Koolpin Gorge is a beautifully secluded piece of paradise hidden away in the southern end of Kakadu National Park. Koolpin Gorge is a protected site and access is restricted, therefore you need to obtain a permit to enter. There is a limit to 40 people at any one time and permits can be obtained via the following link http://www.environment.gov.au/resource/access-jarrangbarnmi-koolpin-gorge. It is recommended to apply for your permit well in advance to avoid disappointment!
Once your permit is approved, to get to Koolpin, you will need to collect a key to access the gate which allows you entry to the site. Details regarding key collection, road conditions and directions to Koolpin Gorge are documented on the Permit Application Form (accessible via the aforementioned link). Koolpin is accessible via the Gunlom turnoff on Kakadu Highway which is approximately 140 km south from the township of Jabiru.
Koolpin Gorge is layered with bushwalking, wildlife and multiple swimming holes. It is recommended to spend at least two nights here and study the map provided as part of your Permit Application Form which details where it is safe to swim and which tracks are marked and unmarked. Get to Koolpin early, before your fellow campers, and you may be spoilt for choice of a shady campsite.
Rise early and begin your hike to the ‘Pink Pool’ which will have you walking over creeks and scrambling along rock faces. The walk is long, approximately 1.5 to 2 hours, and moderately difficult, however the landscape will have your eyes popping out of your head as you navigate along the marked track. After climbing up the rock face to higher grounds you will be greeted with a mammoth sized swimming hole fed by a glorious waterfall. Bring a packed lunch and spend at least an hour or two lazing by the pool, swimming and exploring.
Beyond the ‘Pink Pool’ the intrepid traveller can venture to the right hand side of the gorge, further into the wilderness, and hike up the rocky cliff face to the ‘Black Pool’ via an unmarked track. The reward is breathtaking, with spectacular scenery, magnificent views of the escarpment and several more rock pools to dive into.
Access: Dry Season access only, usually May to September. 4WD High Clearance Vehicles only. Apply well in advance for your permit and study the Permit Application Form which includes information regarding key collection, road conditions, camping facilities and fees, map of area including marked and unmarked tracks and areas where Crocodiles inhabit.
Camping Fees: Camp fees are paid prior to your arrival. These will be charged once your permit application is approved. Adult (16 and over) $6.00 per night, Child (5-15) $3.00 per night, Family (2 Adults and 2 or more Children) $15.00 per night, Children 4 and under Free.
Camping Facilities: Camping area adjacent to the downstream gorge, ‘long drop’ toilet, fire pits. No water available, please bring enough water for your visit.