12.08.2017 - 14.08.2017 34 °C
A long five hour drive from Garig Gunak Barlu National Park saw us arrive in Jabiru around midday where we needed to get some supplies and fuel before setting up camp at Kakadu Lodge again for an overnight stay. The following day we were headed to Gunlom to stay for two nights but first we detoured 12km off the bitumen to have a look at Maguk. The dirt road in was heavily corrugated so the short drive was bone shaking but worth the effort as Maguk is a beautiful spot.
An easy shaded 1km walk takes you through monsoon rainforest beside the crystal clear creek to a waterfall flowing into a large pool which is a lovely swimming spot. There were probably a dozen people at the falls when we arrived and after a nice swim we made our way back to the car park where a tow truck from Katherine was about to load a 2wd car onto its tray. Why people in stock standard 2wd cars drive on these tracks which are clearly marked 4wd only is baffling, the cost to tow that car back to Katherine would be enormous. On the way in we passed a hired 2wd campervan driving out at snail’s pace trying to avoid the suspension disintegrating, what is wrong with these people, they haven’t got a clue.
Gunlom has a huge campground which had a small number of campers there during our stay so we were able to get a nice shady spot. The view of the escarpment from camp and the surrounding woodlands makes for a picturesque campground. Our timing for driving on freshly graded roads has been impeccable and Gunlom was no exception, the road in was excellent having been freshly graded. After setting up camp and some lunch it was down to the plunge pool which is just a short stroll from camp to cool down in the huge pool. Later that afternoon we climbed the rocky track up to the top of the falls and swam in the infinity pool which gives amazing views out over the surrounding hills and woodlands. We stayed up there until sunset which just had a little cloud to make it a colourful end to a great day.
Next morning we drove out to the Yurmikmik walking tracks car park to walk the 8km return track out to Motorcar Falls. This walk is quite easy but you wouldn’t want to do it in the afternoon heat as there is very little shade. It took us about an hour to walk in to this quiet shady pocket of rainforest with a crystal clear deep pool beneath high cliffs with a small amount of water cascading down the rock face. The water temperature was just perfect for cooling down from the walk and to have a swim in the clear turquoise water. We had the falls all to ourselves for half an hour before another couple arrived and passed no other walkers on our way out.
Gunlom was the highlight of Kakadu for us, the beauty here is stunning, there is easy access to great swimming holes, the campground is excellent and it was totally uncrowded. Motorcar Falls should not be missed if staying at Gunlom. We have thoroughly enjoyed our time in Kakadu and sad it has to end but we have a lot more of Oz to see yet and we need to keep moving.