Discover natural limestone caves at Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park in Katherine, Northern Territory.
The caves, located 27km south of Katherine, were formed millions of years ago. They are easily reached by the Stuart Highway, with the caves themselves a short walk along a dirt path from the visitors centre.
To see the Cutta Cutta Caves requires joining a guided tour. The tours run hourly from May to October – 9am, 10am, 11am, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm.
Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park is home to five species of bats, including the rare Ghost and Horseshoe bats. Bats are frequently seen during the cave tours, as are spiders and even snakes.
The tour of Cutta Cutta Caves runs for approximately one hour and goes 15 metres below the surface into the heart of the cave systems. There are some tight spots and the air gets stale and humid. I suggest bringing water.
Swim underneath a picturesque waterfall at Leliyn (Edith Falls) Nitmiluk National Park.
Leliyn (Edith Falls) is located on the western side of Nitmiluk National Park, a 60km drive north of Katherine along the Stuart Highway. It is easiest to access when driving between Kakadu National Park and the town of Katherine as a stop over.
There are campsites available, and the bush setting combined with the stunning waterfall make it a suburb spot to spend the night. There is also a an excellent kiosk where we had some fantastic fresh sandwiches, scones and shakes.
Leliyn (Edith Falls) is extremely well maintained and easy to access. The carpark is located at the end of a sealed road, and there are excellent bathroom and picnic / BBQ facilities in the picnic grounds next to the car park.
The swimming pool at the base of Leliyn (Edith Falls) is also very easy to access via a short path from the carpark. It is open year-round, however may be closed to swimming at times between November through to April.
There are no lifeguards at Edith Falls, so swim with caution. Lots of people brought their own pool noodles to make swimming easier, and there were also some for sale at the kiosk.
If you enjoy bushwalking, there is the challenging 2.6km Leliyn Trail loop walk, which offers the chance to swim in the upper pool of Leliyn half way around the trail.
There is also the longer 9km return walk to Sweetwater Pool, a tranquil swimming hole.
Read more about visiting Leliyn (Edith Falls) Nitmiluk National Park
Top Things To Do In The Dry Season Kakadu National Park, NT
Spot wildlife, swim in waterfalls and see ancient Aboriginal rock art. There are so many incredible things to do in Kakadu National Park.
Three hours’ drive from Darwin, Kakadu is Australia’s biggest national park. Covering nearly 20,000 square kilometres, Kakadu National Park is World Heritage listed for both its cultural and natural values.
During the dry season (May to October) the weather is temperate and less humid. During the wet season (November to April) many attractions are closed due to flooding, however the waterfalls are in their full glory!
See ancient Aboriginal rock art
There are more than 5,000 Aboriginal rock art sites in the park. The Bininj/Mungguy people have called Kakadu home for some 65,000 years. Aboriginal rock paintings, dating to prehistoric times, can be viewed at sites such as Nourlangie, Nanguluwur and Ubirr.
Read more about viewing Aboriginal rock art at Nourlangie.
Cruise on the Yellow Water Billabong
Yellow Water Cruises operates year-round, up to six cruises a day of 90 or 120 minute duration. Sunrise and sunset are the most popular times of day and advance bookings are recommended.
The wildlife seen on the cruise varies depending on the time of the day. Saltwater crocs are plentiful, as are thousands of spectacular birds. A cruise on the Yellow Water Billabong is right at the top of our list of things to do in Kakadu.
Head up to Cahills Crossing viewing area on the western bank of the East Alligator River to safely watch saltwater crocodiles in the wild.
Hike to Jim Jim Falls
The 200m high Jim Jim Falls are spectacular even in the dry season. It’s quite the difficult hike to get there, but the reward at the end is well worth the effort involved. Seeing Jim Jim falls either by land or air is one of the top things to do in Kakadu National Park.
Learn about life in Kakadu
Visit the Warradjan Cultural Centre near Cooinda Lodge. Interactive and educational exhibits in the centre were developed by the Bininj/Mungguy traditional owners and bring to life tens of thousands of years of human history in Kakadu. The gift shop is excellent and there is also a cafe here.
There’s a range of accommodation available at Kakadu, from hotels to campgrounds. We suggest one night around Jabiru (we stayed at the Mercure Crocodile Kakadu Hotel) to see attractions in this region such as Cahill’s Crossing, Mamaluka Wetlands and Ubirr, and then one or two nights at Cooinda Lodge, which is at the edge of the Yellow Water Billabong and close to attractions including Nourlangie, Jim Jim Falls and Maguk.
Cooinda Lodge offers camping facilities as well as hotel-style rooms, and is also an excellent place to stop for a meal, with their restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. We had lunch here most days.
Tips for visiting Kakadu National Park
A 4WD is needed to access several of the sites, including the waterfalls.
The only grocery store is extremely limited in stock and is located in Jabiru.
Check the access report daily before setting out to visit any attractions.
Pack sturdy hiking shoes and bring refillable water bottles, sunscreen and hats, even in winter.
The attractions are far apart and a lot of driving is needed to reach them. Plan a schedule for what you want to visit and see the attractions close together at the same time.
A Kakadu National Park pass is required to visit. You can buy one online here. The pass is valid for 7 days.
Yellow Water Billabong Cruise Kakadu National Park
Enjoy wildlife and dramatic scenery on the Indigenous-owned Yellow Water Billabong Cruise in Kakadu National Park.
Yellow Water Cruises operates year-round, up to six cruises a day of 90 or 120 minute duration. Sunrise and sunset are the most popular times of day and advance bookings are recommended. The wildlife seen on the cruise varies depending on the time of the day.
The cruises take guests deep into the wetlands to see Kakadu’s spectacular variety of wildlife. About one third of Australia’s bird species are represented in Kakadu National Park, with at least 60 species found in the wetlands.
Commonly seen birds include Whistling Ducks and Magpie Geese, with eagles, Jabirus and Brolgas also spotted.
There are also plenty of crocodiles who float past somewhat eerily silently, and buffalo on the floodplains. For more information on wildlife and nature in Kakadu click here.
We took a sunrise cruise in June. The early morning Yellow Water Billabong Cruise is freezing so pack jackets and also bring breakfast or snacks.
Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel is located in the township of Jabiru, inside Kakadu National Park. This hotel is the perfect base to explore Kakadu.
We stayed at the Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel during our recent trip to the Northern Territory. The hotel is located towards the northern end of the park, making it the ideal base for attractions such as Ubirr, Cahills Crossing & Mamukala Wetlands.
The Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel features spacious rooms that area ideal for families, a shaded tropical pool in the centre and the Escarpment restaurant and bar which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and uses locally sourced ingredients.
We enjoyed a daily included breakfast and also dined in the restaurant several times in the evenings. Some nights are a la carte and others buffet if there is a tour group staying at the hotel.
A few minutes walk away is the Jabiru town centre which includes a small supermarket – the only supermarket in Kakadu.
The Mamukala Wetlands Walk in Kakadu National Park is a short walk that showcases an astonishing variety of bird life.
Mamukala Wetlands Walk is a short, flat walk from the car park to an observation platform where large numbers of magpie geese, kites, comb-crested jacanas, cormorants, willie wagtails, purple swamp hens, finches and kingfishers can be seen in a billabong, making this one of the best birdwatching areas in Kakadu.
Kakadu is home to one third of Australia’s bird species, and many of whom are endemic to this region.
The viewing platform is covered and has seats for sitting quietly and watching the birds and wildlife. It can be accessed by wheelchair.
See some of the world’s oldest and most impressive rock art along the Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) main gallery and shelter walk, and enjoy spectacular views of the Arnhem Land escarpment.
The stunning rock art at Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) documents life from 20,000 years ago to the first contact with European explorers.
Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) is one reason why Kakadu is World Heritage-listed for outstanding cultural values.
Take the 1.5 km gallery and shelter walk through what is essentially an outdoor cultural museum where the paintings, shelters and artefacts embedded in the rock present traditional ways of life for the local indigenous tribes.
The main rock art site on the walk is the Anbangbang gallery and shelter. There are a number of artistic styles spanning various time periods in the gallery that cover a range of topics including representations of creation beings, such as Namarrkon (lightning man), depictions of European sailing ships from first contact with white people and x-ray art of animals and fish.
Further along the walk is the Kunwarddewardde lookout over the Arnhem Land escarpment.
The walk to the main gallery is open all year round and is wheelchair accessible.
Jim Jim Falls are the tallest waterfalls in Kakadu National Park. Visit them by foot in the dry season or view them by air in the wet.
At 200m high, the mighty Jim Jim Falls are also bigger than all of the waterfalls at Litchfield and Nitmiluk National Parks in the Northern Territory.
Jim Jim Falls and nearby Twin Falls are special places for their Aboriginal custodians. They believe that Nayuhyungki, the creation ancestors, travelled across this area.
During the summer months the falls are only able to be seen by air, however, during the dry season, it’s possible to walk through monsoon forest and clamber over boulders to reach the base of the falls.
Before starting on the drive to Jim Jim Falls, check the daily access report to ensure they are open to visitors.
It’s not an easy journey to make. The 50km road into the start of the walk is 4WD access only, is unsealed and often corrugated. It is a narrow, winding road that involves driving across a creek with a firm concrete base that can be more than 0.4 metres deep. A snorkel is highly recommended – we managed the drive without one but it was a hairy drive.
At the car part, there are basic toilet facilities and picnic tables.
From the car park, it’ is a 2km return walk to a deep pool. 2km might not sound like much but it’s a really tough walk, particularly towards the end with massive sharp boulders to navigate. Allow a least an hour in each direction. The rocks and boulders can be extremely slippery, so sturdy footwear is essential.
The plunge pool at the base of Jim Jim falls is extremely deep and cold. Drownings have occurred here, and swimming is not recommended.
Bring energy foods and snacks, plus several litres of water. Avoid walking in the hottest part of the day.
While there are generally no crocs in the waterfall, be aware that there may be crocs in the area at all times so be cautious and follow directions on the signs.