ABOUT THE REGION
Good birdwatching is assured in the diverse landforms and habitats across the Top End. Flood plains, sandstone escarpments and downs country to monsoon forest, extensive riparian communities dissecting tropical woodland, savannah woodland and open grassland offer rich diversity.
Climatic conditions revolve around the two seasons, the 'Wet' from October to March and the 'Dry' from May to September. Rainfall is rare during the Dry and scattered storms herald the commencement of the Wet in October, building up to the monsoons when most rainfall occurs in February to April. Detailed weather reports are available on the Darwin, Katherine and Kununurra visitor information centre websites on the Links page.
Before travelling to remote areas in the Wet it is advisable to obtain a road condition report via the Links page.
The township of Jabiru in Kakadu National Park has a small supermarket, service station, hotel, caravan park, cabin accommodation and camp grounds. Further south at Cooinda (Yellow Water) motel, cabin, caravan park and camp grounds are available along with a small grocery outlet, eat-in and take-away dining. A number of camp grounds are also available in the area.
Situated 320 kilometres south of Darwin, Katherine is situated on the banks of the Katherine River and has plenty to offer the visiting birdwatcher supported by a good range of accommodation, restaurants and take-away food outlets. Banking services, fuel outlets and a shopping centre with large supermarket offer convenient services. Informative displays at the Katherine Visitor Information Centre provide a good introduction to the area and the numerous national parks and reserves in the region.
Kununurra is 510 kilometres south-west of Katherine and a short distance across the Northern Territory/Western Australia border where there is a quarantine check point beyond which fresh fruit, vegetables and honey cannot be taken. On crossing the border the landscape changes from open woodland to the striking scenery of the East Kimberley, amongst which the township of Kununurra is situated on the shores of picturesque Lake Kununurra and the nearby Lake Argyle is a major attraction. Accommodation, restaurants and food outlets, banking services and comprehensive displays at the Visitor Information Centre will ensure your visit is an enjoyable experience, made all the more so by the good birdwatching on offer in close proximity to town.
Services in the smaller townships of Pine Creek, Mataranka and Timber Creek are generally restricted to take-away food, small grocery stores and fuel stations. Motel, caravan park and camp grounds are available with cabin accommodation available in some establishments.
It pays to be well prepared before venturing into the bush. It is advisable to wear strong footwear, long sleeved shirt and a hat for protection from the sun. Sunscreen and insect protection lotions are recommended.
Drink plenty of water.
The sun sets quickly in the tropics so ensure that you are back in familiar territory before dark.
There are plenty of features from which to get your bearings in the hilly and escarpment country but it is easy to get disoriented in the flat open grasslands so be sure to pay particular attention to the location of your vehicle and surrounds before walking off.
The dangerous saltwater crocodile inhabits waters across the Top End including freshwater rivers and streams.
Care must be taken near water. Never swim in areas where warning signs are displayed and seek local advice before entering the water at places where signs are not displayed.