Exploring Australia’s Top End – Crocosaurus Cove & Kakadu National Park

As I slowly tick off my Australia travel bucket list, Darwin located in the Northern Territory was one of the final places I needed to experience. Through working in travel, and by following many social media influencers for the past couple years; I have been intrigued by the landscapes and natural attractions that are present in Darwin. With that it only made sense that with having a week off work, I’d make the trip North to visit Darwin!

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Twin Falls, Kakadu National Park

Darwin City – Crocosaurus Cove

My adventure in Darwin began Monday morning as I made my way along Mitchell Street exploring all the towns’ shops and cafes. The sun was shining, and the temperature was a beautiful 30 degrees Celsius! This was quite a nice change from the crisp and cold 10-degree weather down in Melbourne. I made my way to the Backpackers World Travel shop to visit the team there, and they made sure to let me know about all the cool things to do while staying in Darwin! Before lunch I headed to the sundeck at the Youthshack to catch some rays as I waited for my tour around The Crocosaurus Cove.

Crocosaurus Cove located in the heart of Mitchell Street in Darwin and is the world’s largest display of Australian reptiles! In addition it is ‘home to the Cage of Death, the only cage in the world that brings you face to face with some of the largest Saltwater Crocodiles in captivity.’ Being one of the must-do activities when visiting Darwin, I couldn’t wait for my chance in the cage! After wandering the grounds of Crocosaurus Cove, I made my way to join the thousands of other risk-takers who have jumped into the Cage of Death.

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Entering the Cage of Death

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Hello Chopper!

“Operated by an over-head monorail and designed for 1 or 2 people per cage, the Cage of Death has you suspended above the crocs before being lowered into the pen to get an up close and personal look at these amazing reptiles.”

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Suspended over Chopper… dun dun dunnnn

The most memorable part of this experience was when I would do a flip and get a bit disorientated… leaving me being face to face with Chopper the crocodile; that sure gave me a fright!

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Crocodile Selfie!

Following the Cage of Death, I had the opportunity of facing yet another fear… holding a reptile… a baby crocodile to be exact! To be honest… I was more nervous about this than getting in the cage with the 4 metre crocodile!

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Pucker up mister!

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Where’d he go?

In the evening, I met up with a few work friends and we headed to Monsoons for dinner and drinks! It was the perfect ending to my adventurous thrilling day in Darwin! It was an early night as I had a 5AM wake-up call to catch my Wayoutback 4WD Dragonfly Top End Safari!

Wayoutback Australian Safaris – Darwin to Litchfield National Park

Bright and early in the morning I was picked up by the Wayoutback 16-seater 4WD bus to begin our journey through the Top End. As we made out way to Litchfield National Park our first stop of the day was visiting the Magnetic Termite mounds. Built by termites over thousands of years, the termite mounds are amazing architectural feats complete with arches, tunnels, chimneys, insulation and nursery chambers.

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Wangi Falls, Litchfield National Park

As we entered the park our first stop was at Wangi Falls. Here we had the opportunity to do a hike, go for a swim or head to the café for a drink. Wangi Falls is a beautiful swimming hole that presents with cascading waterfalls, as well as secret hideaway to your own private swimming pool amongst the rock-face.

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Within Litchfield National Park there are various other beautiful waterfalls and lookouts to appease the eyes of it’s visitors. To name a couple, Tolmer Falls and Florence Falls are two of the more popular sites to check out.

My highlight of Litchfield National Park was the Buley Rockholes. The Buley Rockhole is a series of waterfalls and rock-holes, where you will find your own spot to swim and relax.

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Buley Rockhole, Litchfield National Park

Following the rock pools we made our way along the 4WD track to our camp for the night at Point Stuart Camp. Our campsite for the evening had permanent tents with beds, a communal dining area and toilet/shower facilities only a short walk away!

Mary River National Park to Kakadu National Park

A sunrise Mary River Crocodile Cruise started our morning in the National Park. The Mary River region is an area with the highest concentration of saltwater crocodiles found in the world! Along the cruise had the opportunity of spotting various different birds, and crocodiles!

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Mary River Wetlands Cruise

Following the cruise we began our off-roading journey into Kakadu National Park where we were to be visiting Twin Falls and Jim Jim Falls (only 4WD accessible).

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To get to Twin Falls, we had to travel by a 4-wheel drive track, a boat shuttle service and finally a rocky walking track and boardwalk! It seems like quite a mission… but I can guarantee it is worth the trip! Once we arrived at Twin Falls we had the chance to relax on the sandy banks and enjoy the view of the falls!

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Twin Falls, Kakadu National Parl

The next stop (and my personal highlight of the entire trip) was to Jim Jim Falls! To get to Jim Jim Falls there was more 4-wheel driving and when we arrived you have to walk through monsoon forest and over boulders. This will inevitably take you to the waterfall and plunge pool, which is surrounded, by 150 metre cliffs.

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Jim Jim Falls, Kakadu National Park

A short swim across the plunge pool and you will find yourself underneath the falls, getting an amazing massage on your back by the cascading waterfall! This is a travel moment I will never forget!

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Arriving just after sunset, we made our way to our campsite for the night located within Kakadu National Park. After a long day of 4WDing and exploring, it was an early night for the group!

Kakadu National Park To Darwin

It was the final day of our Wayoutback Dragonfly 4WD Safari in the Top End of Australia. Today had a more relaxed itinerary planned as we made our way back through to Darwin. The main highlight of this day was visiting Ubirr and the rock art sites.

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Ubirr Rock Art

“Ubirr is within the East Alligator region of Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory of Australia, and is known for its rock art. It consists of a group of rock outcrops on the edge of the Nadab floodplain where there are several natural shelters that have a collection of Aboriginal rock paintings, some of which are many thousands of years old.”

We spent the afternoon viewing the various rock art sites, as well as enjoying the view of Kakadu National Park from the Ubirr rocky lookout.

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Ubirr Lookout of Kakadu National Park

Following Ubirr, we began our journey back to Darwin. Along the way we stopped at the infamous Kakadu National Park entrance sign to capture one last photo to remember the amazing trip we just had!

The last five days spent in the Top End are some that I won’t ever forget! A big thanks to Crocosaurus Cove, the Youthshack and Wayoutback Australian Safaris for showing me the magic found in Darwin and it’s surroundings! This is not goodbye – I will definitely be back to explore some more!

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Until next adventure!

– s.clarkey

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