Barramundi Gorge or Maguk (mar gook) is one the few places in Kakadu where a waterfall flows all year round. From the Kakadu Highway, a drive of about 12 km along a 4WD track brings you to the start of the one kilometre walking trail to the gorge and falls. The soft-adventure and backpacker tours stop there. They stop — and they miss the magic that lies beyond.
On our bushwalks, we leave the trails behind and hike into the wilderness, passing a number of pools we can have to ourselves. We continue our trek and soon find ourselves in a broad sandy valley where, from mid dry season onwards, the only visible water is in a few isolated pools. Time to turn back? No way!
In the paperbark forest here, we sometimes see huge flocks of black cockatoos feeding in the trees. That's reason enough to continue, but there is better to come. Our trek eventually brings us to the Emerald Pool shown above and at right. It is larger, clearer and shadier than the tourist pool hours below.
Better still, we usually have the pool to ourselves.
There is more. On a backpacking tour where you actually carry a pack, you are free from deadlines, free to camp in any one of the many beautiful places you pass. We hike up one creek, across a plateau and trek down to another where we camp in the shade of huge Allosyncarpia trees. You have a swim and relax by the fire as we cook you a three course meal.
As an aside, Allosyncarpia ternata, known as An-Binik, to the local Aboriginal people, is the best shade tree in the park. It was first described by Ludwig Leichhardt when he crossed what is now part of Kakadu in 1845. It was not officially described by modern science until 1981. There must still be things to be discovered as you trek through this wonderful landscape.
Trekking across the plateau between campsites takes us past another deep gorge, a small rock shelter, and through a variety of different environments. It's such a nice area that on some of the longer trips, we might set up camp somewhere along the way, perhaps hiking down the gorge mentioned here.
The pool at left is the one next to the campsite above. Sadly, we have yet to take a photo which does the campsite justice. Perhaps such a photo is an impossible dream.
All but one of our Circle Trips pass through parts of the Barramundi system.
Several of our Highlights Trips include a Barramundi Creek hike as one of the sections. The bushwalks on some of the Highlights Trips combine Barramundi with the headwaters of Waterfall Creek with its incredible rock formations and Aboriginal art sites. On those trips, if water levels permit, you can swim through a small cave and listen to the music of the water as it trickles through.
For details of which Highlights trips visit Barramundi Creek, see our Kakadu trips list.
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