outbackjoe

a camping trip of ridiculous proportions

Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls, Kakadu

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Last stop for the BFC was a break from fishing. We visited Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls, both accessed from the same camp ground in Kakadu. We travelled across Old Jim Jim Road, a gravel track connecting Arnhem Highway with Kakadu Highway – a shortcut rather than going all the way to Jabiru. The road was well graded and smooth. No problems keeping up a moderate pace, except for the sharp turns and descents into creek crossings which were not sign posted.

Old Jim Jim Road intersects with Kakadu Highway. From there it’s a short trip along the bitumen before reaching the main Jim Jim access track – a very poor gravel track extremely badly corrugated. We had to reduce tyre pressure significantly to keep the car on the road, otherwise it would spend more time in the air than on the ground and end up skidding sideways across the corrugations. Track was in a similar condition to that accessing Gunlom Falls, also in Kakadu. About 40km later you reach the camping area. Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls are a further 10km and 15km away respectively, down a 4WD only sand track starting from the camping area. The camp grounds are good – lights, flushing toilets, warm showers, wood bbqs and picnic benches. No midges and not many mosquitoes – a pleasant change. We visited Jim Jim Falls on the first day, stayed one night then went to Twin Falls in the morning before heading out.

Jim Jim Falls do not flow towards the end of the dry. They are not spring fed so eventually run dry every season. Still a spectacular sight. Much higher than Wangi, their height is deceptive because of the much larger pool at the bottom, the viewing area being much further from the base of the falls. Swim across the pool towards the base and the scale comes into perspective. To get to Jim Jim Falls it’s a 4WD track from the camping area of around 10km I think (the signage is not accurate). From the car park it’s about a 1km walk over rough rocky terrain with large boulders to reach the falls. The walk passes through a beautiful gorge with rock pools scattered along the way.

Twin Falls is accessed via the same 4WD track to Jim Jim, but half way down the track forks off. It’s around 15km from camp. The track passes a deep river crossing, with park information recommending vehicles with snorkels only. We picked up a couple of travelers without a snorkel and gave them a lift to the falls. The water crossing was about 65cm high when we crossed according to the depth indicator. Deep enough to penetrate the door seals and wet the carpet in the hilux. Wet smelly carpet in 40 degree heat – nice. Twin Falls can’t be viewed from the base without taking a ferry ride, of course at additional expense to the already exuberant park access and camping fees. There’s a 6km return walk from the parking area up to the top of the falls and down the feeder stream. Once you get to the top, keep walking down the shallow feeder stream, you eventually get to some deeper pools which are good for swimming. The information isn’t very clear and some walkers turned back without rewarding their long hot walk with a cooling swim. Pretty harsh because the ascending track is steep and rocky and it was really hot, approaching 40 degrees celcius. The pools are great. Beautiful, cool, refreshing, typical of the waterholes in the Northern Territory.

Sadly after twin falls it was time to get back to Darwin ready for Hong to catch the plane back to Perth the next day. We headed to Darwin but got there too late to check into any caravans parks so we did the old side of the road trick. We finished our last night with a few XXXX Golds by the Stuart Highway and some reminiscing about the BFC and it’s highlights.

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Author: outbackjoe

a camping trip of ridiculous proportions

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