22-23 August 2009
When you live in Darwin you have a tendency to forget during your day to day activities that you are lucky enough to live in a tropical paradise. But when friends and family visit you from ‘down south’ as my friends just did, you tend to look around and remember just how beautiful it all is.
My friends arrived from a cold and wet South Australian winter into the warm days and nights of the Top End’s dry season. They had visited me up here before, of course, and as such we were keen to do something together that we hadn’t done before. We decided on a camping adventure into Kakadu National Park
There were two iconic landmarks that we wanted to visit, those being Jim Jim and Twin Falls. Access to these points is by 4WD only, so we hired a car, packed it up and hit the road.
The drive to Kakadu National Park was easy going, but long, so we took lots of stops along the way to have a rest and see the sights. The Bowali Visitors Centre was a great place to get some information on the park as well as finding out about the conditions of the roads that we were about to travel on.
It was a bumpy ride down the dirt road into the Garnamarr campground, however when we arrived we found the campground clean and tidy with excellent facilities and ample shade. We took some time to set up camp before jumping in the car, engaging 4WD and starting down the track towards Jim Jim Falls. After a slow and sandy drive in we were ready to put on our walking shoes and climb over the boulders towards the Jim Jim Plunge Pool. The walk was tiring but well worth it and despite the fact that the falls weren’t flowing at this time of year the scenery was stunning. I am definitely going to book myself in for a scenic flight over this area during the Green Season when the falls are in full flow as it would be breathtaking.
Back at camp we ate our well earned dinner and relaxed with a bit of star gazing. There were shooting stars aplenty and very little light from the moon, which was in its last stages, to hamper our view.
The next morning we woke early with the sun and made our way towards Twin Falls. This track was a little more challenging and involved a river crossing but we took our time and made it safely. The evening before at the camp ground we had pre-purchased tickets for the Twin Falls Boat Tour which takes you part of the way towards the falls. This was quite an experience, travelling along the pristine billabong in a small flat bottomed boat, past the crocodile trap, peering into the crystal clear water at the fish teeming below us. The boat driver/guide let us know all about points of interest along the short drive to the start of the walking track into the falls. There was some more climbing over boulders here, however the walk was a little more easy going than that at Jim Jim falls and before long we emerged onto a white sand beach with the falls flowing down the awe-inspiring rock face into the pool below. The water was all shades of blue and green and it was the perfect place to sit back, relax and take it all in. We returned the same way we had come and then proceeded on our way back to Darwin.
This wasn’t my first visit to Kakadu but it was my first time seeing the falls and is certainly my most memorable trip so far. I would recommend seeing Jim Jim and Twin Falls to everyone with a sense of adventure!