The Top End, welcome to the National Parks of Kakadu and Litchfield, near Darwin. A real and traditional Aboriginal region, Arnheim land is home to one the best paintings of the country and you can even learn more if you have Aboriginal guides. Finally the local wildlife, more or less friendly, is exotic
The tropical Darwin
The Top End can offer amazing wild landscapes but don’t go there for the beaches. Indeed, you won’t be able to swim in the ocean due to the presence of salty crocodiles and jellyfishes. It is not Queensland! However, many hotels or resorts have a nice swimming pool in which you can relax after a hard walking day out, to the National Parks and the bush. Darwin doesn’t have a lot of interesting places to see but is a good city to chill, buying the supplies before going on new adventures in the outback! The main street, Mitchell street is full of restaurants, pubs and nightclubs, you won’t be bored (even if it is almost the only bustling street in Darwin :)) But plenty of tourist agencies, in particular a crocodile experience where you can immersed in a giant bowl plunged into the water, surrounded by giant crocodiles.
The Australian Darwin!
It is to be noted that Darwin is quite a modern city. Indeed, it has been rebuilt almost completely these past decades as it was first destroyed by the Japanese army during World War 2 and it was impacted hugely by a strong cyclone in the 70s. In other words, Darwin suffered in recent times and the modern architecture of the city offer an interesting contrast with the millennial Aboriginal paintings you will be able to see in the surroundings National Parks. Fun fact, Darwin is much closer to Bali and Asia than any other major Australia city, which influence the multicultural aspect of the town.
Kakadu & Litchfield National Parks
These very beautiful and huge National Parks represent the idea of Australia: wild, wonderful and sunny. It is possible to swim in the indicated billabongs or natural lakes but take a close look at the signs. Some of them are full of crocodiles and you don’t want to be their next lunch…
Moreover, it is possible to see beautiful Aboriginal paintings in the caves of the National Park. Some of them are telling you the story of the dreamtime, Aboriginal legends and it is even better with a local guide! The millennial significations are not easy to guess sometimes…
Kakadu, a privileged place to encounter with Aboriginal paintings
Meeting the crocs !
One of the favorite activities, it is the crocodile jumping! You go for a tour over the rivers, full of crocs, and the boat driver is hanging a piece of meat to attract them and make them jump to get it! Always very spectacular and a bit scary, don’t bend over too much! Very impressive.
To conclude, the Top End is one of the highlight of every trip to Oz..but be careful and choose the period carefully. Indeed, the “wet” period is the monsoon rain season makes the trip over there impossible to undertake as many roads are inundated and closed by the rangers. Thus, best time to go there is during the Australian “winter”, from May to October, when you may wish to leave the south cities of the country, particularly the cold Melbourne!
Where did we sleep?
Almost all the backpackers are located on the (only?) buzzing street of Darwin, Mitchell street! A relaxing ozzie backpacker atmosphere, go to different pubs!
- Melaleuca on Mitchell: This backpacker is in high demand! And the (small) swimming pool and the bar are very likely to attract people looking for cold drinks when the weather is simply too hot…Here, a total backpacker atmosphere of young people who are here to have fun! Hard to sleep, you are warned! So if you are looking for a quiet place to sleep, this hotel, despite the enjoyable swimming pool in a city where it is forbidden to swim in the ocean due to crocodiles, may not be the place to be!