My main reason for visiting Australia’s Northern Territory was to visit Australia’s largest national park. Just to give you an idea of how big Kakadu national park is, it is about 1/3 of the size of Tasmania , nearly half the size of Switzerland and equally-sized to Slovenia. Kakadu scenic flights are therefore one of the best ways to see Kakadu National Park.
If you want to see it all, it takes several days to see every corner of this national park. Most travelers just don’t have endless time to spend that much time on Kakadu tours. More than we like to, we have to make choices when traveling, which sometimes means you just can’t see everything you would actually like to. A constantly struggle when traveling around.
So when traveling in Australia in October 2018 I stumbled upon the Scenic Flight Company. They offer Kakadu scenic flights. I was sold! I thought it would be the best way to see Kakadu National Park. Let’s see if I was right in the following review.
UNESCO World Heritage
Kakadu National Park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in three stages, but in 1992 the entire park was finally listed. Being listed as UNESCO World Heritage means the cultural and natural values of Kakadu National Park are recognized, protected and researched internationally.
Cave paintings, rock carvings and archeological sites record the skills and way of life of Kakadu’s inhabitants for more than 50.000 years. It’s very impressive to walk around a real life art gallery and see Aboriginal art dating back thousands of years.
Kakadu also preserves the greatest variety of ecosystems on the Australian continent, which makes it a real special place. The huge diversity and variety of wildlife and flora makes it an interesting destination for every tourist traveling to Australia.
Best way to see Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park is Australia’s largest national park and one of the largest in the world. It’s nearly 200 kilometres from north to south and over 100 kilometres from east to west. As you can see, that’s incredibly huge! Driving around this park to see every single corner of it would take you weeks. Time I just didn’t have when I visited Kakadu National Park so I searched for the best way to see Kakadu National Park.
Visiting all the places of interest in Kakadu National Park takes a lot of time. You don’t just drive up to the tourist spots, get our of your jeep and look at it. Most of the places you visit in Kakadu include a return walk of several kilometres, something I didn’t really realize before I traveled to Kakadu. This means I couldn’t do as much in one day as I expected to. To be able to have different views and see more angles of the park, Kakadu scenic flights are the best way to see Kakadu.
The Scenic Flight Company review
The Scenic Flight Company is a locally owned and operated company, that offers the ultimate Kakadu experience. I love to work and connect with local, family businesses. As I think they often have much more to offer than the big tourist companies. Locals know best! They’re focused on giving you the best possible experience and want to exceed whatever expectations you have. That is why I chose and recommend you to book your Kakadu scenic flights with the Scenic Flight Company. They’re focused on personal attention and customer experience.
Tom, the pilot of my Kakadu scenic flight, was already waiting for me at the Jabiru Airport. A very warm welcome, literally as it was 42 degrees Celsius outside. He started explaining everything I needed to know about flights over Kakadu, the plane and weather conditions and our flight route that afternoon. Before taking off I got a very clear safety briefing, if anything was going to happen, I was prepared. I visited Kakadu in October 2018, which means it’s dry season in the Northern Territory, so I did the 30 minute dry season route. During the scenic flight over Kakadu we were constantly briefed by Tom, our pilot, telling us where we flew over and some interesting facts on the park and the area.
Scenic flights over Kakadu
Seeing all the different landforms of Kakadu from above is a unique and once in a lifetime experience. Some spots are even better seen from above. The unique Mercure Crocodile Hotel is nice to see, but you get the very best views from above. Same goes for the ranger mine, located just outside of Jabiru.
Fire management is very important at Kakadu National Park. These are prescribed and controlled bushfires, to control the spread of wildfire. It’s something Aboriginals have been doing for thousands of years. It’s their way of looking after the land. They burn the area to clean up, help feed the animals and for new plants to come through. Nowadays park rangers collaborate with Aboriginal people to maintain the land.
During flight over Kakadu and my Kakadu tours I’ve seen several controlled bushfires. While flying over Kakadu the pilot pointed out some of the bushfires in the park, pretty impressive to see that from above, even if it’s controlled.
Get yourself a 4WD
Being such a large national park, some parts are too remote to visit by car. If you travel to Kakadu National Park, I would strongly suggest a 4WD. I got upgraded by my rental company to a 4WD, which was the best thing that could have happened. Some of the most beautiful places in Kakadu National Park can only be visited when you have a 4WD.
But even with a 4WD, some parts are inaccessible to the public. Part of our scenic flight was The Archway. The Archway is an impressive natural arch, the largest of arches and caverns throughout this countryside. It is located on Arnhem Aboriginal tribal land, which means it is not accessible to the public by land. So, the only way to see this Archway are scenic flights over Kakadu.
During wet season, some parts are inaccessible by car
Northern Australia has pretty much just two seasons during the year, the dry season (April to October) and the wet season (November to March). Kakadu’s traditional owners even recognize six different seasons. There isn’t really a best time of year to visit Kakadu, as each season has different attractions for Kakadu visitors. Always keep in mind that some areas of the park are closed by flooding during the wet season. It all depends on what you want to see. If you want to see the waterfalls in full swing, the wet season is your best time of year to visit Kakadu. For example, I visited Kakadu in October 2018, during the dry season. I didn’t visit the Jim Jim Falls, as there is nothing to see there in dry season.
Flying over Kakadu the pilot pointed out several parts of the park that are completely flooded during the wet season. It’s hard to imagine this when visiting Kakadu during the dry season. I visited Ubirr Rock for example as this is one of the best places to see Aboriginal art. If you visit Kakadu National Park in dry season, make sure you watch the sunset from Ubirr Rock, it’s just magical.
But at the same time, hard to imagine that Ubirr Rock, the sunset experience and the Aboriginal art can’t be seen when visiting Kakadu during the wet season. No matter what time of year you visit Kakadu, scenic flights are always a good idea. They give you unique and different views of the park. To me the best way to see Kakadu.
Scenic flights over Kakadu from Jabiru Airport
Jabiru is the main township of Kakadu National Park. It’s the perfect base for exploring the park and offers all facilities you need. Jabiru has its own airport, just 5 minutes from town, where the Scenic Flight Company is located. This is the place where you meet your pilot and take off for the scenic flight over Kakadu National Park.
The town was originally built to house the people working at the Ranger Uranium Mine. However, Jabiru became a popular place to stay while exploring Kakadu. When they opened the mine and the township it was said, once all the work was done, the land of the mine would return to how it once was, and the township would close. People have been living there for many years now, and tourism is an important industry and income for the township now. Plans now are to make Jabiru self-sufficient on tourism only. Creating some new resorts for tourists to stay, and to make Jabiru lake 100% crocodile free.
Where to stay in Kakadu National Park
Looking for a unique place to stay in Kakadu National Park, the Mercure Crocodile is absolutely your place to go. Check their best rates in the link.
Visiting Kakadu National Park? Don’t hesitate! Contact the Scenic Flight Company and book one of their amazing scenic flights, I promise, you won’t regret it!
Thank you Scenic Flight Company for giving me the ultimate Kakadu experience! I would totally recommend people doing this when they visit Kakadu National Park.
This blog is written by Traveltomtom team member Ashley: @travelashie. She traveled to Australia in October 2018 and wrote about her adventures. Also check out her blog about swimming with crocodiles in Darwin and her review of the Crown Plaza Perth.