Kakadu National Park

If you want to see a terrifying number of crocodiles lurking at a barramundi buffet, you need to see Cahill’s crossing at high tide! This is a water crossing for cars which crosses over the East Alligator River. It allows vehicles to go into Arnhem land. Cahill’s Crossing is located in Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory of Australia. Before heading to this remote location, check the tide times to ensure you will arrive there just before high tide. You will be able to see the water change direction on the river, vehicles doing the water crossing despite the water being at a scarily high level, birds of prey swooping down for fish, large fish leaping out of the water and of course, lots of crocs!

As the water changes direction, fish are swept towards the crowd of waiting crocodiles. On the day we were there, there were about 30 crocodiles in the small stretch of river. Many of these managed to snare a large fish to eat. To be able to watch a large croc, maneuver a fish in its mouth to orient it for easier swallowing is a real privilege. There is a lookout over Cahill’s crossing that allow visitors to view the natural spectacle! It gets quite crowded and there were a number of people including children and fishermen down on the road by the water’s edge. Considering that crocodiles can both move and jump with deadly accuracy and speed, this seems extremely foolish.

A 4WD crossing the notorious Cahill’s Crossing, close to high tide. Those dark shapes in the water are not logs but waiting saltwater crocodiles!

When visiting Cahill’s Crossing, it is worth doing the walk from the crossing to Merl Campground. There are so many interesting rock formations to see on this walk.

Walking trail between Cahill’s Crossing and Merl Campground – note the little white egg shaped termite mounds!
Walking Trail between Cahill’s Crossing and Merl Campground – lots of interesting rock formations.

When visiting Kakadu National Park, doing the Yellow Water Cruise is essential. There is a so much animal and bird life that live on or close to the water. There is a cruise both at sunrise and sunset. Both are excellent. This time, we did the sunset cruise. The start of this cruise is at 4:30pm and it is searingly hot. Bring cool water and a hat and be prepared to be very hot!

During the cruise, we saw a lot of crocodiles, including a very large male croc, called Boofhead. We also witnessed a large herd of feral buffalo damaging the soft riverbank. They are both dangerous to humans in the park as well as extremely destructive to the park ecosystem. They were not easy to photograph as they stayed back from the river bank. Culling these feral buffaloes is not an easy task as the large carcasses will need to be disposed off. There are actually a lot of feral animals in Kakadu National Park. These pigs, horses, buffalo, etc are not native and alter the ecosystem by living there. There may even be some feral chickens in the park as I awoke in the morning by the crowing of a rooster!

There were birds aplenty to see during the Yellow Water Cruise. We saw elegant, white, egrets, Nankeen Night Herons hunting at the waters edge, Australasian Darters and Whistling Kites. There were large groups of Plumed Whistling Ducks squawking noisily at each other. The most memorable is the stunning tiny Azure Kingfisher darting from a riverbank tree to the water’s surface to hunt. The kingfisher is a deep blue and orange colour and it was so tiny and fast!

As the light changed and the searing heat eased, the tour guide ensured that we got to experience the sunset at a magical floodplain location. Those with expensive camera lenses could take lowlight sunset photos with a saltwater crocodile, native Jabiru bird and gorgeous sunset in the frame!

An Egret – Picture taken at the departure point of the Yellow River Cruise at Kakadu National Park
Boofhead, large male crocodile on the Yellow River Cruise
Yellow Water Cruise – sunset
Sunset on the Yellow Water Cruise
Nourlangie Lookout – Kakadu National Park – Australia is a vast country!
Nourlangie Lookout Walk

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