We have refrained from all Crocodile Dundee references in all previous Australia blogs, but now we’ve earned it. The Top End is where much of the movie was shot and where we wrapped up our 20 days in Oz. dGoing from the iconic Kakadu National Park to Gunlom Falls (with its “crocodile-free swimming”), and even the outback bar where Charlie the hypnotized water buffalo has been immortalized, it was quite the tour. We didn’t come to the region to pay homage this 1980s flick, but are thrilled we got to experience the incredible scenery and wildlife that inspired this cult classic.
Continuing our three-day excursion with Adventure Tours, we delved deeper into Kakadu National Park and arrived to one of the most scenic Crocodile Dundee locations, Gunlom Falls. Hiking alongside the 200-foot cascade (intro pic), we reached the natural infinity pools, basked in the same baths as manly Mick, and enjoyed the stunning views across this diverse outback landscape (six different environments to be exact: monsoonal vine forest, open woodland, flood plains and rivers, mangroves and mudflats, southern lowlands and ridgeline.)
Katherine Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park was our most southerly and possibly most spectacular point in our Northern Territory tour. Formed by the Katherine River flowing from Arnhem Land to the Timor Sea, this 23 million-year-old natural marvel is made of towering red rock walls, with just enough room for a couple of boats to pass through. We sailed between the 230-foot high pass taking in a bit of history and plenty of scenery.
The Northern Territory has its share of deadly to delicate animals. They have over 100,000 crocodiles, three of the world’s top ten deadliest snakes, 300+ types of birds species, and countless unidentifiable critters worthy of a safari. We spotted a water monitor, wallaroos, frill neck lizards, and Charlie the Water Buffalo at the Adelaide River Inn Pub.
We culminated our adventure through the outback with a burger barbie at Barmundi Gorge (the hat definitely took my BBQ skills up a notch). Adventure Tours invited us on this excursion as their guest, but at a $435 dollars for a three day all-inclusive outback safari, this is something we’d recommend even to a shoe-string backpacker. There’s just no way to cover that type of rugged ground and get the knowledge that their guides provided on your own.
We returned to the city of Darwin which was wild in its own right. People from more than 50 countries make up the 110,000 population and a vibrant aboriginal culture gives this tropical metropolis its own rhythm. We stayed with a friend of a friend and she introduced us to the favorite Darwinian ritual: The Mindil Beach Sunset Market. Every Thursday and Sunday the town brings their picnic blankets, food carts, crafts, and arguably the best didgeridoo show around. (Listen to this guy eMDee speed-play four didgeridoos at once!)
Darwin is closer to Indonesia than Sydney, so the great forces of Southeast Asia put us back on a plane to the islands. But don’t worry, we’re not leaving without a “You Know You’re in Australia When”…stay tuned!