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24 Days in Northern Territory 2024 - (1 Viewer)


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Hi - my wife and I will be in Australia in 2024 from about 12 June to 13 August.

From approx 14 July to 8 August we are interested in exploring the Darwin-Kakadu National Park area. We have some questions:

How many days would you devote to the Darwin area...and how many to Kakadu (of the 24 total days or so we have)?

Right now (and we are happy to change these dates/number of days), we are booked into Kakadu from Tuesday, 23 July (2024!) and depart Wednesday, August 7 (2024)= 16 nights (and 15 days). We have reserved a Bush Bungalow (run by Australian Parks) in the Jabiru town area. We will have an SUV (or 4 WD) to explore the entire park. (A) Is this too much time in Kakadu? (B) Do we need a 4WD for this time of the year in Kakadu?

Once we can sort out how many days in Kakadu, we can add (or subtract) days in the Darwin area...or add days in Litchfield NP near Katherine - or other areas beyond Darwin/Kakadu.

So OK,,,if you had 24 days or so in NT, how would you spend them?

Thank You!

Here's an old trip report I did where I spent quite a while in NT at around the same time of year. I think I saw most things, although more time would probably help to clean up.
The NT stuff begins on the third page. One thing worth considering even if you're based in the NT is to go across into WA and the Kununurra area. That was really good and is worth including on your itinerary.
Thank You! I'll have a look. We thought about renting a campervan...we've done self-drives in Namibia/Botswana...but as we are older (early 60s) sleeping in a vehicle, no matter how nicely "decked out", was uncomfortable. And it provided little protection from the sun/insects when we were working around it (cooking eg). Fellow campers in sites often stayed up late...and at least for the African vehicles, climbing down (and back up) a ladder at night to head to the bathroom...that was annoying. So now we rent an SUV for space and stay in Air BnBs and do our best to avoid hotels and similar...we get more space and a place to cook - so when you are on the road for a while, you can eat more or less healthier food rather than restaurant food.

Driving long distances (especially one way as we wanted to do) takes up a long time that we would rather be birding...and incurs additional costs (one way drop off). On the other hand, flying is not that bad on the Sydney to Cairns; then Cairns to Darwin routes (about $250/person one way). The Darwin to Sydney route is about $800 one way...
Here is the first 30 days or so of our trip for 2024:

Arrive 13 June in Sydney; have an Air BnB booked in Mosman).

We start off with a pelagic boat trip for albatrosses and others on Sat 15 June 2024 with these guys (Sydney Pelagics):

WEB SITE (Sydney Pelagics & Nature Watching Tours) | BOOKINGS (Bookings: Sydney Pelagics & Nature Watching Tours) | PICK-UP (Pick up: Sydney Pelagics & Nature Watching Tours)
M: Greg 0405578 967 (tel:0405-578-967) or David 0408 905 666 (tel:0408-905-666)
Then we fly to Cairns, rent an SUV at the airport and stay overnight 16-17 June):
2. June 17 (Monday) to 27 June (Thursday) – Atherton Tablelands Birdwatchers' Cabin (near Cairns).

Here is listing: Atherton Birdwatchers’ Cabin | Forest Retreat for nature lovers
About 1 hour 45 minutes from Cairns
3. June 27 (Thursday) to 4 July (Thursday) – Thornton Beach (Cape Tribulation).
Here is the Air BnB listing: Cabin in Thornton Beach · ★4.88 · 1 bedroom · 1 bed · 1 bathroom
4. July 4 (Thursday) to 9 July (Tuesday) – Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodges.
Here is the hotel’s web site: Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodges

Now while there (great for night mammals and wildlife), try to book this guy: Allan Gillanders (Welcome to tree-kangaroos, bird & nocturnal mammal tours | Alan's Wildlife Tours | Rainforest Wildlife Spotlighting) is a well-known local guide.

Here is Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodges on Booking.com: ★★★ Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodges, Lake Eacham, Australia
we then have from 9 July to about 14 July...and are thinking of going to the Daintree River area to take some river trips with this guy: Murray (Daintree Boatman Wildlife Cruises) to see little kingfisher, marbled frogmouth, etc.

on 14 July we fly to Darwin from Cairns...and I am working on this part of the trip...how much time for near Darwin and the northern area (and Strait of Torres) and how much time in Kakadu....am researching! I'll keep you posted and we are open to all suggestions, advice etc.

Fly back to Sydney on 9 August...and do pelagic trip again on that Saturday 10 August...then do some birding around Sydney and fly home about 14 August.
In my opinion 15 days in Kakadu is a lot. There is a lot to see but I think a week will do. That way you have some days at Litchfield and south to Katherine Gorge area. Or think about going more south into desert area which give you more distinct desert species. Maybe you have some good flooded areas in the desert and those are bird abundant. Too bad you will miss the Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher in the Daintree area as they will be in New Guinea and return in October to 'winter' in Australia.
Good suggestions Litchfield NP and Katherine...further than that I don't think it is worth the time driving back and forth...I'd rather maximize time around Darwin...Any suggestions where to stay in either (or both) Litchfield NP and Katherine? Thank You!
Good suggestions Litchfield NP and Katherine...further than that I don't think it is worth the time driving back and forth...I'd rather maximize time around Darwin...Any suggestions where to stay in either (or both) Litchfield NP and Katherine? Thank You!
For me it is a very long time ago I did the 6 week trip to Australia with my wife. Starting mid October to early December we did 1 week Top end, 1 week Centre and 4 weeks Adelaide to Cairns. 450+ lifers.

So I have no recent info on that. We camped in a campervan the whole trip so we slept where we wanted to stay in the NP's or else.
I received this reply about Birding the Northern Territory from someone over at Birding Pal (a very useful site IF you get a response):

Yes I would recommend that you spend a little less time in Kakadu. There are only four endemic species there, and you can get the three that you are likely to get in just one day. For Kakadu, I recommend you spend most of your time in the southern section (e.g. Jim Jim, Maguk and Gunlom [if it is open – Gunlom has been closed for the last few years]) where there are few to no mosquitoes. I recommend you camp at these places if you can. Otherwise staying at Cooinda is the closest. I highly recommend you spend a day at Jim Jim falls. You can get all of the Kakadu endemics there. Maguk is mostly for swimming. Nourlangie rock is also a great place with most endemics. The Yellow waters cruise is although very worthwhile both for birding and to see the sights. Ubirr Rock is great, but be aware that any campsite that far north is full of mosquitoes, so for Nourlangie and Ubirr (which are essentially rock art sites) I recommend staying in Jabiru. Yes you will need a 4WD to drive the last parts of the road to Jim Jim, and Maguk. The price you have is a good deal.
Litchfield is more for swimming than finding different birds. Florence falls and Buley rock hole are great, Wangi falls is the biggest with the biggest camping area, and Sandy creek falls is nice too. You can easily see and do it all in 2-3 days.

Don’t waste your time with Mary River National Park, and there really isn’t anything to see around Corroboree Park Tavern. But if you could get on a boat – or hire a houseboat at Corroboree, you would get some lovely photos of many things (similar to the Yellow waters cruise in Kakadu).

There are plenty of birding opportunities around Darwin. Best places include Fogg Dam, Leanyer Wastewater ponds (if you want to maximise number of species), East Point Reserve, Howard Springs Nature Park. Barn owl and Barking owl are particularly easy at Fogg dam – look at the power lines on the drive out after dark for Barnies. Rufous owl is found at the Botanic Garden. Somebody drove a boat the other day up Buffalo creek and photographed almost all of the kingfishers up here. Another BirdingPal is ----- and he has a boat. McMinns lagoon is nice too. If you use ebird, you will easily see the many other places where birds are seen.

So.. a circuit through Kakadu of about 4-5 days. When you pass through Pine Creek, the bird to get there is Hooded Parrot. Easiest in the late afternoon around the taps around the gas station. 2-3 days in Litchfield. As many days as you want in and around Darwin. Personally, if I had that much time, I would also drive down to Katherine and go on the Cruise up the gorge, and then travel west as far as Keep River National Park. There are a heap of other species that way too. A lot more driving, but some very picturesque country to see.

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