Yellow Water Cruise In Kakadu, NT – Visitor’s Guide

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Hop on board a Yellow Water Cruise and get a taste of Kakadu National Park, a 20,000km² nature reserve in the Northern Territory that boasts a plethora of magical landscapes, from ancient rainforests to sprawling wetlands and everything in between.

The park is divided into seven distinct eco-regions, from East Alligator to Nourlangie and Yellow Water, each region has its own unique features and natural attractions.

In the heart of it all sits Yellow Water Billabong which forms part of the South Alligator River system, although there are no alligators in Australia. They’re all crocs!

The wildlife at the Yellow Water Billabong is second to none. Covering vast wetlands, it is home to numerous species of native creatures that thrive in this environment.

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OVERVIEW – YELLOW WATER CRUISE KAKADU

Visiting Kakadu National Park is an incredible experience.

Not only is there an extensive amount of history and culture to soak up in the park, but the landscape surrounding the Yellow Water Billabong is also one of the best places to experience all of it.

Whether you are on the hunt for wildlife, want to see some of Australia’s most surreal landscapes, or simply want to try your hand at fishing, the billabong has you covered.

To get to see the breathtaking area around the waterways from a different perspective, hop on a billabong cruise and discover the truly remarkable landscape.

The Indigenous-owned Yellow Water Cruises will provide you with a discovery tour through the dramatic scenery and ever-changing landscape of the world-famous Yellow Water Billabong that you will never forget.

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Up close and personal

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WHERE IS THE YELLOW WATER CRUISE

Yellow Water Billabong is part of the South Alligator River system, located at the end of Jim Jim Creek.

The river system is unique as it is included in its entirety within a UNESCO World Heritage-listed National Park.

This is one of the must-do cruises while visiting Kakadu National Park.

The cruise departs from Cooinda, which is 55 km from the township of Jabiru, the only town situated in the park.

Yellow Water Cruises operate exclusively on the billabong.

yellow water cruise map

BEST TIME TO VISIT YELLOW WATER BILLABONG

The north of the Australian Outback has a tropical climate, meaning a distinct dry and wet season, so any time of the year has advantages and disadvantages to traveling around Kakadu.

The transitional periods between the dry and wet seasons April – May, and September – October are arguably the best time of the year to visit Kakadu National Park.

Between April and June, waterfalls are usually pumping from their wet season top-up.

At the end of the dry season, before the first rains, huge numbers of birds and lots of other wildlife congregate around the receding waterholes.

There are up to 6 cruises a day at various times with 1 ½ hour cruises and 2-hour cruises on offer.

The 2-hour Yellow River Cruise Kakadu is well worth it as they take you out on the billabong for sunrise or sunset, which are the best times to do the cruise as it gets very hot during the day.

Due to its popularity, I highly recommend booking your tour in advance to secure your spot on the boat.

You might even want to consider planning your trip to coincide with Kakadu Bird Week. There are special Bird Week cruises at 4:30 pm (1-3 September and 26-28 September), which focus on the vast birdlife around the billabong.

There are guided bird-watching tours through the East Alligator River, South Alligator River, Nourlangie, and Mary River.

The Crocodile Hotel and Cooinda Lodge both offer special discounts on accommodation during Bird Week.

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Saltwater croc in Yellow Water Billabong

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BOOK THE YELLOW WATER CRUISE

Prices for the tour are very reasonable, $90 per adult, $65 per child, and children under the age of 4 can participate for free.

BOOK NOW → YELLOW WATER CRUISES

MEETING POINT FOR THE YELLOW WATER CRUISE

The meeting point is located at Cooinda Lodge Kakadu, just a 5-minute drive from the Yellow Water Billabong.

There is a large car park with plenty of free parking spaces available, as well as toilet amenities and a cafe.

A shuttle bus will pick you up from the front of Cooinda Lodge and chauffeur everyone down to the boats to begin the cruise.

RELATED ARTICLE → NAWURLANDJA LOOKOUT

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Cruising down the billabong

WHAT TO EXPECT ON YELLOW WATER CRUISES

This is one of the most popular and unique activities when visiting Kakadu and due to the ever-changing landscape, it will be a completely different experience for every tour.

Many people do two cruises at different times to experience and see the changes. The cruise moves super slowly, so there’s plenty of time to take photos from all different angles.

On the tour, you will be provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the Saltwater Crocodile in its natural habitat.

You will most likely see more of these impressive, prehistoric creatures than you can count and you might even spot a buffalo on the floodplains.

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A very curious saltwater croc

If you are a bird lover, Kakadu will be a paradise for you as it is home to one-third of Australia’s bird species. An impressive amount of 60 species can be found in the wetlands.

On the cruise, some of the birds you may encounter are Whistling Ducks, Magpie Geese, five different species of Kingfisher, Jabirus, and Brolgas.

Australian Geographic has voted Kakadu the number one bird-watching destination in Australia.

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Osprey eagle in Kakadu
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Cruising the billabong
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A colorful Kingfisher

WHERE TO STAY IN KAKADU

LUXURY: MERCURE KAKADU CROCODILE HOTEL

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MID-RANGE: COOINDA LODGE KAKADU

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MID-RANGE: AURORA LODGE KAKADU

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WHAT TO PACK FOR NORTHERN TERRITORY

When visiting NT, here is a list of items I highly recommend bringing with you:

Must-Have Travel Essentials

Hidden Money Wallet

anti theft money belt

Keep your cash and other valuables safe with this anti-theft hidden money wallet!


Reusable Water Bottle

grayl geopress

The GRAYL GeoPress is the best reusable bottle that allows you to purify water from anywhere!


Travel Backpack

Nomatic 20L Bag

The Nomatic Travel Backpack has 20+ innovative features, perfect for everyday use!


Quick-Dry Travel Towel

travel towel

The most compact, lightweight, and quick-dry towel for traveling!


Portable PowerBank

anker powerbank

Keep your phone, laptop, and accessories charged while you’re on the go with the Anker PowerBank!

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Whatever expectations you might have of this activity, I dare to say they will be exceeded and you will have the experience of a lifetime.

The magic of nature around Yellow Water Billabong is incomparable anywhere else and I guarantee it will be an adventure you’ll never forget.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

For a quicker response, be sure to join Jonny Melon’s Travel Tribe on Facebook and post your questions or recommendations to our awesome community.

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TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or it’s your first trip overseas, here are some useful travel resources to help you kick-start your next adventure!

bookingcom

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Book buses, trains, and transfers online in advance.


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Need travel insurance for your next trip?

THANKS FOR READING

Hey friend, thanks for reading this guide!

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Many thanks!

This trip was in association with NT Tourism and Backyard Bandits.

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