COME SEE Gunlom Falls Infinity Pool, Kakadu. Australia.
GUNLOM: THE GUIDE
REGION: Mary River Region
ACCESSIBILITY: 2WD access in the dry season, 4WD during some of the wet season | Check the Kakadu Acess report here
BEST TIME TO VISIT: June-August is the coolest. Hike is best taken in the early morning or sunset.
LOCATION: 5 hours from Darwin CBD | 3.5hrs from Jabiru | 2.5 hours from Pine Creek | Open in Google Maps
WALKING DISTANCE: 100m to the plunge pool | 1km return hike
TIME REQUIRED: 5 minutes + swimming time | 1hour + swimming time
TOURIST RATING: Popular natural site with nearby campground.
COST: Included with the Park Pass, which is AU$40 per person
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GUNLOM: THE EXPERIENCE
As told by Jackie Te-Aroha.
The Gunlom infinity pool was definitely one of our Kakadu highlights and I cant wait for you to hear all about it. Getting there on the other hand, is a whole other story. Although it’s accessible by 2WD, the road in is a 40km long corrugated dirt track, which at an average speed of 20km took us the better part of 2 hours. Stack that slow and bumpy ride on top of our already completed 4.5-hour transit from Merl Campground via Nourlangie Rock and you have a pretty good idea of how we spent most of our day.
It was early afternoon when we arrived and although we couldn’t wait to grab our noodles and hit the water, we did what any responsible outdoorsy adult does first… and that’s set up camp! Yup… that’s right. It turns out that traveling has actually turned us into practical forward thinkers. Oh except for the fact that we forgot to bring cash to pay for our camping fees, which meant we had to plead our case to a ‘rough-around-the-edges’ older Australian man. Luckily after explaining the situation and without hesitation, he pulled out his wallet and gave us $30 and saying that ‘Life’s too short to worry about money”. With that sorted we said our thanks threw the cash in the van, grabbed our noodles and headed towards the plunge pool.
Just 100 meters past the picnic area and down a bush track you’ll find one of the swimming areas made famous in the Australian movie Crocodile Dundee. But don’t worry, although there are signs that state otherwise, Gunlom is generally labeled as a safe swimming spot especially during the dry season.
When we arrived there were already two families enjoying the cool water close to the edge of the pool and an elderly woman swimming way out in the middle. We didn’t venture too into the deep, as I’m always weary of what lurks below still waters. After 10-15 minutes of standing around in the knee-deep waters contemplating whether to relax or climb to the top we opted for the more advantageous of the two. So without hesitation we swapped our noodles out for camera gear and adventure shoes ready to make the 500-meter ascent to the top of the Falls.
At first the walk was a moderate incline with large rocks and stones cut to the shape of steps. About 7 minutes in and those easy to manage steps were becoming more uneven and increasingly taller. Then somewhere along the way we reached a point where the hike had turned into a climb and we were using our hands to help pull ourselves up.
We continued to follow the small triangular markers until we came to a crest where the beauty of Gunlom unveiled itself. That was the first time I had witnessed a natural infinity pool. A moment I won’t forget. I remember standing there, suspended in time looking at the point where the water trickled over the edge and imagined each and every drop falling gracefully into the pool below. And then I realized that I had forgotten the remote shutter release for the camera so I took a few shots of Zade before we made the trek back down.
The next morning we found ourselves waking up early to do it all again and experience the magic of Gunlom just once more before we rolled out. This time we had Frida with us so that we could get that iconic infinity angle. And we did exactly that.
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