Kakadu National Park, Jabiru, Australia (with Map & Photos)

Kakadu National Park is located 171 km east of Darwin, in the Northern Territory. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its archaeological, natural, and ethnological components are under strict protection because Kakadu National Park is unique and unrepeatable!

Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park covers an area of ​​20,000 sq. km, it is located about 150 km east of the city of Darwin. This is Australia's largest national park. It also includes the South Alligator River, where a particularly large population of crocodiles lives, and various areas of the park include wastelands, eucalyptus, and rainforests.

Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park

The history of the park and its name

It would be logical to assume that the park is named after the colorful cockatoo parrot, but this is far from the case. The park got its name due to the incorrect pronunciation by Europeans of the name of the language spoken by the Aboriginal tribe living in this territory. Their language was called Gagadju (Gagadzhu), but the European ear heard “Kakadu”, which gave the name of the area, and later to the National Park.

Kakadu National Park was founded in 1981, but only after the adoption of the law “On the Protection of the Environment and Natural Diversity” in 1999, the entire territory was declared a National Park. Today, its area is 19,804 km². The park, 200 km long from north to south and 100 km from west to east, has clear boundaries created by nature itself. Steep cliffs, whose height reaches 400-500 meters, border the reserve as if protecting it from destructive winds and prying eyes.

Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park

Flora and fauna

A distinctive feature of the Kakadu National Park is that its nature looks as if no human has ever set foot there. The territory of the Park has not only a unique structure of the earth's crust but also soils that are unusual in their biological and chemical composition. An extensive water network covers the entire territory of the reserve, thanks to which its flora and fauna amaze with their diversity.

Over 1,700 plant species, 280 bird species, 117 reptile species, 77 freshwater fish species, 1,000 insect species, and 60 mammal species have been recorded in Kakadu National Park. And in the waters of the rivers Noarlanga Creek and Majella Creek, you can meet both freshwater crocodiles that are safe for humans and giant saltwater combed crocodiles that terrify all the inhabitants and visitors of the park.

Two species of crocodiles live here - Johnson's crocodiles live in fresh water and feed mainly on fish, and combed crocodiles are the largest reptiles in the world that can live in both fresh and salt water. In length, they can reach 6 m. These crocodiles are extremely dangerous, it happened that they killed careless tourists.

Here you can also see barramundi - lungfish, the length of which reaches 2 meters. Not to mention the frogs! In the park, scientists counted about 22 species of these amphibians. The most famous of them are the bullfrog, marbled frog, green tree frog, and frog toad.

Against the background of the lush green vegetation of the park, light brown termite mounds, reaching 6-8 meters in height, are striking. Termites build their structures out of saliva, earth, and shredded wood. These structures are not inferior to brick in terms of strength. Traveling through the park, you can meet entire meadows of termite mounds.

The picturesque picture is complemented by another attraction of the park - a cascade of waterfalls Jim Jim, Maguk, and Twins, which are breathtaking when you look at them. They dry up towards the end of the dry season to reappear during the rains.

Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park


Before the arrival of the Australians on these lands, about 2 thousand indigenous people lived in Kakadu National Park. Today, 500 natives permanently live and work here. They are direct descendants of various tribes that lived on the territory of the reserve more than 40 thousand years ago. According to legend, the “first people” appeared in Kakadu National Park back in the “time of dreams” (the period of the creation of the world), when our ancestors came out of the bowels of the earth, who, having wandered around the world, plunged into the rocks, leaving only their prints on the surface. The natives are sure that the souls of their ancestors still live in the southern part of the reserve, called the "country of disease", and therefore they warn tourists to step carefully and not wake the sleeping gods. This story has a rational explanation. When the first conquerors came to these lands, many of them died from diseases,

In general, the natives keep many stories and legends that are passed down from generation to generation. They are happy to share them with tourists, leaving, at the same time, a place for riddles and hints. A representative of the Manilacarr clan says: “Our land has a great history. Sometimes we talk a little more. Come and listen to our stories, look around our lands. Perhaps it will remain in your heart. And if you want more, then come back.”

Unique rock art

When visiting Kakadu National Park, travelers should definitely see the drawings of the Ubirr, Nourlangie, and Nanguluwur caves. Recognized as outstanding examples of Australian Aboriginal rock art, they are rightfully the main attraction of the park.

Rock paintings open the door to a life full of secrets and local aborigines of different times - from hunters and gatherers of prehistoric times to our contemporaries. An interesting “X-ray style” is an original feature of their drawings: the artists conveyed not only the appearance of people and animals but also their internal organs. Rock paintings were created for various reasons:

  • Hunting - images of animals were bright, and catchy, to exaggerate their beauty and strength, guaranteeing a successful hunt to those who came into contact with the spirit of the painted animal.
  • Sacred meaning - some drawings depict the stages of mysterious religious ceremonies.
  • History - the caves are dominated by drawings showing the history of the creation of the world by the Spirits of Ancestors.
  • Witchcraft and sorcery - drawings could be used for ritual purposes to control events and influence people's lives.

It is also interesting that for the natives, the process of creating rock art was more important than its outcome. This is confirmed by the fact that many of the drawings are made on top of the old ones.

The images show that people appeared here more than 50 thousand years ago. But the natives treat these studies with irony. In the Varrajan tribe, they say: “People came to these lands and found ocher, stone tools, and coals from a fire. They said that the natives lived here 50 thousand years ago. But at least the natives know that they have been living in this country since it appeared.”

Kakadu National Park Map