Kakadu National Park is a wondrous gem, a gigantic dreamscape of towering waterfalls, magnificent vistas, swampy marshes and pristine pools.
People who are lucky enough to venture to this prehistoric park aren’t likely to forget it, as across the park there are so many incredible experiences!
From the amazing Indigenous rock art at Nourlangie to the cascading Jim Jim Falls, the remote Koolpin Gorge and croc-spotting on the Yellow Water, Kakadu National Park is probably Australia’s most otherworldly place to tour.
So, to the question of whether you need a permit to visit Kakadu? The answer is: yes, you do need a permit to visit this marvellous wonderland!
Where your money goes
The permits are inexpensive and cover a range of important things, including:
- Preservation of the park’s natural & cultural wonders
- Traditional owner lease payments
- Infrastructure & maintenance
- Range & cultural activities
- Operations (croc maintenance, site preparation, incident response etc.)
You can see a graph of exactly where your money goes here: https://parksaustralia.gov.au/kakadu/plan/passes/.
Kakadu National Park permit fees are higher in the dry season and cheaper in the wet season, with pricing as follows:
Dry season (15 May – 31 October)
Adults (16 & over): $40
Children (5 – 15 years): $20
Family (2 adults & 2 or more children): $100
Wet season (1 November – 14 May)
Naturally, pricing is higher in the dry season as the weather is finer and there is less chance of having your activities inhibited by storms or heat.
What do when you’re there
Now that we’ve got permit fees out of the way (pretty good value, ey?), let’s move onto some of the incredible experiences that make this park such a surreal joy to behold.
The best place to start, and to really get a feel of the park’s magic, has to be Nourlangie. Not only is this significant rock formation a special site for the Gun-djeihmi speaking people, who sheltered there for thousands of wet seasons, but it is also home to some of Australia’s oldest and most important rock artworks.
Then, it’s time to explore the wondrous landmarks that dot the national park, including the giant Jim Jim Falls, the beautiful, natural infinity pool at Gunlom Falls and, if you have time, grab yourself an extra permit for the wondrously remote Koolpin Gorge – you may even have large parts of the region to yourself!
Related article: When is the best time to visit Kakadu National Park?