But don’t believe any of it. While there are within the borders of Kakadu seemingly endless reasons to visit, here is just one: Ubirr.
UBIRR ROCK ART
Ubirr is a rock formation within the East Alligator region of Kakadu. Known for its stunning Aboriginal rock art and breathtaking views across the Nadab floodplain, Ubirr truly is one of the jewels in the Kakadu crown.
There are plenty of places to set-up your van or pitch your tent in Kakadu, from ‘managed’ campgrounds with various amenities, including hot showers, to ‘unmanaged’ campgrounds, which offer a place to park-up and very little else.
Ubirr is in the northern section of Kakadu. It is a fairly long drive from the main tourist centre of Jabiru. Therefore, it might be a good move to park for the night at Merl Campground, which is just 3km from Ubirr. The campground not only has beautiful sites but showers, toilets and a separate zone for people who wish to use their generator too. Camping fees are collected on site.
Many people time their visit to Ubirr for late afternoon. That way, they can meander the 1km circular track which provides excellent views of the Aboriginal rock art galleries, many of which are within natural shelters such as caves. Among these incredible displays is a painting of a thylacine (Tasmanian tiger), which became extinct on the Australian mainland about 2000 years ago! It is awe-inspiring, to say the least.
While Kakadu contains numerous other displays of rock art accessible to the public, such as the galleries in Nourlangie, Ubirr has greater variety.
As the sun begins to set, be sure to climb the relatively easy 250m track to a rock plateau. It’ll take 20 to 30 minutes to reach the perfect vantage point – people with mobility issues may have some difficult and might prefer to stay behind and continue admiring the rock art.
Those who make the trek, however, will be rewarded with a stunning display as the sun lowers in the sky, lighting up the Nadab floodplain in red, orange and golden hues that will stay with you long after you have left. Even the rocks upon which you’ll sit seem to glow.
Ubirr is about 40km from Jabiru. It is easy to access, even by 2WD, as the road is fully sealed. It is, however, low-lying. Therefore, after heavy rain, access may be restricted. The best time to visit is during the Dry (roughly May to October). Not only should the road to Ubirr be unrestricted, so too should the tracks out to some of Kakadu National Park’s other attractions, such as Maguk (Barramundi Gorge).
The Bowali Visitor Information Centre in Jabiru is a wealth of information and should be your first port of call for any Kakadu visit.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Max Taylor has been caravanning since he was a kid and was the editor of some of Australia’s most well-known RV publications for almost 10 years.