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Yellow Water Cruise

The Yellow Water Cruise is one of the must do cruises in Kakadu National Park. The South Alligator river system, which is the largest in the Kakadu National Park, is made up of extensive river channels, blackwater swamps and floodplains.

1.5hrs / 2hrs

Gagudju Lodge Cooinda

The Yellow Water Cruise is one of the must do cruises in Kakadu National Park.  The cruise departs from Cooinda, which is 55 kilometers from the township of jabiru (the only town situated in Kakadu National Park).  Sit back and relax on a guided cruise on the Famous Yellow Water Billabong.  Yellow Water Billabong is located at the end of Jim Jim Creek, a tributary of the South Alligator River. The South Alligator river system, which is the largest in the Kakadu National Park, is made up of extensive river channels, blackwater swamps and floodplains.

If you prefer to join a Kakadu Day Tour departing Darwin please See HERE

One third of Australia’s bird species are found in Kakadu, and 60 species are found in the wetlands. Some of the birds you may encounter here are Whistling Ducks, Magpie Geese, five different species of Kingfisher, Jabiru’s and Brolga’s.

Yellow Water Cruises provides you with a unique opportunity to experience the Saltwater Crocodile in it’s natural habitat, you may even spot a buffalo on the floodplains. See a myriad of birds, over 60 species. This is a great Kakadu Tour for all ages.

Yellow Water Cruises operate exclusively on the Billabong, running up to 6 cruises a day at various times. There are 1 ½ hour cruises or 2 hour cruises. The 2 hour cruises are well worth it as they take in the sunrise or sunset.

NOTE:*Children aged 5-15 years. 4 years and under travel free of charge on this Kakadu tour.

Rates as of April 2023

Phone bookings accepted: 08 89792548

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Yellow Water Cruises in Kakadu National Park

A metal boat glides through water with a green plant backround on a yellow water cruise

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The Yellow Water Cruise is are one of the most Iconic tours in Australia and is a highlight of most peoples Kakadu Itinerary! It such a special experience it is even worth splurging if you’re a budget traveller!

The reason why Yellow Water Cruises are so unique is because you get the chance to cruise world heritage listed wetlands and river systems with knowledgeable guides. They will teach you about the park and its wildlife and you will likely see birds and animals quite close to the boat.

When to visit Yellow Water Cruises

The later you visit in the dry season (approximately mid May – October) the more abundant the wildlife can be as the billabongs become a refuges for animals looking for water. For this reason the dry season is the most popular and recommended time to visit.

However if you can’t visit in the dry season, the bonus of visiting Kakadu in the wet season is there is a lot more water. This means the tours can sometimes take you further into places that are not accessible in the dry. You will see the Yellow Water Billabong in a way very few tourists do, when water is abundant, the flood plains are full and vegetation is lush.

About the Cruise

The cruise visits the Yellow Water Billabong and the South Alligator River, both beautiful and unique ecosystems to see. As an added bonus this area of Kakadu has lots of wildlife and you will have the chance to spot many bird species and usually crocodiles as well (crocodiles are spotted on most cruises but they are not guaranteed).

There are usually 6 cruises a day in the dry season and 4 cruises a day in the wet season, including sunrise and sunset and then 2-4 in between this.

Which Yellow Water Cruise should you do?

The 2 hour sunrise and sunset cruises are the most popular as wildlife is generally more active at this time, particularly in the warmer months. You will also have the opportunity to get beautiful landscape photos in the soft afternoon or morning light.

If you have small children who will get restless, have a tight schedule or are on a day trip you may prefer to do the shorter 1.5 hour cruises in the middle of the day.

If you would prefer to stay in in Jabiru instead of at nearby Cooinda this will also be a good option as you generally can’t drive rental cars in the dark.

How to Book

Through Viator , your agent or jump onto the Kakadu Tourism website and book it in now!

In the dry season and in school holidays and long weekends it is a good idea to pre-book your cruises, especially sunrise and sunset as they regularly book out days in advance.

Can’t decide which cruise to do? Love wildlife and birds?

Take advantage of the Kakadu Tourism ‘Cruise Again’ special, where you can get a second cruise for around $25, this means you don’t have to try and choose between sunrise and sunset. When you book online it gives you the chance to add on the second cruise. **NOT CURRENTLY RUNNING 2022 update

What do other people think?

Yellow Water Cruise is highly rated on trip advisor and at the time this article was published it was number 1 for tours in Kakadu, has a certificate of excellence and is rated 4.5/5 stars by trip advisor travellers.

The Yellow Water Cruise is a See Something New favourite. It is an iconic cruise in Australia and is a much loved holiday memory for many visitors to Kakadu National Park.

How to get there

The Yellow Water Cruises leave from the Cooinda Road off Kakadu Hwy. During the dry season you will turn right off the Cooinda Road before you get to the lodge. In the wet season the cruise may sometimes leave from Cooinda (also where bookings are made) so if the gates are closed proceed to the lodge.

Wheelchair Accessibility?

Sadly these tours are not a true wheelchair accessible activity in the sense that they don’t have a big wide flat ramp onto the boat or the ability to strap in wheelchairs.

However they do have a ramp all the way to the boats and a narrow arched ramp onto the boat and some people find that can fit a very slimline hire type scooters or chairs on the ramp but you must then be able to transfer to a seat. Call Kakadu Tourism directly for further information.

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Yellow Water 2-hr Morning Cruise

4.5 based on all time ratings

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Go on a 2 hour Yellow Water Billabong morning cruise that takes you through one of Kakadu’s most famous wetlands in the morning!  You will get to explore Yellow water, a part of the South Alligator River system. Located at the end of Jim Jim Creek, this river system is included in its entirety within the UNESCO World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park and its unique biodiversity ensures a spectacular cruising experience for you.  Guests are requested to meet at Cooinda Lodge Bus Stop 20 minutes prior to cruise departure. The bus stop is located opposite reception and is well sign posted.

Cruise Inclusions

  • Additional Info
  • Terms Of Services

Departure Details

Departure Location Cooinda Lodge Bus Stop

Boards 08:40

Departs 09:00

Returns 11:00

  • 2-hr Yellow Water Billabong cruise
  • Incredible views of wildlife
  • Cold water available on board
  • Amazing photo opportunities

Beverage Package

  • Cold Water is available on board

Additional Information

  • All prices include GST 
  • Cold Water is available on board for your convenience.
  • Subject to availability, changing of travel date is possible and permitted at no extra charge
  • Cancellation fee apply for bookings 
  • Please remember to carry your Kakadu National Park Pass

Please refer to our full passengers terms and conditions on the following link; https://www.australiancruisegroup.com.au/national-terms-of-services

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Yellow Water 2-hr Afternoon Cruise

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Croc spotting at Yellow Water

Croc spotting on Yellow Water Cruise. Photo: Tourism NT

Croc spotting on Yellow Water Cruise. Photo: Tourism NT

Cruise boat on Yellow Water

Yellow Water Billabong

Sunset is a great time to be at Yellow Water (Ngurrungurrudjba) Billabong, it’s also a good time to spot some of Kakadu’s crocs.

Yellow Water (Ngurrungurrudjba) has a boardwalk and platform where you can safely look for crocodiles gliding through the waters, powering their effortless swim with their muscular tail, or sunning themselves on the banks of the wetland.

Tip: Boardwalk and billabong walk accessible July to November. See crocs from a boat cruise all year round.

Yellow Water wetland cruise

You’ll get a fantastic view of these ancient species from the Aboriginal-run Yellow Water Cruise – which runs all year round.

Once you’re aboard, the boat stops often for a better look at the many animals living in and on the wetlands, and for photo opportunities.

During the tropical summer the crocodile population disperses as the wetlands flood, so it’s harder to see them. In the heat of the day they also tend to spend more time submerged so try heading out at sunset or sunrise.

Staying safe at Kakadu

We want you to have a fantastic holiday that’s memorable for all the right reasons. Kakadu is a wild place – here are our tips to help you be Crocwise and stay safe, particularly near waterways!

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Yellow Water Cruise In Kakadu, NT: Visitor’s Guide

Hop on board a Yellow Water Cruise and get a taste of Kakadu National Park, a 20,000km² nature reserve in the Northern Territory that boasts a plethora of magical landscapes, from ancient rainforests to sprawling wetlands and everything in between.

The park is divided into seven distinct eco-regions, from East Alligator to Nourlangie and Yellow Water, each region has its own unique features and natural attractions.

In the heart of it all sits Yellow Water Billabong which forms part of the South Alligator River system, although there are no alligators in Australia. They’re all crocs!

The wildlife at the Yellow Water Billabong is second to none. Covering vast wetlands, it is home to numerous species of native creatures that thrive in this environment.

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Table of Contents

OVERVIEW – YELLOW WATER CRUISE KAKADU

Visiting Kakadu National Park is an incredible experience.

Not only is there an extensive amount of history and culture to soak up in the park, but the landscape surrounding the Yellow Water Billabong is also one of the best places to experience all of it.

Whether you are on the hunt for wildlife, want to see some of Australia’s most surreal landscapes, or simply want to try your hand at fishing, the billabong has you covered.

To get to see the breathtaking area around the waterways from a different perspective, hop on a billabong cruise and discover the truly remarkable landscape.

The Indigenous-owned Yellow Water Cruises will provide you with a discovery tour through the dramatic scenery and ever-changing landscape of the world-famous Yellow Water Billabong that you will never forget.

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Have you got travel insurance for your trip?!

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Heymondo offers low-cost Travel Insurance to keep you covered on all your adventures.

WHERE IS THE YELLOW WATER CRUISE

Yellow Water Billabong is part of the South Alligator River system, located at the end of Jim Jim Creek.

The river system is unique as it is included in its entirety within a UNESCO World Heritage-listed National Park.

This is one of the must-do cruises while visiting Kakadu National Park .

The cruise departs from Cooinda, which is 55 km from the township of Jabiru, the only town situated in the park.

Yellow Water Cruises operate exclusively on the billabong.

BEST TIME TO VISIT YELLOW WATER BILLABONG

The north of the Australian Outback has a tropical climate, meaning a distinct dry and wet season, so any time of the year has advantages and disadvantages to traveling around Kakadu.

The transitional periods between the dry and wet seasons April – May, and September – October are arguably the best time of the year to visit Kakadu National Park.

Between April and June, waterfalls are usually pumping from their wet season top-up.

At the end of the dry season, before the first rains, huge numbers of birds and lots of other wildlife congregate around the receding waterholes.

There are up to 6 cruises a day at various times with 1 ½ hour cruises and 2-hour cruises on offer.

The 2-hour Yellow River Cruise Kakadu is well worth it as they take you out on the billabong for sunrise or sunset, which are the best times to do the cruise as it gets very hot during the day.

Due to its popularity, I highly recommend booking your tour in advance to secure your spot on the boat.

You might even want to consider planning your trip to coincide with Kakadu Bird Week. There are special Bird Week cruises at 4:30 pm (1-3 September and 26-28 September), which focus on the vast birdlife around the billabong.

There are guided bird-watching tours through the East Alligator River, South Alligator River, Nourlangie, and Mary River.

The Crocodile Hotel and Cooinda Lodge both offer special discounts on accommodation during Bird Week.

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BOOK THE YELLOW WATER CRUISE

Prices for the tour are very reasonable, $90 per adult, $65 per child, and children under the age of 4 can participate for free.

BOOK NOW → YELLOW WATER CRUISES

Meeting point for the yellow water cruise.

The meeting point is located at Cooinda Lodge Kakadu, just a 5-minute drive from the Yellow Water Billabong.

There is a large car park with plenty of free parking spaces available, as well as toilet amenities and a cafe.

A shuttle bus will pick you up from the front of Cooinda Lodge and chauffeur everyone down to the boats to begin the cruise.

RELATED ARTICLE → NAWURLANDJA LOOKOUT

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WHAT TO EXPECT ON YELLOW WATER CRUISES

This is one of the most popular and unique activities when visiting Kakadu and due to the ever-changing landscape, it will be a completely different experience for every tour.

Many people do two cruises at different times to experience and see the changes. The cruise moves super slowly, so there’s plenty of time to take photos from all different angles.

On the tour, you will be provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the Saltwater Crocodile in its natural habitat.

You will most likely see more of these impressive, prehistoric creatures than you can count and you might even spot a buffalo on the floodplains.

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If you are a bird lover, Kakadu will be a paradise for you as it is home to one-third of Australia’s bird species. An impressive amount of 60 species can be found in the wetlands.

On the cruise, some of the birds you may encounter are Whistling Ducks, Magpie Geese, five different species of Kingfisher, Jabirus, and Brolgas.

Australian Geographic has voted Kakadu the number one bird-watching destination in Australia.

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WHERE TO STAY IN KAKADU

Luxury: mercure kakadu crocodile hotel.

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MID-RANGE: COOINDA LODGE KAKADU

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MID-RANGE: AURORA LODGE KAKADU

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WHAT TO PACK FOR NORTHERN TERRITORY

When visiting NT, here is a list of items I highly recommend bringing with you:

Must-Have Travel Essentials

Hidden money wallet.

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Keep your cash and other valuables safe with this anti-theft hidden money wallet!

Reusable Water Bottle

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The GRAYL GeoPress is the best reusable bottle that allows you to purify water from anywhere!

Travel Backpack

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Quick-Dry Travel Towel

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Portable PowerBank

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FINAL THOUGHTS – YELLOW WATER CRUISE KAKADU

Whatever expectations you might have of this activity, I dare to say they will be exceeded and you will have the experience of a lifetime.

The magic of nature around Yellow Water Billabong is incomparable anywhere else and I guarantee it will be an adventure you’ll never forget.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

For a quicker response, be sure to join Jonny Melon’s Travel Tribe on Facebook and post your questions or recommendations to our awesome community.

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TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or it’s your first trip overseas, here are some useful travel resources to help you kick-start your next adventure!

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THANKS FOR READING

Hey friend, thanks for reading this guide!

Please know this post may contain affiliate links. When making a purchase through one of my links, I earn a small kickback at no extra cost to you and it’s a big help to keep the site up and running. Rest assured, I only promote products and services that I personally use and recommend.

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Many thanks!

This trip was in association with NT Tourism and Backyard Bandits.

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Australia River Cruises

Find a River Cruise that explores Australia. There are 9 cruises to choose from, that range in length from 1 days up to 24 days. The most popular month for these cruises is August, which has the most tour departures. Considering other destinations? Check out all river cruises .

9 river cruises through Australia with reviews

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4 Day Kakadu Katherine Gorge Experience (Accommodated) Tour

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4 Day Kakadu Katherine Gorge Experience (Accommodated)

Have just returned from 4 event packed days in Kakadu with our guide Jay Bichard from Autopia tours. I couldn't be more complimentary of the tour. We travelled lots of kms in the 4WD vehicle with a nice sized group of 9 travelers. The tour brochure accurately covers what you will see and do, so does not need to be replicated here. Tour Guide Jay was phenomenal - pleasant, engaging, energetic, organized, knowledgeable, and a good manager of the group. Its long, hard days being a tour guide like this, and we appreciated she was always bubbly smiling and informative. Hence we stayed on schedule to see all that we hoped to see. Accommodation in motels was fine and comfortable especially given the remoteness. Food was practical, tasty and adequate given where were travelling. You need to have a reasonable level of physical fitness to do some of the walks - especially into Jim Jim falls. However, all our group were able to reach the destinations. Very enjoyable, and I felt good value for money. Highly recommended as a reasonably good 'taster' of the Kakadu national park.

Kimberley Coast and 4WD Wonders (2024) Tour

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Top End Escape (2023) Tour

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COMMENTS

  1. Yellow Water Cruises

    Sunrise to sunset, the cruise winds its way through distinct ecosystems of Yellow Water Billabong and tributaries of the South Alligator River. Yellow Water Cruises has exclusive use of Yellow Water Billabong. It operates year round and provides up to six cruises a day of either 90 or 120 minutes.

  2. Yellow Water Cruise

    This is a great Kakadu Tour for all ages. Yellow Water Cruises operate exclusively on the Billabong, running up to 6 cruises a day at various times. There are 1 ½ hour cruises or 2 hour cruises. The 2 hour cruises are well worth it as they take in the sunrise or sunset. NOTE:*Children aged 5-15 years. 4 years and under travel free of charge on ...

  3. Yellow Water

    Yellow Water (Ngurrungurrudjba)is Kakadu's most famous wetland and contains one third of Australia's bird species. Its abundant wildlife and beautiful views make it a fantastic place to stay, explore or take a cruise. Yellow Water is part of the South Alligator River floodplain and home to some impressive saltwater crocodiles.

  4. Yellow Water Cruises

    A huge Jabiru's nest is nearby, and depending on the season, Brolgas can be found dancing. Yellow Water Cruises, winner of the 2011 and 2009 NT Brolga Tourism Award for Major Tourist Attraction operates exclusively on Yellow Water Billabong. It operates year round and provides up to five cruises a day of 90 or 120 minute duration.

  5. Yellow Water Cruises

    Yellow Water Cruise - Kakadu. 276. Day Cruises. 90-120 minutes. The wildlife filled wetlands of the Yellow Water Billabong are among the highlights of the Kakadu National Park. On this…. Recommended by 96% of travelers. from. $70.

  6. 2024 Yellow Water Cruise

    The wildlife filled wetlands of the Yellow Water Billabong are among the highlights of the Kakadu National Park. On this cruise, enjoy up to two hours on the water and look out for wildlife including freshwater crocodiles, eagles, and ducks as you explore the scenic waterways. from. AU$105.00. per adult.

  7. 2-Hr Yellow Water Afternoon Cruise

    Explore Yellow water, a part of the South Alligator River system, that's located at the end of Jim Jim Creek. This river system is included in its entirety within the UNESCO World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park and its unique biodiversity will ensure a spectacular cruising experience.

  8. Kakadu, Nourlangie, Yellow Water from Darwin 2024

    Experience the natural wonders and ancient cultural heritage of Kakadu — Australia's largest national park. On this full-day tour from Darwin, cruise along the Yellow Water billabong while spotting crocs basking on the banks. Admire ancient Aboriginal art at the 'desert museum' of Nourlangie Rock, and delve deeper into indigenous history at the Warradjan Aboriginal Centre.

  9. Yellow Water Cruises in Kakadu National Park

    Yellow Water Cruise is highly rated on trip advisor and at the time this article was published it was number 1 for tours in Kakadu, has a certificate of excellence and is rated 4.5/5 stars by trip advisor travellers. The Yellow Water Cruise is a See Something New favourite. It is an iconic cruise in Australia and is a much loved holiday memory ...

  10. 2-Hr Yellow Water

    Yellow Water 2hr Cruise. 4.5 based on all time ratings. NT5004. See billabong come alive during this majestic time of day, on this 2 hour Yellow Water Billabong cruise that takes you through Kakadu's most famous wetland during dawn! Yellow water is a part of the South Alligator River system, and is located at the end of Jim Jim Creek.

  11. 2023 Kakadu National Park Scenic Flight &Yellow Water Cruise

    2022. Darwin to Kakadu Day Trip by Air Including Yellow Water Cruise. 80. Full-day Tours. from. AU$849.00. per adult. 2022. 5 Day Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land Tour.

  12. Cooinda Gagudju Yellow Water cruises sunset and sunrise cruises in

    Yellow Water cruises sunset and sunrise cruise, Cooinda Gagudju Lodge , Kakadu National Park is app 323klm from Darwin, capital of Northern Territory. ... Kakadu National Park Kakadu Highway, Jim Jim NT 0886, Australia Phone: + 61 (0) 8 89 79 0145 Email: [email protected] ... Route such as Gibb River Road Adds by Australia ...

  13. 2-Hr Yellow Water Breakfast Cruise

    4.5 based on all time ratings. NT5007. Go on a 2 hour Yellow Water Billabong morning cruise that takes you through one of Kakadu's most famous wetlands in the morning! You will get to explore Yellow water, a part of the South Alligator River system. Located at the end of Jim Jim Creek, this river system is included in its entirety within the ...

  14. Inquiry about Yellow River Cruise: Timing and Ticke

    Good evening, is it preferable to take the Yellow River Cruise at sunrise or sunset? Can we decide to purchase tickets on-site, or is it better to book well in advance, especially in August? The concern is that the tickets are expensive and non-refundable. ... The Aboriginal people have inhabited Australia for over 65,000 years, making them the ...

  15. Yellow Water Cruise

    Wetlands made Kakadu National Park a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Yellow Water Billabong is one of the most beautiful. Join Indigenous-owned Yellow Water Cruises on a guided journey of discovery among crocodiles, eagles, and reflecting waters. The wildlife, like the light, changes throughout the day.

  16. Croc spotting at Yellow Water

    Donate. Donate. Croc spotting at Yellow Water. Yellow Water (Ngurrungurrudjba) has a boardwalk and platform where you can safely look for crocodiles gliding through the waters, powering their effortless swim with their muscular tail, or sunning themselves on the banks of the wetland. Once you're aboard, the boat stops often for a better look ...

  17. Yellow Water Cruise In Kakadu, NT: Visitor's Guide

    Yellow Water Billabong is part of the South Alligator River system, located at the end of Jim Jim Creek. The river system is unique as it is included in its entirety within a UNESCO World Heritage-listed National Park. This is one of the must-do cruises while visiting Kakadu National Park. The cruise departs from Cooinda, which is 55 km from ...

  18. Yellow Water Cruise; is it worth it?

    Yellow Water Cruise Times. These Kakadu cruises run year round, with the dry season being the most popular by far. The departure location is different in the wet season, as the water level changes by around 4 metres and the normal pontoon that the boats leave from in the dry season is well and truly underwater.

  19. Katherine Gorge river cruising

    Experience the tranquillity of a river boat cruise. Get the most out of your time on a half-day, full-day, overnight or sunset trip. Trawl along Katherine River through Nitmiluk National Park, moving deeper into the pristine wilderness of the stunning Katherine Gorge. Experience the varied and ever-changing landscapes, from dramatic cliffs and ...

  20. 9 Best River Cruises in Australia 2024/2025

    Crucero fluvial Circuitos en Australia. Nederlands: Riviercruise Rondreizen in Australië. Find the best Australia river cruises with TourRadar. Choose from 9 cruises with 3 real tour reviews. Book now and save with TourRadar.com!