Destination – Kakadu III of III

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Jim Jim Falls

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The last stretch of road to access to Jim Jim Falls is via a 4WD only track.

Arriving at the carpark it reminded me of a private school drop-off zone. The only difference being that the 4WDs were actually dusty.

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Some travellers in the Northern Territory go overboard. Here is a relatively rare sighting of a 6WD vehicle. This is a converted Nissan Patrol.

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Many of the visitors to Jim Jim Falls come by organised tour.

Here a tour group is preparing to make the 1.2 kilometre walk from the carpark to the Jim Jim Falls plunge pool. With the temperature hitting 38 degrees celcius on this day everyone filled their water bottles with a least a litre of water.

Being the height of the dry season there was no water coming over the falls. The walk was nevertheless an enjoyable rock scramble up through the gorge along the banks of a viewing pool.

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With a 1.2 kilometre walk from the car park to the Jim Jim falls plunge pool, the idea of taking a quick dip to escape the heat in the cool still waters of pools closer by is tempting.

When you are hot and more than a little dehydrated your ability to judge risk can be problematic. Fortunately these warning signs bring you back to your senses. As far as Craig was concerned, swimming here = becoming crocodile food.

Here’s how the official Kakadu National Park Visitor’s Guide introduces visitors to the idea of swimming in Kakadu.

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Swimming in Kakadu

‘Due to the risk of estuarine crocodiles in the park, the only public place we recommend you swim is in the Jabiru swimming pool.

Some visitors choose to swim at their own risk, in selected natural plunge pools and gorge areas such as Gubara, Maguk, Jim Jim Falls, Gunlom, Jarrangbarnmi (Koolpin Gorge) and in creeks on the plateau above Twin Falls, Jim Jim Falls and Gunlom.

These areas are surveyed for estuarine crocodiles prior to opening each dry season. There remains some risk that estuarine crocodiles may move into gorges and plunge pools during the dry season. Please read the crocodile warning signs in each plunge pool and gorge area and consider their information carefully.

Source: Kakadu National Park Visitor’s Guide page 48

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A crocodile trap in place in the waters downstream from the Jim Jim falls plunge pool.

With the trap gate still up in the air you can presume a number of things. Either there are no more crocodiles about, or the crocs have decided that scantly clad tourists are tastier morsels worth waiting for. Can’t blame them. Left for days on end the trap bait soon softens and rots in the shallow warm waters.

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The walk around to the Jim Jim falls plunge pool offers a numerous stunning views of rock pools and the surrounding gorge.

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The second half of the walk into Jim Jim falls turns into more of a rock scramble. Fortunately for this Harry Butler look alike he was wearing the right footwear.

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In the dry season visitors to Jim Jim falls can make use of this beach. In late 2008 it formed 200 metres down from the Jim Jim falls plunge pool. After clambering over hot, unsteady and occasionally slippery rocks, the chance to get sand under your feet is a welcome relief.

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Jim Jim falls at the height of the dry season October 2008.

Despite there being no water coming over the falls the chance to swim in the massive plunge pool at the base of these 200 metre cliffs is still tremedously uplifting. The surrounding cliffs tower over head and tend to form a natural cathedral that allows for brilliant echo acoustics.

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One of the many tranquil clear pools seen walking back out of Jim Jim falls.

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Craig’s bike back at the Jim Jim falls carpark.

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The end result of Craig becoming a little too excited about the wild and twisting 4WD track used to access Jim Jim falls.

On his return trip to the Jim Jim rangers campsite Craig road a tad too fast on a very deep sandy stretch of the track. His mistake: he was thinking motorcross riding instead of enduro riding.

Not far from the campsite he lost control in the sand at about 70 kilometres an hour and hit a small tree on the side of the track. As the photo shows part of the tree trunk shaved off and collected inside the Suzuki logo on the side of his engine. He wasn’t proud of his conservation efforts that day and was lucky to escape with just a graze to his arm.

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Jim Jim falls ranger’s campsite. A standard camp set-up. Craig’s ‘base hospital’ for the night.

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An injured Jabiru found on the roadside on route from Jim Jim falls to Maguk falls.

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Maguk Falls

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Shallow water pools crossed when walking into Maguk falls.

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Part of the walk to Maguk falls takes you across this rocky riverbed.

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The first vista that greets you when you arrive at Maguk falls.

Unlike many other waterfalls in Kakadu Maguk commonly continues to flow long into the dry season.

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Climbers above and swimmers below at Maguk.

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Taking a rest out of the sting of the midday sun in a shady grotto at the base of Maguk falls.

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A climb to the upper pools reveals some beautiful rock formations and a palette of stunning warm earthy colours.

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A sunburnt Craig taking a dip in the upper pools.

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Circling eagles.

With a nearby fire many eagles could be seen soaring on the updrafts created by the gorge. They were circling in the air waiting for their prey to escape the fire and move out onto the open rocks around Maguk.

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The incredible contours of the upper pools at Maguk.

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Rock climbers climbing at Maguk with the relative safety of the deep water below them.

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The true professional rock climber; a humble frog.

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The jump clear from the cliff into the cool deep waters of the Maguk plunge pool.


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