AFF member Sludge321 recently flew to Darwin, using the opportunity to visit the stunning Kakadu National Park. This member has taken the time to write a great trip report about their experience in Australia’s top end.
The flight from Perth to Darwin was funded by using the free Virgin Australia flight that comes with the ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures credit card. With this card it’s possible to book a free return Virgin flight to Darwin from 5 Australian cities – Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane or Alice Springs. Our member was also able to upgrade to Business by bidding for an upgrade. The minimum bid of $140 was accepted.
After a pleasant morning flight over the Australian outback, Sludge321 picked up a hire car for the 3-hour drive from Darwin to Jabiru in the Kakadu National Park.
The drive was very pleasant (and I normally hate driving) – beautiful scenery, empty roads, and only one road train to pass.
I stopped briefly to stretch my legs and buy a park pass at the Aurora Kakadu roadhouse/resort. The pass costs $40 per person, and must be kept on you as you may be asked to present it.
Accor Hotels has a rather unique property located in Jabiru, a small town in Kakadu National Park. The 4-star Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel is literally shaped like a crocodile. The hotel is showing its age a little but the staff were great. Free breakfast, late checkout and a unique welcome gift are offered to Platinum Accor Le Club members.
The Mercure Crocodile Hotel in Jabiru was expensive for what it was (and I believe I booked during a sale possibly). The building is certainly a novelty, but it’s quite old, stained, and the shower fixture wobbled. The switch for the bedside lamp was dodgy and crackled loudly. The room had very bad noise isolation – I heard some interesting sounds from the room next door one night (almost as if they were in the same room as me!). The bed wasn’t particularly comfortable. But it was all still ok – the room was large, it was clean, and I certainly don’t mind staying at ‘cheaper’ establishments – if in fact they are actually cheap!
From Jabiru, our member set out each morning to explore a different part of the vast Kakadu National Park. There are plenty of native animals to see, as well as Aboriginal rock art, waterfalls and stunning scenery to boot. There are several rivers within Kakadu, but – as tempting as it may be when it’s 36 degrees outside – they’re named Alligator Rivers for a reason!
I then went for a look at Cahills Crossing, where the road crosses the East Alligator River to Arnhem Land. There were a few brave soles fishing from the road. It didn’t take long before a big estuarine croc surfaced and swam along the far bank (only around 10-15m away from the crossing), but it didn’t seem to phase any of those fishing.
This top end trip report includes some great photos of Australia’s unique Kakadu National Park. Check out the full trip report on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: A trip to Kakadu and Darwin