Hiking in Kakadu National Park

Many years ago, a young school boy of about 10 years old was sitting in school room in small country town learning about Captain Cook and the discovery of Australia. It was a fresh change from boring spelling tests and maths, finally here was something interesting. I sat, wide eyed and imagined a tall sailing ship after having travelled half way around the world, entering a isolated bay surrounded by trees and wilderness, and a bunch of men stepping from a small row boat onto an Australian beach for the first time, wow, what a fantastic feeling that must have been. Complete wilderness, unknown landscapes and adventure. I asked my teacher if he thought that there might be any places still undiscovered? For I had just worked out what I wanted to do when I grew up!

It took another 35 years, but in 2012 I had my captain cook moment.

Not on a boat or even a beach, but deep inside the wilderness of Kakadu National Park. I had a pack on my back full of food, a couple of small camping items a map and a group of men with various degrees of hiking experience

One of the most amazing things that I have done in the world of adventure travel, is a 7 day hiking adventure in Kakadu National Park in 2012.

We hiked from Barramundi Gorge to Jim Jim Falls, a distance of around 140km. We carried all food and gear, we emerged exhausted, but we were all a bit richer and knew we’d look back on the trip with fond memories. I do, especially when I’m back at work poking away at this key board!

What I really liked about the trip, was the complete lack of anything man made, apart from a couple of planes flying over during the week, it was 100% wilderness. It was 2012, but it could have been 1970, it could have been 1903 when my grandmother was born, or even year 1. We saw no signs, roads, tracks, fences, man made noise (apart from the men I was walking with!)

Complete isolation is still possible in many places, central Australian and the outback for example, however rarely is this total isolation combined with absolutely spectacular wilderness. I’m talking waterfalls, wild rivers, views of endless forest, sculptured sandstone landscapes which take you breath away.

It’s funny, I’ve always resented seeing any signs of man when I am in the wilderness, part of me likes to think that I am the first one there, which clearly in 2012 is a luxury that few of us can even dream of, unlike the explorers of the past who pushed the boundaries at the frontiers.

The answer to the question I asked as a 10 year old, were there any more undiscovered places? He answered probably not in the day of the aircraft, sorry son.  Things have progressed and we now have Google Earth!

I really love the sense of discovery, in my mid twenties I discovered tour guiding and frustrated my employers by constantly going off the advertised tour route in search of new and interesting places, my passengers loved it of course as they were doing something different to just about every other tourist.


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