With a week up your sleeve, start a comprehensive tour of Kakadu and its surrounds at Mary River National Park. Take a wildlife cruise before delving into Kakadu's waterfalls, wetlands, cultural centers and Aboriginal rock art sites.
Day 1: Adelaide River, War Cemetery, Gunlom
Depart tropical Darwin and head south to the picturesque town of Adelaide River. Call in at the pub for a cool drink, then visit the War Cemetery and learn about the regions wartime history. Drop by the Pine Creek Railway Precinct. Take the Kakadu Highway into Kakadu National Park and take the turnoff to Gunlom. Camping facilities are available here.
Day 2: Gunlom
Spend the day exploring the Gunlom region. Gunlom is the magical combination of a waterfall and serene plunge pool, with shady gums cooling the picnic areas. A steep climb to the top of the waterfall provides sweeping views of the southern-most parts of Kakadu National Park while you enjoy a relaxing soak in the crystal clear pools.
Day 3: Maguk, Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Yellow Water Cruise
Depart Gunlom in the morning and then travel onto Maguk. A 14 kilometer four-wheel drive trip followed by a one kilometer walk leads to the base of a beautiful plunge pool. After resting, take the short but moderately difficult climb to the top of the waterfall where crystal clear pools await that are perfect for a refreshing swim. The panoramic view also makes the hike worth the effort.
Head toward Cooinda and visit the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre where you will learn about the culture, beliefs and lifestyle of the traditional Aboriginal people. Take a sunset cruise on Yellow Water Billabong and spot birds, crocodiles, and other wildlife. A full range of accommodation options are available in the area Cooinda area.
Day 4: Jim Jim, Twin Falls Tour, Cooinda
Travel by four-wheel-drive to Jim Jim and Twin Falls. Tours are available if you don't have your own vehicle. In the morning enjoy a walk through rocky bushland to the base of Jim Jim Falls and be rewarded with a refreshing swim in the waterhole at the base. In the afternoon head to Twin Falls and take an easy walk to join a cruise with the local Aboriginal people who will take you to the base of the falls. A full range of accommodation options are available in the Cooinda area.
Day 5: Nourlangie Rock, Jabiru, Bowali Visitor Centre
This morning travel north and spend the morning exploring the Anbangbang galleries of Nourlangie Rock, a famous Aboriginal art site and occupation site with evidence of seasonal occupation dating back some 40,000 years. A short drive from the galleries on the opposite side of Nourlangie Rock is the trail heading to the Nangaloar galleries. The walk takes about 45 minutes (one way) and leads to a number of large galleries containing a fascinating array of rock paintings.
Continue towards Jabiru which is the main township in the Kakadu area. On the way visit the Bowali Visitor Centre and gain an overview of the park. A museum, gift shop and cafe are located here so it's a perfect place to stop for lunch.
Day 6: Scenic flight, Ubirr, Mamukala Wetlands
This morning join a 30 or 60 minute scenic flight over Kakadu and the Arnhem Land Escarpment, taking in aerial views of the expansive area.
In the late morning take a picnic lunch and travel to Ubirr, a major Aboriginal art site showcasing an array of paintings and styles. In the afternoon on your way back into Darwin along the Arnhem Highway, call into the Mamukala Wetlands and Bird Hide, an area abundant with many birds and wildlife.