Cooinda and the Yellow Waters wetlands are found just off the Kakadu Highway in Kakadu National Park. The accommodation complex is a few kilometres from the boat ramp where cruises leave for a trip along the South Alligator river to see a superb variety of wildlife. When water is scarce in the dry season, animals and birds migrate to available water sources in billabongs and rivers. It's a great opportunity to see otherwise elusive creatures.
Get up early for the first cruise of the day - it's worth the effort. Watch the mist rise over the mirror-still river and as the seasons turn in late September and October, the morning sky can darken with flocks of magpie-geese overhead. You'll see water buffalo come down to drink. Pink water lillies blossom next to spiky pandanus and large crocodiles laze in still waters. Bird-watchers will be delighted with the number of species on show along the banks of the river.
Things to do in Kakadu National Park
Bowali Visitors Centre - for visitor displays on habitats in Kakadu. Open 8am to 5pm
Mamukala Wetlands - an enclosed observation platform on the edge of the wetlands. Spectacular when the magpie geese arrive in the September-October.
Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre - displays on Aboriginal culture in the region. Open 9am to 5 pm
Yellow Water - a refuge for wildlife that changes dramatically with the seasons. Can be explored by boat cruise or boardwalk.
Maguk - monsoon rainforest that leads to a plunge pool and waterfall. Dry season only.
Gunlom - a waterfall and plunge pool with walks through stone country.
Yurmikmik Walking Tracks - a series of creeks waterfalls and lookout
Ubirr Art Site - Aboriginal rock art site walk with views over the Nardab floodplain. Wonderful variety of rock art and explanatory panels.
Bardedjilidji Walk - a walk through layered sandstone, pillars and caves.
East Alligator River - that forms the border between Kakadu and Arnhem Land. Explore the river with a boat cruise.
Nanguluwur Art Site Walk - stroll through peaceful woodlands to see a gallery of Aboriginal rock art.
Gubara Pools Walk - woodlands, sandstone cliffs and shady monsoon forest pools
Nourlangie Rock Art Site Walk - explore the ancient Aboriginal shelter and exceptional Aboriginal rock art, helpfully explained with interpretive signs.
Anbangbang Billabong - at the base of Nourlangie Rock, that is a small wetland haven for waterbirds during the dry season
Mirrai Lookout - on top of a platform which provides views over the woodlands of central Kakadu
Jim Jim Falls & Twin Falls Gorge - a 4WD track to a plunge pool, waterfall and gorge surrounded by spectacular cliffs. You may need to swim to see Twin Falls. Accessible in dry season - but can be seen from the air as dramatic falls during the wet season.
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Darwin, Kakadu and the Top End