Kakadu has launched a series of events and accommodation upgrades as it bids for a bigger slice of the booming Australian tourism market.
2018 in the Top End national park sees the return of ‘Flash Camp’ glamping, the staging of the biggest-ever Taste of Kakadu and Kakadu Bird Week festivals, and celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of the Crocodile Hotel.
This year also marks the completion of a major upgrade for Cooinda Lodge, with 32 of the villas being refurbished in time for the peak season.
The property is the base for touring Kakadu, with Yellow Water Cruises and Spirit of Kakadu Adventure tours operating from Cooinda and Warradjan Cultural Centre and tourist sites including Nourlangie, Anbangbang, Twin Falls, Jim Jim and Gunlom best accessed from it.
Flash Camp will return for a new season from June to September, offering bespoke bell tent accommodation in the heart of the Kakadu National Park.
Guests will luxuriate in double and twin bell tents with spring-foam mattresses on pallet bases, quality bed linen, fresh towels, bamboo furniture, toiletries and Armadillo & Co rugs.
All the tents have power, lighting and a fan, with access to recently renovated communal bathroom facilities and barbeques.
A Taste of Kakadu from May 18 to 27 May puts a modern twist on ancient cuisine. Showcasing bush food and the work of Indigenous chefs, it includes masterclasses, signature dinners at Mercure Crocodile Kakadu Hotel, harvest walks, and canapé cruises on the Yellow Water River.
Kakadu will host the largest gathering of bird watchers and nature lovers in Australia for the annual Kakadu Bird Week 2018, with special birding activities, a new photographic competition and sessions for children being offered from September 30 to October 7.
Finally, the Mercure Crocodile Kakadu Hotel in Jabiru will celebrate its 30th anniversary with the completion of a refurbishment program that brings more Indigenous influences into the hotel’s design and operation.
The opening of the uniquely-shaped ‘Croc’ in 1988 represented the start of Kakadu as a major tourism destination following the worldwide success of locally-filmed Crocodile Dundee.
The 4-star hotel was designed to represent the crocodile’s cultural significance to the local Gagudju people, for whom Ginga, the giant crocodile, is a spirit ancestor. Special celebrations will be held in September, including the Mahbilil Festival, around the 30th anniversary.