Wildlife of Kakadu National Park

Posted: 26 September 2019 | Updated: 26 September 2019

Travel to the heart of Australia’s Top End and you will find what can only be described as a natural paradise. World Heritage listed for its breathtaking landscape, flourishing wildlife and Aboriginal cultural significance, Kakadu National Park is a dream location for those who love the outdoors.

Located at the junction of Jim Jim Creek and the South Alligator River is Kakadu's largest and most famous wetland consisting of river channels, floodplains and swamps. Bursting with native flora and fauna, Yellow Water Billabong is regarded one of the best wildlife viewing experiences in Australia.

Walk onto the Yellow Water Billabong Cruise boat and you may notice a few ‘twitchers’ amongst the crowd. Sporting long lenses on their cameras and full notepads, these twitchers are in the optimal location for their sport, as around a third of Australia's bird species can be found in Kakadu. With more than 280 species of bird found in the park and at least 60 found in the wetlands alone, everyone who visits is guaranteed to leave with a newfound appreciation for native birdlife.

Keep an eye out for white bellied sea eagles, the beautiful blue Azue Kingfisher (if your eyes are fast enough!), the jacana, blue-winged kookaburra, black necked stock (jabiru), and the elegant egret amongst the lily pads.

While many are there to spot the flurry of colour birdlife, the remainder are keen to see (while staying far away from the edge) the world’s largest reptile. Needing no introduction is the saltwater crocodile. With some growing to over six metres long and weighing over 1,000kg, the Yellow Water Billabong is the ultimate location to see these prehistoric creatures in their natural habitat. Spot them sunbaking on the banks of the wetland, gliding through the muddy waters, or looking for their next meal.

116 other species of reptiles have also been recorded in Kakadu National Park, including the smaller freshwater crocodile, 36 species of land snakes, four of which are considered lethal, 11 types of turtle and 11 species of monitor lizards.

An unlikely character you may also encounter from the safety of your cruise boat is the water buffalo.

Whether it’s spotting the enigmatic azure kingfisher resting on a branch, being greeted by fluttering butterflies as you walk the track to the Gunlom plunge pool, or the moment you realise you are less than one metre away from an unknown amount of saltwater crocodiles, there are truly so many WOW moments to experience when you visit Kakadu.

If you are stuck on deciding which Australian national park to visit for your next holiday, make it Kakadu. We promise you won’t regret it!

Discover our tours that visit Kakadu National Park here.

By Laura Vitucci for AAT Kings