Rumour had it that you couldn’t swim in the NT. I’m here to let you know that this definitely isn’t true! Yes there is the croc risk, but what could be safer than swimming in a natural infinity pool at the top of a waterfall. One of our favourite hikes in Kakadu National Park was Gunlom falls. There are two hikes and swimming opportunities here. The Gunlom Plunge Pool is only a 200m flat grade track to the large pool at the base of the falls. If you so wish, you can recreate scenes from Crocodile Dundee, where it was filmed in this pool over thirty years ago. There are picnic areas nearby, shaded by tall gum trees and it makes for some great bird watching.
The alternative is the Gunlom Lookout Walk - a 1km steep track which takes you up and over the waterfall to the series of pools at the top. The walk itself only takes 15/20mins but it is a pretty rough climb. Once at the top of the escarpment the amazing views over Southern Kakadu are worth the sweaty climb and there are signs along the track explaining the geology and landscape. Follow the track another 100m from here and you will reach a series of rock pools and a small waterfall. Gunlom is often listed as a “must do” of Kakadu National Park, so don’t expect to have the place to yourself; early starts are your friend. Beat the tours and the backpackers by getting up before the sun and enjoying sunrise at the top of the falls.
Access to Gunlom is via a 40km unsealed track. While probably possible in a 2WD, it’s definitely not recommended - the corrugations can get very bad after a busy weekend. There is a great campsite near the base of the falls, complete with hot water showers.