Letho's Blog

The Kakadu National Park – Day 1

by on Jul.16, 2011, under Kakadu

July 16, 2011

Having left Darwin on the same day we arrived at the entry of the Kakadu National Park in the early afternoon:

The Kakadu NP covers roughly 20.000 square kilometers, distances here are vast. Driving through from top west to bottom south will last about a day on a 500 kilometer journey. It’s listed as a World Heritage site both for cultural and natural values. At the time of our visit it was right in the middle of winter; that equals to hot days and cold to mild nights as Kakadu is still located in the Tropics.

Being famous for its wildlife and especially birdlife we stopped at Mamukala first as there is a bird hide. In high season up to 120.000 magpie geese are roaming around the area. However, as these are migratory birds and it was winter not a single magpie goose could be seen. There were a few ducks, cranes etc. but surely nothing compared to the teeming birdlife at other times.

Here’s an overview of the area, it’s a huge wetland:

Panorama of Mamukala - where are the 100.000 magpie geese?

Panorama of Mamukala - where are the 100.000 magpie geese?

On our way out we stumbled upon something we had seen before, but now had the chance to observe from very close: a tribe of Green Ants.

Following that we drove to the Bowali Visitor Center, walked around a bit, admired the Aboriginal paintings and the wildlife exhibition, but didn’t stay longer than necessary:

Aboriginal painting in the Bowali Visitor Center

Aboriginal painting in the Bowali Visitor Center

Our next destination was Ubirr at the top of the Kakadu NP, a culturally important site with lots of rock arts and an impressive view over the wetlands. On the way we encountered this furry fellow:

A beautiful dingo, probably considering where to get diner today. When we arrived at Ubirr, we found the place massively crowded. Probably 150-200 other visitors wanted to see not only the rock art as well, but were also here to enjoy the famous sunset view.

Let’s begin with a few examples of the stunning rock art. We had seen interesting examples of Aboriginal rock art before, but where not overwhelmed by it. Here, though, the number and quality of it was nothing but stunning:

Typically a lot of the local food („bush tucker“) which has been part of the Aboriginal diet for tens of thousands of years is depicted in the rock paintings as well as dreaming stories and mythical creatures. But really incredible was a painting of a Thylacine, better known as the Tasmanian Tiger. Here in the Top End of Australia, in the Northern Territory. The last known living animal died in the 1930’s, since then the species has been declared extinct. Meaning: this rock painting originates from a time when these animals where present not only on Tasmania, but here on the Australian mainland, in the far north!

After strolling along a few sites with rich and numerous rock paintings we settled for the sunset on the hills at Ubirr and enjoyed a beautiful landscape made of wetlands and mountain ranges:

We shot two nice panoramas to give you a better impression, here’s the first one:

Panorama of Ubirr wetlands no. 1

Panorama of Ubirr wetlands no. 1

This is where the sunset can be observed. The second one shows the hinterland:

Panorama at Ubirr hinterland no. 2

Panorama at Ubirr hinterland no. 2

The day concluded with the mentioned sunset. We weren’t disappointed:

Sunset at Ubirr

Sunset at Ubirr

After a short stop in Jabiru, one of the few little communities in the park, we camped at the Malabanjbanjdju campground. Who invents these tongue twisting names? 🙂


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