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Indigenous elders CLOSE iconic tourist destination in Kakadu, Northern Territory

One of Australia's most iconic tourist destinations will be closed to visitors this holiday season, with traditional landowners slamming Parks Australia for 'a lack of respect' at their sacred sites.

The Gunlom area in the Northern Territory is often referred to as the jewel of Kakadu and sees thousands of tourists every year flock to the stunning infinity rock pool which sits atop of the Gunlom Falls.

But last year controversy erupted after the federally-run Parks Australia constructed a walkway leading to the top of the Instagram-worthy spot.

One of Australia's most iconic tourist destinations - Gunlom in the Kakadu National Park (pictured) - will be closed to visitors this holiday season

The Gunlom area in the Northern Territory is often referred to as the jewel of Kakadu

The Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA) launched legal action claiming the work was done in close proximity to a sacred site without their permission.

Under the Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act, all construction work must be agreed to and signed off by the AAPA.

Gunlom Land Trust chairperson Mick Markham broke the news that in light of Parks Australia allegedly breaching their lease agreement, the gate at the South Alligator River would be locked within the week and remain shut until the legal drama is resolved.

'In that area there are certain elements and remains of people that have gone by thousands of years ago. We don't want people going there,' he told the ABC.

'The traditional owners apologise to the tourists but for us to get our point across, we feel this is the only way.'

Mr Markham the site has religious significance and has been there for over 10,000 years, when the salt water was eroding the cliff face.

The Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA) launched legal action claiming the work was done in close proximity to a sacred site without their permission. Pictured: Gunlom Falls infinity pool at Kakadu National Park

Mr Markham the site has religious significance and has been there for over 10,000 years, when the salt water was eroding the cliff face

'We'd redirect the track, to where it was supposed to be in the first place, and then let's move on to getting the place back as a place to go,' he said.  

Surrounding sites in Kakadu will remain open.

Parks Australia National Parks director Jody Swirepik has disputed claims the walking track was built without the relevant certificates from AAPA.

'In the Open Letter to AAPA, the Director of National Parks acknowledged that there were concerns surrounding the process that was followed in relation to the Gunlom site and was genuinely sorry for any distress caused,' she said.

'The Director of National Parks acknowledges the importance of sacred sites and the shortcomings in the process adopted for the Gunlom works and has provided an assurance to Traditional Owners that the shortcomings will not be repeated in the future.'

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Parks Australia for further comment.

Last year controversy erupted after the federally-run Parks Australia constructed a walkway leading to the top of the Instagram-worthy spot (pictured)

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