The Kakadu Escarpment country is a vast wilderness area in the Top End of Australia. Our exploratory trek takes us from Jarrangbarnmi (Koolpin Gorge) to the tranquil Maguk.
Join us on this challenging 7 day full pack exploratory hike, for a unique opportunity to explore the heart of the remote and beautiful southern Kakadu country. This wilderness adventure trek covers approximately 50km between the Koolpin Gorge and Maguk.
The landscapes are diverse featuring rock plateaus, woodlands, paperbark forests, escarpment country and highland creeks. Koolpin Gorge (Jarrangbarnmi) is located on a south facing part of the main escarpment in southern Kakadu and descends from the plateau and escarpment country in the valley of the upper South Alligator River. The name Jarrangbarnmi comes from the Jawoyn words jarrang meaning flood, or big water flow, and barn meaning rift or gap. The gorge and spectacular surrounding country are exceptionally beautiful, with many rare and/or endemic plant and animal species.
Our trek is unmarked and exploratory in nature giving us the freedom to discover this unique country with the aid of maps and a compass. There is no set itinerary; we are privileged to journey together through this beautiful country, exploring a remote wilderness where few venture.
Day 1 : Depart Darwin, Kakadu National Park, camp Koolpin Gorge | 4-5hrs driving
Day 2 to 6 : Follow Koolpin and Barramundi Creeks to Maguk | approx 50kms + exploring over 5 days
Day 7 : Maguk, return to Darwin | 5-8kms + 6hrs driving
- 6 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 6 dinners.
- All delicious snacks on the trail.
- 2 experienced professional wilderness guides.
- All national park permits and camping fees.
- All camping equipment including mosquito net, sleeping mat and sleeping bag.
- All catering equipment including cutlery, cups, plates, bowls.
- Emergency satellite communication/navigation equipment.
- Wilderness first aid equipment and supplies.
- Transport from Darwin and return.
- This is a small group off-track trek for experienced hikers.
- Gear hire available
NOTES TO CONSIDER
Our 7 day Koolpin Explorer trek is a demanding walk, we advise you to do as much training as you can before your tour with us. The more you train for the walk the easier you will handle the terrain and the more you will enjoy this wonderful part of the world. It’s also important to come along with an open mind ready for an awesome experience whatever the weather, whoever the group.
We need to stress that this is a demanding hike – there is no vehicle support once you have been dropped at the start,
and you need to feel confident carrying a full pack weighing around 18kg. The other factor in Kakadu is the heat and humidity – while we try to walk in the coolest parts of the day, you need to be prepared for temperatures in the high 20s/low 30s and relatively high humidity.
It is very important that you bring the right gear for the conditions. A comprehensive gear list is included on the itinerary. Quality backpacks are available for hire. If you are at all concerned about your ability to do this walk, please feel free to call one of us here at Trek Tours Australia for more advice.
DAY 1 : DEPART DARWIN, KAKADU NATIONAL PARK, CAMP KOOLPIN GORGE.
Pick up Darwin hotels between 7.30am and 8am. We drive south along the Stuart Highway, stopping off for a coffee & a leg stretch. We continue to Kakadu National Park, and after enjoying a delicious lunch we make our way to Koolpin Gorge where we set up camp giving us an opportunity to explore the gorge area. The gorge and surrounding country supports a rich and diverse range of fauna including several small mammals, birds and reptiles of conservation significance (e.g. the Kakadu Dunnart, Calaby’s Mouse, Hooded Parrots and Chestnut-quilled Rock Pigeons). The track leading into the area passes through a stand of the rare and restricted Eucalyptus Koolpinensis. Your guides will prepare a delicious dinner, followed by a detailed tour briefing.
4-5hrs driving | exploring at Koolpin Gorge Meals: Lunch, Dinner
DAY 2 TO 6 : FOLLOW KOOLPIN AND BARRAMUNDI CREEKS TO MAGUK.
After brekky and packing up camp our adventure begins. For the next 5 days we follow Koolpin & Barramundi Creeks. Expect rocky plateaus, hillsides dotted with dry land eucalypts, pockets of paperbark forests and stunning waterholes offering us some cooling relief. This is spectacular country. We camp in areas where very few have been before. We are also introduced to some rare Aboriginal art along the trail. The southern part of the park is traditionally divided among three closely related Jawoyn clans: Bolmo, Wurrkbaba and Matjba. This area is within the traditional domain of the Jawoyn language group. The hike is untracked; your expert wilderness guides will be utilising map and compass navigation along the way. On average we expect to trek approximately 10 kilometres per day in untracked and remote areas, with a final camp destination in mind each day. We aim to reach camp early afternoon giving us time to relax, swim, read and enjoy the beauty of our remote wilderness surrounds. This provides an opportunity to further explore our stunning surrounds near camp, while deepening our conncetion to this ancient wonderland. Each campsite has its own fresh water source.
approximately 50kms + exploring over 5 days Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 7 : MAGUK RETURN TO DARWIN
The walk out from our camp this morning continues along Barramundi Creek, then descends from the escarpment, bringing us to Maguk (Barramundi Gorge). Here we enjoy our last swim for the trek in another breathtaking plunge pool, before our final 1km of walking. Transfer to Darwin with a lunch stop on the way, arriving approximately 5pm.
Walking: 5-8kms | 2-3hrs, 6hrs driving to Darwin Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Australian Walking Track Grade 4 and 5 – Very experienced bushwalkers with specialised skills, including navigation and emergency first aid. Terrain is very rough, very steep and unmarked. No directional signage and Nil designated trails.
Our Kakadu treks are in the Kakadu Stone country high atop the remote Arnhemland escarpment. The terrain experienced is completely off track, at times through high grass bush, following seasonal animal trails and balancing along dense creek and river beds across rocky, uneven terrain.
As most of our guests are travelling from significantly cooler and less humid parts of Australia, the Top End walking weather is the main challenge. Couple this with a full pack in uneven, off track terrain is what all walkers need to adapt to. We recommend arriving in Darwin at least 2 days prior to your trek to do some exploring locally to get acclimatised to the heat. We recommend being well hydrated before embarking on the days walk. This includes being well hydrated the day before and importantly taking on water regularly on the vehicle transfer to the start of the walk. We trek close to running water during our Kakadu treks, so frequent cooling down and hydration are key parts of every days walking.
WHAT YOU CARRY
On the 7 day Koolpin Explorer trek you will be required to carry all your equipment in a full trekking pack that is 70-90 litres in capacity. This includes sleeping bag, inflatable sleeping mat, mosquito dome, a proportion of the group’s food supplies and all personal items as specified in our gear list. Depending on the quality and quantity of personal gear and toiletries, your pack may weigh up to 18kg. A comprehensive gear list is available on the downloadable itinerary and details what equipment/clothing is included in the tour cost, what items are available for hire and what you will need to bring with you.
A pre-trip briefing and a full gear check with your guides the afternoon before your Koolpin Explorer trek departs will ensure you have the right mix of gear for your adventure. Please make your way to the NT General Store, 42 Cavenagh Street Darwin at 4PM the day before your trip, bringing your pack and what you intend to bring on your trek.
Our 7 day Koolpin Explorer trek is a demanding hike, we advise you to do as much training as you can before your tour with us. The more you train for this adventure the easier you will handle the terrain and the more you will enjoy this wonderful part of the world. It’s also important to come along with an open mind ready for an awesome experience whatever the weather, whoever the group. We need to stress that this is a demanding hike – there is no vehicle support once you have been dropped at the start, and you need to feel confident carrying a full pack weighing 17/18kg. The other factor in Kakadu is the heat and humidity – while we try to walk in the coolest parts of the day, you need to be prepared for temperatures in the high 20s/low 30s and relatively high humidity. It is very important that you bring the right gear for the conditions. A comprehensive gear list is included at the end of this itinerary. Quality backpacks and walking poles are available for hire. If you are at all concerned about your ability to do this walk, please feel free to call one of us here at Trek Tours Australia for more advice (1300 133 278)