Darwin to Adelaide by The Ghan September 2019 - Day 7

Darwin to Kakadu National Park


Today we headed east on a long drive of 300km to Kakadu National Park. We had looked at various accommodation options - the crocodile hotel at Jabiru appealed with its quirky design - but the recent reviews suggested it was a bit tired so we chose the Cooinda Lodge at Cooinda. We also discovered the various 4WD tours around Kakadu actually started from Cooinda, with guests at the crocdile place having to endure 40 minutes in the bus before the tour actually started. It was a good choice, we had a "luxury" cabin, recently refurbished, that was clean and pleasant, and had good air conditioning. It was a short walk to the pool to cool off and outdoor dining was close by.

Road trip to Kakadu

The road heads east out of Darwin. It is dual carriageway to begin with moderate traffic, but soon we had the road to ourselves. We turned off onto the Arnhem Highway at Humpty Doo. We crossed the Adelaide River and Mary River before stopping at The South Alligator River boat ramp to look for crocodiles. We then went on to the Mamukala Wetlands before reaching Jabiru. We then turned south on the kakadu Highway to Cooinda.

Out of Darwin and into the wilderness

Getting out of Darwin.
We soon lost the traffic - and the bends in the road
We passed large areas planted in citris trees
Plenty of road train signs, but we saw few of them.
Yippee!! 130km/hr legally.
There's plenty of bush in these parts.
The sign shows water depths up to 1.4m - that's over the roof of the car...
Plenty of warning signs...
but no crocs today
The South Alligator River.

Mamakala Wetlands

Just off the highway is the parking area for the Mamakala Wetlands. This is a large shallow (in the dry season) lake teeming with birdlife. A short walk takes you to a large hide where you can get up close to the birds. We spent a hour here watching all the wildlife.

Flooding? Here?
Descending into the Abercrombie River
Climbing out of the Abercrombie River
Near Oberon.
Jenolan Caves House.
Inside the road tunnel and entrance to the caves
Entrance to the Lucas Cave.

Cooinda Lodge

We stayed here three nights. The cabin we had was comfortable and clean. There are two swimming pools, we used the smaller and were the only people in it. The large pool was full of screaming monsters. The indoor bar and dining area were empty, everybody sat outside under the trees, risking losing food to birds. The menu was typical pub food, well cooked and what you might expect when you are in an isolated place. Some people (and their reviews) were underwhelmed by the fare, but I think their expectations were misplaced.

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Last updated: 12/06/2020