Barrk Sandstone Walk - Exploring Kakadu

If you're up for some challenging walk, then the Barrk sandstone Circuit is definitely something that you must try. This twelve kilometre loop in the Nourlangie section of Kakadu National Park takes you through various cliffs and ridges and some open woodland where you'll get to see some of the best views of Nourlangie.

Top 5 Reasons Why to Go

  1. Test your bushwalking prowess in the circuit. As it is graded difficult, it is perfect for those who are looking for some challenging hiking adventure.
  2. Get to see the aboriginal rock arts in the Nanguluwur Gallery.
  3. Behold breathtaking views of the surrounding areas from the different lookout points.
  4. See varied wildlife that thrives in the area, some of which are endemic to the place like lavender-flanked wrens and black wallaroos.
  5. Excellent swag camping under a blanket of stars in Kakadu National park.
Eastern Wallaroo (Macropus robustus robustus). Photo by Heather Paul on Flickr.

Barrk Sandstone Circuit

The Barrk Sandstone Walk is a twelve kilometre circuit that takes you to different lookout points which provide a scenic view all around. Some bushwalkers complete this loop within six hours, although you may want to put in two extra hours in order for you to enjoy rests and take in the views. Be sure to keep track of the orange triangles painted on rocks and trees which mark the path to follow.

Car Park to Lookout Point

Start your journey at the car park and make your way northeast, which will take you to a rise in the rocky valley. Along the way you'll pass several forests of trees as well as a creek and a waterfall which runs during the wet and rainy season. The hike will then bring you to the first lookout point which provides a great view of the lower lying areas and the slopes.

Lookout Point to Stone Country

After a while of walking you would have reached a plateau with several streams and forests of Darwin Woolybutts and grevilleas. Continue walking north until you notice a change in your surroundings from forests to stones and boulders.

Stone Country to Mirai Lookout

In Stone Country you'll see amazing rock formations of sandstone pillars and towering rocks and boulders. A series of climbs on rocks and boulders will lead you to the second lookout point in the circuit, which gives you a great view of the Mirai and its surrounds.

Mirai Lookout to Valley Floor

From the lookout make your way through the sloping rocks, until you reach the path that leads down to the valley floor. The descent can be quite tricky and challenging with many rocks and loose stones, so take care while making your way down.

Valley Floor to Nanguluwur Gallery

Once you reach the valley floor, the walk becomes easier as you'll be travelling on flat lands now. Keep track of the different markers so that you don't miss your turn. In order to reach the Nanguluwur Gallery, you'll need to turn west and head south.

Nangaluwur Gallery to Woodlands

The Nanguluwur Gallery is a collection of various aboriginal arts. You'll see animals and figures with headdresses and spears along with other drawings like a ship. After admiring the rock arts, head south through a series of sandstone outcrops until you reach the open plains woodlands.

Woodlands to Car Park

From the woodlands make your way through rocks and boulders, with some descents in rocky ridges. A turn to the east will lead you back to the car park.

An ancient Aboriginal rock painting of a wallaby in Kakadu National Park. Image from PanBK at the English language Wikipedia.

What to Bring

Do remember that there are no paved or boarded walking paths, and this along with the rugged trails makes it a fairly difficult walking adventure. Thus, it is recommended that you:

Camping in Kakadu National Park

As part of the Kakadu National Park, you will find various camping areas where you can set up a comfortable swag for overnight camping. Bush camping areas are scattered throughout the park without fee, although you must be ready for some remote camping experience as the facilities here are quite limited or none at all. Here is a good site that outlines the different camping areas in Kakadu National Park.

Alternatively, you can visit Cooinda Camping Grounds which have most of the amenities and more that can help make your stay more comfortable and convenient.

You can also check out this map where you'll find possible camping areas in the park.

Who Can Take You There

As the Barrk Sandstone Walk is pretty difficult and somewhat dangerous, it is recommended that you go there with a friend, and at least let somebody know that you are taking the hike. If you would like to go with a guide, you can contact and enquire with Holidayz Jabiru-Barrk Sandstone Walk. The Northern Territory Tourism Central also offers Barrk Sandstone Walk as part of the Kakadu Tours on Foot.

Australia's Outback also provides a list of the different tours available for Kakadu National Park.

Virtual Tours

Here are some videos that take you on a virtual tour of Kakadu National Park, including that of the Nanguluwur aboriginal rock art.

Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land by TheAustraliaWay.

Discover Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia by Northern Territory, Australia's Outback.

Lonely Planet: Travel Guide to Kakadu National Park, Australia by Northern Territory, Australia's Outback.

Nanguluwur Rock Art Kakadu by Steve Swayne.

Photo courtesy from Flickr by Richard Riley