The world heritage listed Kakadu National Park is a wild and special place to visit. There are currently three main luxury accommodation options near Kakadu.
The two closest options, the Mercure Crocodile Hotel and the brand new Yellow Water Villas (opened in 2023) are inside the park and the third choice, Bamurru Plains is outside of the park.
Option 1. Luxury Accommodation inside Kakadu National Park
Firstly, you can stay in the park in either comfortable 4 star accommodation, with similar facilities to a more luxury hotel like a swimming pool and quality restaurant and bar or in brand new luxury sustainable tent style villas.
These are the best located and most reasonably priced luxury option for exploring the different regions of Kakadu National Park. This is because you will be closer to the parks bushwalks, rock art sites, cultural tours, wildlife cruises and all of the famous places in the park.
Both places are managed by Accor Hotels on behalf of Kakadu Tourism, an Indigenous owned entity.
There may be more luxury accommodation options in the future as part of the Jabiru Masterplan transitioning Jabiru from mining and into tourism town.
The Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel
This 4 star option in the park is the Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel (opens in booking.com). The Crocodile Hotel has long been the go to choice for a more luxury standard of accommodation in the Park.
It is located in Jabiru, a small town with a supermarket, service station and bar located within the boundaries of Kakadu National Park.
This is the most conveniently located luxury accommodation for visiting Bowali Visitor Centre, Ubirr, Cahills Crossing, Guluyambi Cultural Cruises, tours into Arnhemland, Mamukala Wetlands (some are seasonal activities) and is slightly closer drive to the art walks around Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) area.
THe Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel is also the best choice if you want to stay in remote version of a traditional hotel as they have have indoor bistro style dining and the rooms are located off walkways along the hotel.
Images open on Agoda
Yellow Water Villas at Cooinda
The Yellow Water Villas at Cooinda Lodge (booking.com) are brand new luxury eco tents that opened in May 2023. Kakadu tourism explains that the tents were built on stilts and that no tree were cut down to build the villas.
This is a different style of accommodation to the Crocodile Hotel, as rather than been part of a main hotel building each Tent Villa is stand alone accommodation amongst the trees. They boast a bbq and outdoor bath on the deck and area a short walk to the outdoor restaurant.
This is definately the best choice if you would like to do a sunrise or sunset tour at Yellow Waters to spot crocodiles and birds. This is because it’s close to where the Yellow Waters cruises leave from so you can avoid a 40 minute drive in the dark from Jabiru for the cruise.
Many people don’t realise how big the park is when choosing where to stay and many rental car companies don’t allow driving at night in remote areas – be sure to check.
Cooinda Lodge also has a restaurant, a huge lagoon pool and other cheaper accommodation options.
Option 2. Extraordinary luxury accommodation outside Kakadu National Park
An extraordinary and special place, Bamurru plains (booking.com link) is a top end destination all by itself. It is a wildlife, wetlands and wilderness focus experience like Kakadu but not in the park (north west of Kakadu). You stay in luxury glamping tents in the bush that have views onto the floodplains. Guest numbers are limited to around 20 and you have access to personalised service and tours to see the exclusive billabongs and the wildlife that lives there.
Bamurru is generally well over $1000 a night per person, but this includes your meals (including drinks & alcohol) and incredible experiences like airboat tours, croc spotting and wildlife watching. And when you book Bamurru Plains you are choosing one of the most special and unique luxury stays in Australia. Check out the videos on their website to get a true understanding of the wild experiences offered by the resort.
They also offer a package that includes visiting Kakadu on a day trip, so you can see the park as well as experience their private experiences if you don’t want to skip kakadu. Alternatively, you can visit both destinations on your itinerary and self guide/drive yourself to Kakadu.
Note: The 3rd option Wildman Wilderness Lodge, another luxury accommodation provider outside of the park appears to be closed indefinitely after covid, with their website and socials gone quiet.
Accommodation Summary – which one to choose?
So to recap Mecure Crocodile is your highest standard of accommodation staying in the park and a great option to spend more time exploring incredible Kakadu National Park. This is generally where people stay who visit Kakadu and would like a comfortable standard of accommodation.
If you are more interested in a private property, one of a kind, personalised luxury experience (with the option of a Kakadu day trip) then choose Bamurru.
And if you realised you are happy to compromise on accommodation standards to more easily access nature experiences in different Kakadu areas, split your stay to include both Mecure Crocodile and Cooinda Lodge in your itinerary.
Not sure if you want to stay in the park?
You do have the option take your pick from the luxury options in Darwin and just do a day tour to Kakadu. Day trips are a good option if you are short on time. They are a big day but include knowledgable guides (who must complete Kakadu specific training) and drivers to enhance your experience.