I recently traveled out to the park because Jim Jim Falls had just opened for the dry season. Despite seeing the "falls" three times, I've never seen it flowing due to visiting too late in the dry season. So this trip was all about the "stone country" region, the region of Kakadu characterised by red, sandstone escarpment and gorges.
Jim Jim is the tallest falls accessible in Kakadu - a 200 metre high escarpment - which in the wet season is a spectacular, fast-flowing flood of water. As this falls is not spring-fed and only rain-fed, it dries up late in the dry season. Unfortunately in the wet season, when the falls are at their most impressive, road and walking access become impossible due to the amount of rain that floods the region. I'm hoping to do a scenic helicopter flight next season, but for now I was very happy with the amount of water still flowing from the escarpment.
We arrived at Garnamarr campground around 4pm, set up camp and headed straight down the 4WD track to check out the falls and escarpment in the sunset light. I wasn't disappointed! The gorge-like landscape is stunning, and I was surprised to see so much water still flowing. The light got better and better as the sun dipped below the hills behind me.
The light seemed to be most evenly spread after the sun had gone down, and the escarpment country glowed bright red. The below photo is a composition of 3 photos, to even out the exposure in some dark shadows and too-bright-highlights. The main photo was taken at ISO 100, f13 and 4 seconds, with an area of bright sky above the cliffs brushed in, and the area on the left with the darker trees brushed in too.
We also visited the falls the next morning too, to check out the light. The escarpment did not appear to glow as red, but it was still spectacular in a different way: hazy and mystical - well worth the early (cold!) morning.
The next afternoon we headed to Maguk - a waterfall I was convinced we had previously visited, but on arrival we realised we hadn't! The time we visited was not ideal for photography as the light was harsh around midday, but I think the falls itself would be very difficult to photograph at either sunrise or sunset due to it's position.
The walk to Maguk pool was lovely too, following a creek up to the falls. The creek and backdrop of red, rocky hills would make for some great landscape photography at a better time for light (although I would have to revisit to figure out what that time would be!).
We headed to Gunlom waterfall to camp and stay the night. This place is one of my favourite places to swim - the steep walk to the top of the falls is well worth it! Walkers are greeted with a series of natural rock pools, which end in nature's own infinity pool, looking out in to the vast open landscape of Kakadu.
Unfortunately, this time we did not have time to venture to the top of Gunlom waterfall. Instead, I explored the bottom pools, and photographed the very small trickle left over from the wet seasons rain.
The falls were only a trickle, but luckily there were a few other interesting areas to keep me occupied with the camera!
Crystal clear water :)
My partner and I are thinking about revisiting again for another quick visit to Kakadu next week! I love getting out there, just wish I could spend longer. The next trip we will probably take the boat, so I can try my hand at some more bird/wildlife shots on Yellow Waters. I could already do a long photo essay on Yellow Waters - it's probably my favourite place to relax in the Top End.
More to come soon, hope you liked them! Let me know what you think... I think my favourite photo I took this trip is of Jim Jim Falls, with the reflections of the red cliff tops. :-)