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East of Darwin, Australia’s largest national park – Kakadu – covers around 20,000 square kilometres with a vast biodiversity that includes 33% of the country’s bird species and 25% of its fish species

The region’s varied landscapes extend from coast and estuaries in the north, through floodplains, billabongs and lowlands to rocky ridges and stone country in the south. Kakadu is considered a living cultural landscape – its traditional owners Bininj Mungguy have lived on and tended this country for more than 50,000 years. This exceptional natural beauty and ancient cultural heritage was recognised internationally in 1981 when Kakadu first appeared on the UNESCO World Heritage list. 

Kakadu National Park is a timeless place of extraordinary ecological and biological diversity, supporting  an astonishing array of endemic plants and animals. More than 2,000 plant species have been recorded – many of which have been used by local Aboriginal people for generations as bush foods, medicines and weaving materials.

Sugar gliders, brush-tailed phascogales and northern quolls are just some of the many small mammals that hide during the day in tree-hollows, while brown bandicoots shelter in logs or dense grass, emerging to search for food at night. Some mammals move between habitats in response to changing conditions. During the dry season, dusky rats shelter in the deep cracks of dry floodplain soils, yet when the monsoon rains arrive and flooding begins, they rats move into adjacent woodlands. Of the eight kinds of macropod (kangaroo) found in Kakadu, agile wallabies and antilopine wallaroos are the most common.

Around one-third of Australia’s bats are found in Kakadu. You can spot some of the smaller species flying at dusk to catch insects. The largest bats are flying-foxes, which roost during the day in large noisy colonies in mangroves, paperbark forests and monsoon rainforests. By night they feast on fruit and the nectar of woodland flowers, pollinating flowers and dispersing seeds as they feed. Kakadu's many habitats support more than 280 species of birds, or roughly a third of Australia's bird species. Some birds range over a number of habitats, but many are found in only one environment. 

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: saltwater crocodile, agile wallaby, antilopine wallaroo, flying fox, sugar glider
  • Where: Northern Territory, Australia

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

Crocodile & Jabiru Self-drive

This self-drive trip covers the best of the Top End, visiting four national parks: Mary River, Kakadu, Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) and Litchfield. Various excursions designed to showcase these iconic locations are included, but there’s still time to do your own thing and arrange activities locally .

  • When to go: Apr-Nov
  • Duration inc. flights: 13 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,395 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Kakadu Wildlife Bonanza

This special journey through Australia’s tropical Outback – the Top End – is for curious adventurers with a taste for wilderness and wildlife. During your stay in Arnhem Land at Kakadu and Mary River National Parks you’ll walk and visit rock art sites, and learn about the Top End’s remarkable fauna.

  • When to go: Aug
  • Duration inc. flights: 17 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £7,495 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Wildlife of Kimberley & Bamurru Plains

The remarkable Kimberley Coast is home to towering waterfalls, rugged outback landscapes, ancient Aboriginal art and abundant wildlife – there is no place on earth quite like the Kimberley, and no better way to discover it than on an unforgettable small ship cruise between Darwin and Broome.

  • When to go: May-Sep
  • Duration inc. flights: 22 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £8,595 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Wings over the Top End

Flying over Kakadu National Park, and into Bamurru plains and Arnhem Land, gives you a fantastic bird’s-eye view of the incredibly rich biodiversity. The coastal floodplains of Northern Australia are home to prolific birdlife, while Kakadu and Arnhem Land are the heartland of its indigenous culture.

  • When to go: May-Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 12 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,845 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
Suggested accommodation options are shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Bamurru Plains Lodge

Bamurru Plains is a luxury lodge on the edge of the Mary River floodplain, close to the coast and the western boundary of Kakadu National Park. This region of exceptional natural beauty and high biodiversity is one of only a few World Heritage Site listed for both its cultural and natural values.

Gagudju Lodge Cooinda

Located right in the heart of Kakadu National Park, the indigenous-owned Gagudju Lodge Cooinda offers 48 spacious air-conditioned rooms where you can relax and re-energise in cool comfort with convenient access to all the park’s attractions and amenities, and enjoy a variety of activities.

Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel

From its cool marble foyer to its unique crocodile-shaped exterior representing the area’s most famous inhabitant, Kakadu Crocodile Hotel is a comfortable retreat in a superb location in Kakadu National Park’s wilderness, and an ideal base for exploring the Ubirr, Nourlangie and Jim Jim areas.