After one of the wettest wet seasons for years, Kakadu is looking in perfect condition for the forthcoming peak ‘dry’ season. With upgraded accommodation, new festivals, free guided tours and a bumper barramundi season predicted, there has never been a better time to experience the Top End.
Kakadu Tourism – the region’s largest hotel and tour operator – has announced a range of exciting initiatives to make visits to Kakadu even more attractive in 2017.
Kakadu’s famous Crocodile Hotel (aka ‘The Croc’ or Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel) is following up earlier refurbishments with a further upgrade of 51 rooms and the addition of distinctive Indigenous styling in all rooms with bed runners and cushions designed by local artists Timothy Djandjomerr and David Cameron.
The project builds on The Croc’s appointment last year of an Indigenous ‘artist in residence’, who works with other Indigenous artists to create artworks at the hotel’s Ochre Art Gallery, which showcases one of the largest collections of traditional Aboriginal art in the Top End and the largest range of Kakadu and Arnhemland art in the country.
Native and tropical herbs and vegetables are now being sourced from The Croc’s own herb gardens and green house, and are featured in dishes at the hotel’s Escarpment Restaurant.
Cooinda is also upgrading both its Lodge accommodation and its camp ground, with safari-style tented accommodation being made available from late June for the dry season. Highly popular in 2016, the tents are fully made-up for arriving guests and provide comfortable bedding and facilities. The small tent ‘village’ is set in a beautiful shady area of the campgrounds with access to quality share cooking and bathroom/laundry facilities.
Cooinda will also launch enhanced food choices, with a retro style ‘Too Deadly Fish & Chip’ van operating to provide fresh fish and chips with fast service, delivered in the traditional ‘newspaper’ style.
A bumper Yellow Water billabong season predicted
Special Yellow Water Fishing charters will be available throughout the season, and Cooinda General Manager Brett Skinner is predicting a bumper season for fishing enthusiasts due to the return of ‘traditional wet’ conditions this year. “Billabongs have had a great flush, and if we go on the results from the last similar wet, in 2012, anglers will be rewarded with brilliant Barramundi fishing conditions across the season,” he said.
Cooinda’s Yellow Water Cruises is on track to deliver its first solar powered boat later in the year, with one of the existing vessels modified to incorporate solar power. With Yellow Water Billabong being one of Australia’s most pristine waterways teeming with animal life, Yellow Water Cruises is committed to increasing its use of solar power across the fleet.
In addition to the annual festivals such as Mahbilil (September) and Kakadu Bird Week (October), Kakadu National Park will offer visitors a chance to explore Indigenous cuisine and influences during the first ever ‘A Taste of Kakadu’, an interactive food festival which will be held between 12 to 21 May 2017. The Festival will showcase Kakadu’s most famous produce, including barramundi, magpie goose, and the world’s first-ever super food, the Kakadu plum, as well as providing opportunities for visitors to interact with Kakadu’s local Indigenous people. The Festival will take the region’s ancient traditions and give them a modern twist. A full program will be available soon. More details: https://parksaustralia.gov.au/kakadu/taste/
Guided tours of Kakadu
Spirit of Kakadu 4WD Adventure tours will be operating again from June to take visitors to some of the National Park’s most spectacular natural attractions such as Jim Jim and Twin Falls. These tours provide a rich insight into the heritage and landscape of Kakadu and operate out of Cooinda daily during the dry season.
Free Ranger-guided tours are available daily during the dry season at some of Kakadu’s most significant rock art sites including Ubirr and Nourlangie. Park Rangers also offer slide shows and information sessions throughout the year.
The Warradjan and Bowali Cultural Centres are open all year round and provide an invaluable insight into the culture and story of Kakadu’s traditional owners, the Bininj and Mungguy people.