail. Your reward is a refreshing swim in the upper pool of the falls halfway through the walk. From here, travel 220km north to Batchelor, gateway to the magnificent Litchfield National Park.
- Unwind with a relaxing dip in the natural Mataranka Thermal Pools, where the water stays a constant 34 degrees.
- Enjoy a cultural talk, dot painting, fire lighting or spear throwing at Top Didj Cultural Experience.
- Swim at Leilyn (Edith Falls), a pandanus-fringed plunge pool on the park’s western boundary.
Litchfield National Park – Darwin
Conclude your journey with a trip to Litchfield National Park, just 90km from Darwin city. Swim in the plunge pool at the base of Florence Falls, explore the surrounding monsoon rainforest and then relax in the rock pools at nearby Buley Rockhole. Picnic next to Wangi Falls, then drive to Tolmer Falls for sweeping valley views. On your way back to Darwin, stop at Berry Springs Nature Park for a bushwalk or cool off in one of the freshwater pools.
- Dive into the refreshing Buley Rockhole pools and absorb the sights and sounds of the bush around you.
- Take the boardwalk to a ‘graveyard’ of two-metre tall termite mounds.
- Plunge into the crystal clear waterholes beneath Florence and Wangi Falls.
- Take a short walk to the Tolmer Falls viewing platform.