Only an hour south-east of Darwin, but feeling like a whole other world away, the Djukbinj National Park (pronounced jook-binj) sits on the Arnhem Highway, east of Humpty Doo. Home to a section of the Adelaide River, Djukbinj is an important roosting and feeding habitat for a range of waterbirds including magpie geese, egrets and brolgas, as well as other wildlife.
The park is a traditional hunting ground for the Limilngan people, who today manage the park in partnership with Parks and Wildlife. Access to the park is limited between December and March due to the area receiving 90% of its annual rain fall during this time.
Jumping Crocodile Cruise
Just as you enter the Djukbinj area, near Wak Wak, you’ll find two jumping crocodile cruise options – The Original Adelaide River Queen Jumping Crocodile Cruise and Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise. Both companies run a number of one-hour cruises throughout the day, giving you the chance to see a range of crocodiles, and see them leap into the air. Get your cameras ready – this is a must do when in the area.
Fogg Dam is 20 minutes from the entrance to Djukbinj National Park and is one of the most accessible places in the Top End to see amazing wetlands and wildlife year-round. A variety of birds call the dam wall home, while you’ll also spot water pythons, freshwater turtles, dusky rates and more. Take time to visit the bird hides on the dam wall, and take a walk to Pandanus Knoll Lookout where you can view a spectacular sunrise or sunset over the wetlands.
Leaning Tree Lagoon Nature Park
Perfect for a lunch time stop, the Leaning Tree Lagoon is located just off the Arnhem Highway close to Djukbinj National Park. This large natural lagoon connects with the other waterways in the floodplain during the wet season, however during the dry season it is cut off from these other waterways and becomes an important wetland area for plants and animals. Spot the green pigmy geese among other unique native wildlife while having lunch and keep an eye out for the saltwater crocs that inhabit this area.
The National Park has a scenic drive through a network of floodplains and billbongs from Scotts Creek through to Twin Billabong. Scotts Creek supports a range of aquatic wildlife and is best visited during the early dry season. This allows you to see the creek while it is still flowing, giving you a chance to see the file snakes migrating upstream, as well as the abundance of fish. Twin Billabong is the largest billabongs in the park, and during the dry season divides into two different billabongs.
Other stops include Little Sister Billabong, located right next to the road and home to waterlilies early in the dry season. Calf Billabong is a lovely place to stop for morning tea or lunch under the shade of a tree. As saltwater crocodiles inhabit this area, it is wise to steer clear of the water edge, with no swimming in the creeks, river and billabongs.
Photography & Bird Watching
As with many of the National Parks in the Northern Territory there is plenty of opportunities for photography and bird watching. You may spot a buffalo (introduced to the area in the late 1880’s), magpie geese, herons, waterbirds and the blue winged kookaburra amongst many other wildlife species.
At just an hour out of Darwin, Djukbinj National Park is perfect for a day trip, or for a stop on your way to Kakadu.