Kakadu National Park – Photo Essay Part 1

A lot of people think the majority of Australia is a whole lot of nothing, but I hope these photos show you that at least a part of that whole lot of nothing is actually something that is quite awesome. After I took the Ghan train through the Australian Outback I jumped in my rental car in Darwin in the Northern Territory and drove to Kakadu National Park.

Kakadu National Park occupies 20,000 sq kms which most Australia travel guides will tell you is just a small chunk of an additional 100,000 sq kms of land in the Northern Territory known as Arnhem Land which is an Aboriginal reserve which you actually need a permit just to visit. Kakadu however is open to the public with purchase of a park pass and is home to gorgeous landscapes, original rock drawings, large crocodiles fresh water and salt water, countless types of gorgeous birds, fish like the Barramundi and a whole lot more.

I’ll be writing a lot more about Kakdu National Park and the Northern Territory soon, but first I hope you enjoy my photo essay.

The beginning of the winding road that takes you through Kakadu National Park. Up until a few years ago this road didn’t have a speed limit but recently 130 kms per hour signs have been posted. This is still extremely fast if you ask me. It’s almost like Australia’s version of the autobahn.

This photo hasn’t been edited in any way. Taken near the Nourlangie Rock Art site I think this photo encompasses the way the park makes you feel. Breathtaking, spiritual, or whatever it may be it’s hard to visit this place without it leaving its mark on you.

Life grows everywhere in the park even on rocks.


The rock drawings throughout the park are made from 4 main colours white (from clay) , red (from core and often blood), yellow (from limestone) and black (from charcoal).

Self portrait ruining the beautiful view. In the distance to the right you can see where Arnhem land begins. Not that I have seen the plains of Africa but this landscape definitely made me think of them.

Crocodile safety signs were posted everywhere. Fresh water crocodile however are a lot more timid than their salt water cousins however for me it was hard to tell between the two when we saw them. I was told to jump in the water and if it swam away it was most likely a fresh water croc but if it came at me I would know it was a salt water croc…. great piece of advice. ;)

Sunrise over the South Aligator River. No Aligators are found here however, when the area was first discovered it was named inappropriately of course what they saw instead were Crocodiles.

If you look closely you can see two Jabiru birds (a type of stork) and sitting on the sign on the far right is a “Flying Kite” which is a raptor. In Kakadu there are so many birds flying around everywhere it wasn’t hard to get different birds like this in one shot. The two Jabiru’s are actually walking in a parking lot that was still flooded from the wet season.

“Happy Hour” when the sun is just right as the sunrises over the South Aligator River.

Crocodile! I had been on a tour the previous day on the East Alligator river and had only seen a small fresh water crocodile so I was excited to see this large salt water crocodile in the South Alligator river, as was the rest of the boat, good thing they are made to not tip over easily.

I have a lot of great photos from my few days spent in Kakadu National Park, so stay tuned for more photo essays from my trip and a video or two coming up soon.

Have you ever visited Kakadu National Park? What did you think of it?

Special thanks to Northern Territory Tourism for arranging my tour through the Northern Territory. All photos taken with my Nikon D5100 using a 17mm – 55mm f2.8 lens (thanks Nikon!)

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  • Reply
    May 23, 2012 at 3:25 am

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane! We camped in Kakadu Park in 1987. It was a truly magical place. We spent a lot of time hiking round the paintings, climbed Nouralangie Rock, did a cruise of Yellow Waters billabong, a day trip on the East Alligator River, drove across the East alligator Crossing to Arnhem Land and did a flight over Kakadu. I lived every minute of it and would go back in a flash.

    • Reply
      May 26, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      Glad I could remind you of great memories :) Check out my second series of photos posted now too :)

  • Reply
    The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen)
    May 22, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    This really does look beautiful. The only thing that really scares me about Australia is the crocs … I guess I wouldn’t mind seeing one in the wild, as long as I was a safe distance away!

    • Reply
      May 26, 2012 at 3:11 pm

      We were always a safe distance away and the crocs we saw were actually really slow and couldn’t be bothered with us, but I wouldn’t go jumping in the water with them ;)

  • Reply
    May 16, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Just looking at that water makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up after seeing the croc signs. Always wanted to visit Kakadu – thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      May 26, 2012 at 3:11 pm

      You definitely need to check it out sometime! :)

  • Reply
    Raymond @ Man On The Lam
    May 15, 2012 at 1:04 am

    Dagnabbit. I love cleaning my fish near the water’s edge. :)

    • Reply
      May 15, 2012 at 11:46 pm

      hahaha let me know how that works out for you Raymond ;)

  • Reply
    Alexa Meisler
    May 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    You hardly notice the crocodile unless you look closely! And don’t worry your self-portrait didn’t ruin the view. It’s still looks amazing!

    • Reply
      May 15, 2012 at 12:17 am

      Thanks Alexa!
      I was amazed at how carefree the Crocdiles seemed to be. In my head I thought that would of been thrashing around like crazy and jumping at the boat, but alas they weren’t haha

  • Reply
    A travel blogger is not on vacation... | GeoPosted
    May 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    […] Cailin (Travel Yourself) takes a trip to Kakadu National Park in Australia. […]

  • Reply
    May 14, 2012 at 10:55 am

    “I was told to jump in the water ” – who did tell you this? :)

    • Reply
      May 15, 2012 at 12:16 am

      haha a few people actually. Its just a funny thing they say to tourists.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Awesome national park. Definitely adding to my Australia list.

    • Reply
      May 15, 2012 at 12:15 am

      It was pretty great Gaelyn! Let me know what you think of it when you make it there! :)

  • Reply
    Ryan at Travel and Graphs
    May 12, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    I can admit to being one of those people who thought there was a whole lot of nothing in this region of Australia, but these photos made me feel ridiculous for thinking that. Seeing crocs in the wild is so exciting!

    • Reply
      May 13, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Don’t worry Ryan, I was kind of thinking the same thing too before I got there! It was really awesome to see the crocs too, I was like a little kid all over again haha Thanks for the comment!

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