Off-track walking in Kakadu NP

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SA, WA & NT specific bushwalking discussion. Please avoid publishing details of access to sensitive areas with no tracks.

Off-track walking in Kakadu NP

Postby mandragara » Mon 30 Nov, 2020 3:15 pm

Hi all,

I'll be heading up to Kakadu again this February for a week for my third visit, however I have exhausted virtually every 'on-track' walk.

As the country is so amazing and easily traversible I really want to try some off-track walking in the park, just a couple kms up onto an escarpment and back down again. I know the areas I have in mind are accessible because I've seen them mentioned in flora\fauna surveys of the park, plus no crocs uphill ;)

I was wondering if you had any resources to recommend as to the legality of this. There is scant information on the internet about the NT compared to the other states.

I know of Willis's Walkabouts bushwalking company, but I don't want to contact him if I have no intention of using his services (don't have the time or $)

As with all off-track walks I follow a strict no traces principle and I bleach my shoe soles beforehand.

Many thanks,
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Re: Off-track walking in Kakadu NP

Postby north-north-west » Mon 30 Nov, 2020 3:56 pm

As far as I know, you have to submit a written request, with detailed route notes, to NT Parks. They will then eventually say "yes" or "no". If it's "no", unless procedures have changed, they won't tell you why; usually it's because the route involves culturally sensitive areas.
Of course, things may have changed, but that's how it used to rock.
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Re: Off-track walking in Kakadu NP

Postby ribuck » Mon 30 Nov, 2020 8:21 pm

As NNW says, you can't do it without permission in writing. It may take a long time to get this, as all stakeholders are consulted.

Probably the most practical way is to join a bushwalking club that regularly visits the area.
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Re: Off-track walking in Kakadu NP

Postby mandragara » Mon 30 Nov, 2020 11:11 pm

Hmm that's very restrictive indeed.

Perhaps I'll join a bushwalking club and ask around.

An example of an area I had in mind was the escarpment catchment areas for places like Motor Car Falls etc, not exactly deep into Arnhemland. But who knows what's sacred to the local peoples, my guess is everything and they'd like us all to *&^%$#! off, which honestly is a fair assessment given our current track record of looking after the Bush as a nation...
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Re: Off-track walking in Kakadu NP

Postby ofuros » Tue 01 Dec, 2020 5:26 am

Go straight to the horse's mouth for queries & questions...
https://www.environment.gov.au/resource ... ushwalking

...and for off-track safety, bushwalking on your own apparently isn't allowed & I'm guessing the wet season will see certain areas of the park restricted or closed in February. Contact them anyway, understand what they want from you & you'll probably have a better chance if planning a cool season walk.
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Re: Off-track walking in Kakadu NP

Postby J M » Tue 01 Dec, 2020 3:17 pm

A couple of mates and I spent a bit under a week off track up on the escarpment a few years ago in July.

As others have said, permission is required from parks. I wasn't the person directly dealing with them, but I believe we submitted our proposed route which they then checked to ensure we wouldn't accidentally stumble into any sacred sites or crocs they hadn't removed yet. There were a few rounds of back and forth between our party and them before our route was confirmed (the day before we were due to start - so if you do apply, best to do it with plenty of time to spare). One of our party had walked (with permission) in the area before, which I think helped our application a lot.

Best to give parks a call and get the full story. Best of luck - it's gorgeous up there.
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Re: Off-track walking in Kakadu NP

Postby deadwood » Mon 07 Dec, 2020 7:10 pm

Willis Walkabouts (https://www.bushwalkingholidays.com.au/) also do guided off track walks, if you want someone else to do the hard work of getting permission, organising and knowing which way to go.
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Re: Off-track walking in Kakadu NP

Postby mandragara » Sun 07 Feb, 2021 3:20 pm

deadwood wrote:Willis Walkabouts (https://www.bushwalkingholidays.com.au/) also do guided off track walks, if you want someone else to do the hard work of getting permission, organising and knowing which way to go.


Yes after due consideration I think I'll just save up some cash and get on one of those trips. I considered being a bit 'naughty' but the fact that there is just so many Aboriginal sacred sites in Kakadu I decided not to. Plus I think the NT could use the money after COVID hitting tourism, not a time to be a miser!
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