Kakadu Animal Tracks Safari with the Adventuring Pals

Kakadu Animal Tracks Safari, with Elvin and Eshlyn Pal, the Adventuring Pals

It’s all hands on deck as Adventuring Pals feast with Indigenous guides on this epic tour 

We visited Australia’s largest national park–the world-famous Kakadu. Located at NT’s top and at nearly 20,000 square kilometres, it’s about half the size of Switzerland! Here we took part in a safari so incredible, it will stay with us forever. 

Kakadu Animal Tracks Safari sets off from Cooinda Lodge, where we were picked up in an open-air Toyota Coaster bus by Don, one of our fantastic guides. Our little boys were thrilled to ride all day in the cool bus on our way to the Buffalo Farm. Along the way, Don briefed us on where we were heading, how the tour and farm came to be and its significance. 

We picked up Patsy, who is the star of the show. She was our teacher, guide and storyteller, and has been doing so continuously for 20 years, making her one of the longest-running Indigenous guides! We entered Patsy’s backyard and just a minute down the road, pulled up to check out a couple of jabirus and a big crocodile! It was submerged in the billabong but clear as day to Patsy. We’d see at least four more throughout the day.


Mining for mussels

The journey focussed on gathering items and bush tucker for our sunset feast. We started collecting mussels in the mangroves not far from the crocs we just sighted! But we were more concerned with the mosquitoes and itchy caterpillars! The mussels hid inside the mud and we learned how to prod the ground to reveal them. The guides entrusted Jordan to carry them in a quickly fashioned paperbark and vine basket, while Jaiden set out with a poking rod probing for the delicacies. 

We learned about the native flora and collected melaleuca leaves for the ground oven. On our way to the floodplains of the South Alligator River, we encountered many water buffalo. They were quite intimidating up close, we watched giants butt heads and babies suckling their mothers. It was quite a sight! 

Pasty and Don imparted to us significant knowledge and stories about Aboriginal culture and folklore. They taught us about different plants and animals, stopping to show examples. We dug up water chestnuts. The boys enjoyed hammering the dry mud to reveal these tiny, delicious treats. As small as they are, they’re abundant, attracting 30-odd thousand magpie geese every year, and in turn allowing us to feed on them too!

Rainbow sunset

Our dinner site was on a little peninsula leading to where the South Alligator River and Nourlangie Creek floodplains, revealing Kakadu’s iconic 180°+ wetland views. 

Upon arriving, a Buffalo “greeted” us before disappearing thankfully into the bush, allowing us to get on with dinner. After setting up a bush kitchen we prepared the fire. The boys loved helping out by hauling the firewood over and helping to pluck and prepare the geese.

With lots of helping hands from all the lovely people on our tour, dinner was soon bubbling away in the traditional ground oven. While we waited, we enjoyed hot billy tea and watched the flocks of birds over the plains. 

We saw magpie geese in their thousands, egrets, kites, and even brolgas. We also witnessed a magical sunset with an unseasonal storm in the distance revealing a unique rainbow cloud. It was magical!

Field to Plate

After a surprisingly quick 20 minutes in the ground oven, our feast was ready. On the menu, we had magpie geese, water buffalo, wild pork, barramundi, sweet potatoes, water chestnuts and, of course, freshwater mussels.

Don whipped up a delicious damper with a spread of butter and a squeeze of golden syrup that went down a treat topping off a fantastic feast. 

The night wasn’t over yet and after packing up and hitting the dirt road back to Patsy’s place we heard plenty more stories, some particularly spooky, tying in with experiences occurring earlier in the evening.

We dropped off Patsy and thanked her for an incredible day and we all said ‘boh boh’ (see you). Don shared more stories and answered our questions on the way back to Cooinda and along the way we experienced even more animal encounters.

It was an amazing glimpse of what life was and is like for our First Nations People and a privilege to immerse ourselves in their culture.

A true Kakadu experience and one we won’t be forgetting for a lifetime! Thank you, Patsy and Don and Kakadu Animal Tracks Safari!


Kakadu Animal Tracks