We started our northern territory trip on full “winter” that means dry season in that part of the world. Is the only time of the year in which is possible to visit the area that surrounds Darwin because during summer everything is under 2 meters of water.
This is quite a wild area divided in desert and small oasis where the wildlife is concentrated during this season. It doesn’t belong to the main Australian backpackers touristic tracks and is a perfect place to feel how big , wild and marvellous this country is.
After spending a day in Darwin and renting a campervan we left to reach our first stop. Most of the attractions are valleys or pools created by rivers in carbonate rocks in the middle of the desert. In many of the places is possible to observe fresh water crocodiles (freshy)and numerous other species. In the northern territory there is also a strong presence of salt water crocodiles (salty) but they are kept away from these natural pools where tourists can enjoy a swim during the hot days because temperature reach 40 degrees most of the time.
The first stop was the Litchfield national park with Tolmer and Florence falls. After enjoying a swim and trying to spot some wildlife, we decided to stop there for the night in one of the numerous camping areas available.
The day after we were on the road again for the Nitmiluk National park. We spent the first night in Kathrine, a small town just outside the park and the successive morning we moved into Nitmiluk centre. This camping and touristic centre gives the possibility of exploring the Kathrine gorge, one of the most beautiful places I have ever been where the red stone sides of the gorge dive into the water for 50-60 meters. After collecting some info we decided to rent a Kayak for 6 hours and paddle on 4 of the 9 basins composing the gorge. The day was amazing and we were able to spot 2 freshys from few meters away.
We spent couple of nights in Nitmiluk because is also a perfect place to hike along the gorge sides trying to find the best viewpoints. Also at the sunset was incredible the number of wallabies and other kind of animals that was possible to observe all around.
In the morning of the third day with regrets we left Nitmiluk to reach one of the biggest natural park in Australia, the Kakadu national park. This park is bigger then several European countries taking 3 to 4 hours to get into it. The nature is the absolute owner of the park, as demonstrated by the numerous bushfire ,that are a natural process to kept equilibrium in the park. Our objective was Jabiru, a little village in the middle of the park with a strong indigenous presence. After fuelling and grabbing some food we decided that we would have spent the night in a little Ubirr. This place is known for the aborigenan art site constituted by numerous paintings on rock left by ancestors of people that own the land now.
Hiking on the top of the rock was quite easy compared to the spectacle of the sunset that we saw, probably the best sunset of my entire life. Wildlife was everywhere in the flat in front of us and the sky took that orange tone that we can observe only in documentaries.
The successive day after asking for some information we prepared ourselves for the daily big event. When the tide comes in the East Alligator River all the fish are trapped in the little dams built for the passage of vehicles and that’s a buffet for salt water crocodiles. These animals reach the 5 meters of length is better to observe from the platform. We spotted several 4 meters crocodiles but not 5.
We were quite satisfied and then we decided to start driving again towards out last stop, the Adelaide river. This river contain more than 7500 salt water crocodiles and is home of the jumping crocodiles. On the way we stopped for a wetland cruise on the corroboree billabong where with a little boat we where able to observe 5m crocodiles and much more.
We spent the night in a little tavern and we woke up early in the morning to reach the Jumping crocodile cruise. This consist in a boat going along the river. The guide keep piece of meat 2 meters above water surface and the crocodiles once reached the boat jumps out literally 1-2 meters from you. That’s probably the best way to observe this predators even if they wouldn’t follow a boat in a normal situation.
Our flight was on the day after and then we decided to spend the last night in Darwin to enjoy its quiet atmosphere.
This was surely one of the best trips of my life and I would definitely suggest it.