The news so many have been waiting for:
Twin Falls Gorge is accessible as of today!
The crocodile surveys have been completed, the Twin Falls boat shuttle is operational, the floating pontoon boardwalk has been installed once more to allow access to the beach under the falls – it’s all good!
For the last couple of weeks we have been spending the day at Jim Jim Falls only, as of tomorrow our tours will be visiting Jim Jim Falls as well as Twin Falls!
On request and if we (that’s Steve or myself) feel that the entire group is up for a bit of an adventure, we will tackle the Twin Falls Escarpment Walk to enjoy the spectacular views from above the falls. Most days however, we will climb aboard one of the small shuttle boats to enjoy the trip up Twin Falls Creek. Tony and his Indigenous guides will be on the lookout for wildlife and interpret this area of cultural significance for us before we hike further into the gorge.
I’m looking forward to sit on the white sandy beach under the falls again, enjoying a hot cuppa, it’s been a long time since our last visit!
Now, there is one thing I really need to get off my chest, a topic that is indeed becoming a bit more than a slight inconvenience for us:
All of our passengers MUST carry valid Kakadu park passes if they want to embark on our tour (exempt are only Territorians and children under 16 years of age).
While a small number of visitors may be totally unaware of the fact that the purchase of a Kakadu park pass prior to entering the park is compulsory, others make the conscious decision not to spend the $25.00 per person.
If stopped by one of the compliance officers who do random checks throughout the park, they will be asked to rectify the situation and purchase a park pass – and they’re free to go on their merry way. For an entire fortnight they can enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, cultural activities, ranger-guided walks and artsite talks, slide shows in campgrounds and more.
On the other hand, if we allowed passengers to join our tour without holding a valid park pass, we’d actually be in breach of one of the permit conditions for commercial tour operators as specified in the EPBC Act 1999. I won’t bore you with any details, it simply means that if picked up by the compliance team, we wouldn’t be getting away with a slap on the wrist, we’d be putting our livelihood at stake!
You may start to wonder why park management don’t make things a whole lot easier for everyone involved by rebuilding the park entry stations that served their purpose just fine up until eight years ago.
Steve and I have actually been wondering ourselves for a while now…
You would be doing us a big favour by forwarding your thoughts in this matter to the Park Manager by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The park manager suggested to us in a letter this week that we stop at Bowali Visitor Centre to allow passengers without valid tickets to make their purchase at the brand new E-Ticket Kiosk. Unfortunately this gadget is not operational yet and the front counter is not staffed before 8:00 in the morning.
The other suggestion was to take a detour via the Gagudju Lodge Cooinda where park passes can be purchased. Whenever we pick up passengers from the Gagudju Lodge Cooinda this may very well be an option, however, we’re not prepared to take the detour, drive an extra 30km and waste a good 45min that the group could be spending enjoying the sites in the stone country.
Here and here I have outlined before where park passes can be purchased and what the revenue is used for. By booking our tour, passengers agree to our terms and conditions which also include a clause on Kakadu park passes. All our collateral contains information on the park pass – there really isn’t a reason why anybody should have to turn up for our tour without a valid ticket.
You can also use your smartphone (or similar) to purchase your passes online, Jabiru and Cooinda are areas of range here in the park. Download your ticket onto your iPhone, compliance officers will be able to scan and validate them!
Please do the right thing and purchase your park pass before you meet us in the morning – park management have forced us into a position where we don’t have a choice, we’ll have to leave you behind if you’re not holding a valid ticket. We hope for your kind understanding!