Proposed Plan of adventure in Darwin:
Litchfield Park and Kakadu
Day 1 - Drive straight out to Litchfield Park via Batchelor. Check into either of the places below and go out and see the waterfalls, Florence Falls (closest), Twin falls and Wangi falls, Buley Rock hole is also very nice and can be experienced at Florence Falls as well. There is a nice BBQ area at the left side (right side of the toilet block) of the Florence falls car park. This little trail also leads you to Buley Rockhole. I would suggest stopping at a Coles or Woolworths Supermarket in the City or suburbs to pick up your BBQ supplies – sausages, bread etc as the prices will be a lot higher as you travel out, and there are not many shops after Noonamah. Take an Esky!!
Where to stay overnight:
The Batchelor Resort 08 8976 0123– click on the link for more info: http://www.batchelor-resort.com/hotel/hotel_rates.htm
Or The Butterfly farm 08 8976 0199 http://www.butterflyfarm.net/index.html You can see the butterfly farm as well as tour Litchfield park. King Room: 1 King-sized bed and 2 single beds from $85/night - Queen Room: 1 Queen-sized bed and 1 single bed from $75/night - Princess Room: 1 Queen-sized bed and 1 single from $75/night - Backpacker Accommodation ($25 each person).
Or, Litchfield Tourist and Van Park 08 8976 0070
Litchfield Tourist & Van Park is situated on 35 acres just 4 Klms from the entrance to the Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory and the closest Tourist Park to the Magnetic Termite Mounds and the popular swimming spots of Buley Rock-Hole and Florence Falls. Rates for cabins: From $75-00 per double per night.
Day 2 - Drive out of Batchelor early morning and head for Katherine (aprox 1 ½ hrs) to see the Cutta Cutta Caves in the mid morning (take a torch) before driving out to the Katherine Gorge to experience a tour or 2. You may want to go to Mataranka which is a 1hr drive from Katherine, it has very nice natural thermal pools/hot springs.
Stay one night at any one of these motels below before driving out in the morning to Kakadu.
Maud creek lodge 08 89711814 http://www.maudcreeklodge.com.au/
Or, the Paraway Hotel in Katherine 08 89722644 http://www.parawaymotel.com.au/
Or, the Springvale Homestead 08 89721355 (my mother recommends this one!)
Day 3. - Drive out early morning from Katherine to Kakadu via Pine creek (stock up your esky in Katherine). At Pine Creek turn right into Kakadu Highway and head towards Kakadu stopping for the night at Cooinda. On the way to pine creek you can also stop by Edith Falls. It is approx 1 ½ - 2hrs to drive from Katherine to Cooinda.
Stay at Gagudju Lodge Cooinda 08 8979 0145 www.gagudju-dreaming.com
From here you will have easy access to the Yellow Water cruises, Warradjan Cultural Centre, Jim Jim Falls, Twin Falls and Nourlangie Rock.
Day 4 or 5. Drive out of Kakadu towards the Arnhem Highway back to Darwin. You will come to the Adelaide River then Humpty Doo where you can get refreshments and then you will get back onto the Stuart highway and head towards Darwin. It takes aprox 3hrs to drive from Kakadu to Darwin. Try to organise driving out from Kakadu by at least 3 - 4pm as it takes approx 2 1/2 hrs to reach the Stuart Highway, it is not advisable to drive at night on the remote roads as there are many animals that come out at this time. It’s Ok if it’s dark (7pm) when you reach the Stuart Highway as you are closer to town (about 30mins - 1hr) the roads are well lit and there are no animals on the road.
You might want to stop at the Jumping Crocodile Cruises (08 89789077) on the Adelaide River, it’s about half way on your way back to Darwin. http://www.jumpingcrocodilecruises.com.au/html/profile.html
You can always do this adventure backwards, starting from Darwin and going through to Kakadu first, ending at Litchfiled Park and then back to Darwin.
We drove out to Katherine at 6am in the morning from Darwin, to reach the Cutta Cutta caves at 9.30am. Tours run on the hour starting from 9am till 3pm, except there is no tour at 12pm, price for adults $16.00 and children $8.00, please note there is no eftpos and is cash only. Arrive 10 minutes before tour starts. Takes aprox 20mins to drive from Katherine to the Caves. (to drive from the Caves to the Gorge its aprox 50mins)
We headed straight out to the Caves for the 10am tour. The Caves are very nice, a very good experience. I would definitely recommend taking along a torch or 2, as it is quite dark and only the tour guide has a torch. There are small lights along the path, but I saw that without a torch you miss out on seeing a lot of the features in the cave. I had to use my mobile phone light as did most of the other people in the tour.
I would definitely recommend pre-booking the Katherine Gorge cruise. I went on the “Timeless Land” 1pm, 3.5- 4hr, 3 Gorge cruise where you get to stop for a swim for about 40mins, it was really good, the water was beautiful. They have cold water on board the boat and refreshments at the waterhole– which was great!
If we hadn’t booked the cruise beforehand we would have missed out. When we got out there (12pm) all the cruises where full and a lot of people around us were disappointed. I think if you can try and plan ahead it will make your trip more enjoyable.
It takes 2.5 - 3hrs to drive from Darwin down to Katherine, the Adelaide River Homestead has a dinner buffet for $10 which is really good for an outback stop along the way. From Katherine to the Gorge it’s aprox 30mins.
Check the tour times as the they advertised a tour at 11am on the internet and when I rang the information centre they told me that it had been cancelled and was only running at 1pm. If you want to book any tours and to get really good information and helpful advice call or email the tourist information centre in Darwin or go in there when you arrive. They are situated near the Darwin Mall.
Phone: 08 8980 6000 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Click on this link below for other tour times and information.
Edith falls and Mataranka are other nice places visit while down in Katherine, although I didn’t get there – we ran out of time.
Mataranka has natural hot springs that you can swim in.
I hope this information is helpful to everyone!