Gunumeleng, Kakadu's pre-monsoon season, can last from mid-October to mid-December. The floodplains and billabongs slowly replenish, as thunderstorms build in the afternoons and showers begin to bring green to the dry land. Waterbirds spread out as surface water and new growth become more widespread. Barramundi move from the waterholes downstream to the estuaries to breed. This was when Kakadu's Aboriginal owners, Bininj/Mungguy, moved camp from the floodplains to the stone country, to shelter from the violent storms of the coming wet season.
Some of our favourite places to visit during Gunumeleng are listed below.
To plan your trip:
- Consider the list of seasonal highlights below. Click through for maps and more information
- Check our daily access report at kakadu.com.au/access to make sure your favourite areas are accessible (it's a good idea to check it on the day you travel too)
- For more detailed advice call our helpful staff at Bowali Visitor Centre on 08 8938 1120 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Have a great trip! Jump on our Facebook page (facebook.com/parksaustralia) or catch us on Twitter (twitter.com/#!/Parks_Australia) to tell us how you went
Kakadu has commercial tour options to suit every taste. Boat tours, scenic flights and guided day trips operate throughout the year. Find out more about tour options
South Alligator region
Gungarre Rainforest Walk- 2WD accessible. A 3.6 km walk leads you through monsoon rainforest and open woodland to a small year round pontoon that takes you out onto Angurrapal Billabong. Here you can enjoy an iconic Kakadu wetland up close at this fabulous time of the year.
Mamukala Wetlands - 2WD accessible. This site is particularly dramatic at this time of year as a multitude of bird species congregate here. A covered observation platform overlooking this wetland allows you to view the wildlife in comfort. A mural on the wall of the observatory illustrates seasonal changes that occur through the year.
Bowali Visitor Centre (open 8am-5pm daily) - 2WD accessible. This centre contains a wealth of information about Kakadu's natural heritage including plants, animals, history and park management practices. It is also a vital stop for the latest updates on road conditions, wet season access and information about things to see and do.
Jabiru to Bowali Walking Track - 2WD accessible. From Jabiru, enjoy a leisurely 4km return walk on a rammed earth walking track through scenic open woodland on your way to the Bowali Visitor Centre. Here, view a display and films about Kakadu, grab a great coffee and a bite to eat and talk to our helpful staff about what's best to do.
East Alligator region
Ubirr - 2WD accessible. This 1km circuit winds past several fascinating Aboriginal rock art sites. A moderately steep, 250 m climb takes you to the top of a rocky lookout that offers superb views over the Nadab floodplain. This is the perfect place to enjoy the sunset or to watch tropical thunderheads roll across the sky.
Manngarre Rainforest Walk - 2WD accessible. Wander through the rainforest near the East Alligator River. The walk starts near the Border Store on the way to Ubirr.
Bardedjilidji Walk - 2WD accessible. Starts at a small carpark 500 m from the upstream boat ramp and features a 2.5 km walk through layered sandstone outliers. One of Kakadu's most interesting short walks. Allow two hours.
Cahills Crossing Viewing Platform - Enjoy views of the East Alligator River froma viewing platform and nearby picnic tables.
Nourlangie Rock - 2WD accessible. A series of ancient Aboriginal shelters and outstanding art sites are featured along this 1.5 km circuit. In some sections after heavy rain, water trickles down over the rockface, glistening on native ferns and moss. A moderately steep climb up to Gunwardewarde Lookout presents a panorama view out over the woodlands and across to part of Kakadu's escarpment known as Lightning Dreaming.
Nawurlandja Lookout - 2WD accessible. A 600 m climb up a moderately steep, rocky slope offers views over Anbangbang Billabong, across woodlands to the Kakadu escarpment. It is a pleasant spot to observe Nourlangie Rock reflecting shades of red and orange at sunset.
Anbangbang Billabong - 2WD accessible. This picturesque billabong sits in an open area of woodland, in the foreground of the impressive Nourlangie Rock escarpment. Its gently sloping banks and abundant plant life make it a popular watering hole for native wildlife, presenting some great photo opportunities. Take some lunch along and make use of the picnic tables nearby.
Gubara Rock Pools Walk - 2WD high clearance with care. This easy to moderate 6 km return walk offers visitors the chance to experience several habitats in a relatively short distance. This pleasant sandy track passes through woodlands and stretches of wildflowers, before following huge sandstone cliffs into shady monsoon forest where you'll discover a series of rock pools. If you set out in the morning it's a great place to avoid the heat of the day.
Yellow Water region
Yellow Water Wetlands - 2WD accessible. See birds, water lilies and crocodiles in a pristine wetland environment.
Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre - 2WD accessible. Learn about Kakadu's local Indigenous culture including family, food, history, hunting, art and stories through a great cultural display and films.
Gungardun Walk - 2WD accessible. An easy 2 km circuit walk passes through eucalypt woodlands.
Mary River region
Gunlom - 4WD recommended. A popular camping area near a clear plunge pool and waterfall - just remember the falls slow to a trickle during the dry season. A steep climb takes you to the top of the waterfall and a lookout with great views over southern Kakadu.
Yurmikmik Walks - 4WD only. This series of easy to moderate day walks travels through open woodlands. Return distances vary from 2 km to 11 km in length. The Boulder Creek walk is especially lovely, with a quick 2 km circuit leading through a beautiful landscape. On a longer walk to Motorcar Falls, enjoy the stunning landscape on the way to the falls and plunge pool.
IMPORTANT NOTE As with any tropical environment, heavy rain and flooding can make parts of Kakadu inaccessible as the wet season draws near. Before you depart be sure to check the very latest conditions online at kakadu.com.au/access. For more detailed advice call our helpful staff at Bowali Visitor Centre on 08 8938 1120. You can also see our suggested wet season itinerary.