Day 172 | day at Koolpin Gorge: Just the 5.5 hour walk up the gorge today

rest day

There’s a saying I’ve heard more than once from a few disappointed tourists in Kakadu: Kaka don’t.

Well, they should get out and about some more.

You can’t see too many of the attractions from the seat in your method of transportation. Most delights require some effort, often Moderate Effort, to see.

Koolpin Gorge is quite a way off the main highway: there’s 60 km of corrugated dirt road, with one crossing of the upper East Alligator River to get your feet wet, until you get to the locked gate and then a 10km 4WD track into the campsite with another river crossing.

Some organisation is required in that you are supposed to have obtained a camping permit and picked up the key for the gate. Only 14 groups are allowed in there at a time. I got lucky: I applied for and then waited for my permit at the southern Kakadu entry point, and avoided having to take a key, which meant I didn’t have to backtrack to return it.

Even from the campsite you still have to walk for a bit to get the full impact of the gorge.

But it’s pretty easy to rave about the Koolpin Gorge even though it’s not anywhere near the size of the Katherine Gorge in scale. It’s the start of an unmarked 5 day walk to Jim Jim Falls so you can wander up the gorge as far as you want. I spent the day heading up to the 3rd waterfall and then a bit further where the gorge had just turned into a creek at the top of the escarpment. Those first 3 sections of gorges are just spectacular.

The water is a cool green colour and crystal clear. When you get a sweat up it’s jump in the river time. How good is that?

Make a bit of an effort tourists and don’t complain.