Darwin Kimberley Kakadu - Australia

Darwin

With a population around 80,000 Darwin is little bigger that a moderate sized town but comes with big city style in keeping with its status as capital of the Northern Territory. This vibrant new-world feel comes courtesy, in the main, from the re-building that followed a cyclone on Christmas Day 1974. Those who have travelled up from the south, mostly during the dry winter conditions, find that the warm evenings bring street side restaurants and cafes to life in a way not often seen, even in the height of summer in the cooler zones. To make the most of Darwin’s waterside location enjoy a meal at one of the marina cafes – there are some excellent places at Cullen Bay Marina. Darwin’s location made it a strategic base for the Allies during World War II and a large military presence is still maintained to protect Australia’s most vulnerable border There are several wildlife and nature parks within 50 km south of Darwin with animals, swimming holes and walkways including the award winning ‘Territory Wildlife Park’.

Kakadu National Park

Located 153 km east of Darwin, Kakadu National Park has a wealth of natural wonders including over 1,000 plant species, 25 species of frog, 60 types of mammals (25 of these being bats),75 types of reptile and 280 bird species. Much of Kakadu is Aboriginal Land leased to the Government for use as a National Park. There are several aboriginal settlements within the park and dating of historical sites has their occupation of this land dating back over 23,000 years.

The landscape of the Kakadu National Park changes dramatically with the seasons, know in this region as ‘The Wet’ (summer) and ‘The Dry’ (winter). Billabongs, lakes and waterfalls can barely contain themselves with both water and wildlife during ‘the wet’ and some tracks within the park may become impassable. Conversely, during ‘the dry’ streams and waterfalls may be completely dry and waterholes little more that puddles.

The Kimberley

The gateways to the Kimberley region are Broome in the west and Kununurra in the east. State highway 1 joins these towns – a distance of over 1000kms. But for the more adventurous the Gibb River Road attracts those wanting a four wheel drive experience. Alternatively fly into Kununurra from all major Australian cities travelling via Perth or Darwin.

200kms south of Kununurra and 55 kilometres off the main highway, accessible by 4 wheel drive only is the Purnululu National Park where you will find the intriguing beehive like, domed shaped hills of the Bungle Bungles. (The park is closed during the wet season January to March but scenic flights over the area from Kununurra or Halls Creek operate year round).

350 million years ago the Kimberley Region lay beneath the waters of a vast ocean and at Geikie Gorge, Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek National Parks, located north to north east of Fitzroy Crossing, you can see the spectacular remnants of an ancient coral reef thought to be around 1000 km long and more than 20 km wide.