For the first time, drones have been allowed to fly inside Kakadu National Park — Australia’s largest national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Territory.
And the results are gorgeous.
Created by Australia production company Salty Wings and Tourism Northern Territory (NT), “A Journey Through Kakadu” is a series of bird’s-eye view videos highlighting the park’s top attractions, from pristine plunge pools at Gunlom Falls to the sandstone cliffs of the Arnhem Land Plateau and 20,000-year-old rock art.
“Kakadu isn’t only a dual heritage national park but also the home to many Aboriginal people who have been the traditional land owners for thousands of years,” Robert Crack, director of international operations for Tourism NT, tells CNN.
“Restrictions on filming are put in place to respect the land and the ancient culture, as well as to enforce the protection of Australia’s national parks.”
Residing in Kakadu for more than 50,000 years, Australia’s Aboriginal people — Bininj in the north and Mungguy in the south — represent the oldest living culture on Earth.
They own more than half of the land in the park and still play a major role in managing it. Giving Tourism NT the green light to send up a drone has revealed the 20,000-square-kilometer park’s stunning beauty like never before.
A journey through Kakadu
Tourism NT hopes “A Journey Through Kakadu” will boost tourism in the area.
“Most international visitors to Australia don’t make it to the Northern Territory at all, and those who do often prioritize the Red Center and places like Uluru,” says Crack.
“Part of the reason we wanted to make this video is to show that, yes, you should visit Uluru, but also don’t miss this spectacular destination in the Northern Territory’s Top End.”
The vast park is home to more than 2,000 plant and animal species including the endemic Partridge pigeon and both salt and freshwater crocodiles. Over 10,000 of them, to be specific — a tenth of the entire Northern Territory’s croc population. (Not to worry, warning signs are in abundance.)
The best time to visit is from May to mid-August (for cooler weather), or from mid-August to mid-October (for warmer weather).
Travelers can either get to Kakadu by organized coach tours or by hire a car from Darwin or Katherine, the nearest major urban centers to the park. It’s about an hour and 45 minutes drive from Darwin. There are visitor centers throughout the park.