Letho's Blog

The Kakadu National Park – Day 2

by on Jul.17, 2011, under Kakadu

July 17, 2011

Luckily the night was not too cold, and our tent protected us from the hundreds of mosquitoes that may have evolved in the billabong („waterhole“) nearby.

Campsite at Malabanjbanjdju

Campsite at Malabanjbanjdju

It was still quite early in the morning, good for some hiking! We quickly headed to Nourlangie Rock and proceeded to the circular walk leading around the area and to the Gun-warddehwardde Lookout before busloads of other tourists arrived. Already amazed about the rock art from Ubirr the day before, we expected not much, but Nourlangie offered a number of varying Aboriginal rock art as if the indigenous locals had engaged primarily in painting, not hunting or collecting food!

Nourlangie Rock has been a hideout and ancient shelter from the hot sun or monsoon-like rains for the local Aboriginals for at least 10.000 years, probably the reason why so many paintings can be found here. Have a look at a few examples as well as impressions from the area itself:

Especially the last painting features a number of important mythical beings: Namarrgon the Lightning Man, his wife Barrginj, Namarndjalong and his sister and Gulubirr the saratoga fish. The dreamings related to these beings would take up too much space to be recited here.

Along the circular walk we found this as well:

Cane toads how they're supposed to be - dead.

Cane toads how they're supposed to be - dead.

Cane toads are a real pest. Brought into the ecosystem of Queensland in the 1930’s they refused to do what they where intended for: eat bugs in the sugar cane fields. Instead they slowly and steadily spread all over Queensland, the Northern Territory and reportedly with the last and hard wet season even into Western Australia. Their imminent danger lies in their poisonous skin: being eaten by local wildlife they not only kill those who ate them with certainty, but indirectly even those animals who feed off the remains of the poisoned, now dead animals. The worst thing is that they have no natural enemies in Australia and it is hard to stop their spreading. You might ask why Australians hadn’t learned from their previous mistakes (rabbits, foxes, camels, …) when introducing this obviously sinister species into Queensland. We couldn’t find a reasonable and logical answer to that. 🙁

After Nourlangie Rock we continued to two billabongs, of which the Kakadu has so many to offer: the Angbangbang Billabong and the Sandy Billabong. Let’s begin with the former:

Enjoy this panorama:

Anbangbang Billabong

Anbangbang Billabong

And here’s another one:

Anbangbang Billabong

Anbangbang Billabong

Afterwards we walked the steep ascent up to the Nawurlandja Lookout:

Panorama view from Nawurlandja Lookout

Panorama view from Nawurlandja Lookout

Quite idyllic, eh? The Sandy Billabong is not too shabby either:

And yes, we do have a panorama here as well:

Panorama of Sandy Billabong

Panorama of Sandy Billabong

Next thing was a quick stop at the Mirraj Lookout. And what a coincidence – there we met our CouchSurfing host from Melbourne, with whom we had stayed for a couple of weeks, went camping etc in October 2010. We had planned to meet on our way, but could not establish communication in time. And right now and here at this very spot in this giant park we met each other – great! 🙂 We quickly decided to spend the day together and camp later at Sandy Billabong.

Our next destination were the Jim Jim Falls. After 50km of corrugated dirt road we made the last 10 km’s of 4WD track which were more of a challenge, but ok. After the walk into the Jim Jim Falls gorge we arrived at the falls and jumped into the water.

The water was pretty cold, but that didn’t stop me from making my way straight to the end of the gorge and right underneath the falls. The water was pounding heavily on my head and skin, leaving a tingling and almost hurting sensation. I could not keep my eyes open as the water from above, in spume and spray, was too powerful and fast.

An awesome bath! 🙂 Last picture from this spot – a panorama from Jim Jim Falls Gorge:

Panorama of Jim Jim Falls Gorge

Panorama of Jim Jim Falls Gorge

The last point on our itinerary for today was a visit to Twin Falls. The 9 km 4WD track was a bit rough, but fairly harmless in comparison to the major obstacle on the way: a river crossing of almost 70 cm. Our LandCruiser has a snorkel, so we decided to take that vessel through the crossing. We prepared carefully, joining two snatch straps together and attaching them to the recovery point on the back before entering the water. If one of us had to get out in the middle of the crossing it might have become quite dangerous: crocodiles roam around in the river… 🙁

River crossing on the way to Twin Falls

River crossing on the way to Twin Falls

See how it went:

We made it without a problem. Our deepest river crossing ever! 🙂 Not much time left until sunset, and we literally ran onto the walk to the escarpment of the Twin Falls Gorge after finally arriving there. The last boat into the gorge had already left an hour ago, therefore we could not get into the gorge directly in front of the falls.

On our way back we did the river crossing again – without a problem. We needed more than two hours to get back to our camp at Sandy Billabong, where we concluded the day with a few cold beers and some nice lentils.

 


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