Darwin wave pool

Darwin and Kakadu: Beauty Overcomes the Beast (Photo Essay)

Today guest author and photographer, Judy Brandt takes us to a region that I've always been curious about. The Northern Territory's tropical climate, exciting wildlife and dramatic landscapes are waiting for adventurous visitors to the continent. Come along on a journey to Kakadu National Park and Darwin in Australia.

What you see is a lovely seaside resort town. The sea is a beautiful turquoise, and the vegetation is tropical. Darwin is the entrance to the world of the Northern Territory and Kakadu National Park. What lies beneath? It’s intriguing as you uncover the layers and see man’s adaptation to deadly threats from ancient times to this day.

Darwin wave pool

This is not a beach. Due to salt water  crocodiles and deadly jellyfish, it’s  too dangerous to swim in the sea or practically anywhere nearby—so Darwin has built a large wave pool at the waterfront—and it turns out to be a lot of fun!

Caroline Numina Painting and digiridoo

All of Darwin turns out for their Sunset Market every week. There is a major presence of local Aboriginal artists, and we were delighted to buy this painting and this digeridoo—direct from the source.

Darwin military museum

World War II is very much in the consciousness of the historians of  Darwin. Having no air defences, Darwin’s claim to fame is that it was the only Australian town bombed 64 times in raids by the Japanese in 1942. At the Military Museum we found extensive exhibits and information: searchlights , bunkers and old military vehicles on the grounds.

darwin military museum

darwin military museum

15 ft high Kakadu

Fifteen-foot high termite mounds greet you at Kakadu National Park.


A Jabiru, a large water bird, just caught a fish.

Crocodiles share the idyllic water landscape...

crocodile northern territory australia

crocodile lily pond

...lots of crocodiles. Strolling by the riverbank is not recommended.

crocodile kakadu

crocodile riverbank

Sea Eagles

Sea Eagles

flood plain kakadu

During the rainy season this entire flood plain is filled with water.

This wall painting is 5,000 years old. It is of a now-extinct Tasmanian Tiger which used to roam in Northern Australia.

These photos depict the remarkable beauty of wall paintings. Many were painted over and over on the same spot since ancient times.

wall paintings kakadu

kakadu wall paintings

Aboriginal spear throwing

Our Aboriginal tour guide demonstrates his spear throwing. It went at least 75 feet, and floats in the water for easy pick-up.

waterhole and waterfall Kakadu

No swimming at this beautiful waterhole and waterfall.

no swimming sign northern territory Australia crocodiles

Darwin and Kakadu, a great combination of contrasts

Bio: Judy Brandt is a graphic and product designerfine art photographer and lover of all things visual. A native of New York City, she now lives in Melbourne, Australia, which provides her an excellent base for exploring Asia and Australia. Her latest project is EarRapps.


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6 years ago

Great post. In Darwin, I enjoyed underwater diving in between crocodile. That was remarkable adventure which is always with me for the lest of life. The place is perfect for strong heart people who love adventure and thrill.

8 years ago

Great tips. We plan our Australia trip this year. We also want to go to Darvin. I like visiting national parks. That why we would put a visit of Kakadu National Park in our program.

Best regards

8 years ago
Reply to  Simon

Cheers, Simon – John’s parents were just there in Darwin and Kakadu and really enjoyed it!

9 years ago

I really like Australia, but I haven’t been to Northern Australia yet. It looks so vastly different from most of what I’ve seen. The crocodiles look awesome, but a bit scary too!

9 years ago

I would love to check out the top end but I never had a chance the few times I went to oz, although I may just have second thoughts after seeing the size of those crocodiles!

9 years ago

Australia seems so awesome. Your photos are so inspiring! Hopefully I’ll have the chance to go there one day!


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