Things to do, Kakadu & Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia

Swimming, Kakadu & Arnhem Land

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Gunlom Falls, Top waterhole, Kakadu and Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia

The picture-perfect waterholes and waterfalls of Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land look like enticing places for a swim, but many are home to saltwater crocodiles and as such, off limits.

However, there is a number of natural plunge pools tucked away in gorges and high up on the escarpment plateau in Kakadu that are surveyed for crocodiles before they open to swimmers each dry season.

One of the best swimming spots is at Gunlom Falls in the southern end of the park. Take the short but steep climb to the top of the waterfall and be rewarded with a sweeping view of southern Kakadu. The natural infinity-edge pool up here is quite breathtaking, and you can follow a series of rock pools further away from the cliff through rocky walls.

Take a walk through monsoon rainforest to Maguk, a beautiful waterfall with a series of plunge pools. Swim across the tranquil pool and settle in for a back massage under the falls, then take the short hike to the top of the waterfall and jump from rocky platforms into the deep plunge pool flanked by tall vertical cliffs. 

Kakadu's major waterfalls are also popular swimming spots. Walk into the plunge pool at the base of Jim Jim Falls for a swim in the surprisingly cold water. The only place you can swim at nearby Twin Falls is on the plateau above it, but the trek up is well worth it for the breathtaking views into the gorge below and the swimming holes upstream.

Jump in a high-clearance four-wheel drive to explore one of Kakadu's least-visited attractions – Jarrangbarni (Koolpin Gorge). You'll need to be relatively fit for the trek in, but the reward is idyllic waterholes and waterfalls that you might just have all to yourself.

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