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                                NT AUSTRALIA  -  KAKADU

July 16/06

Stardust lent us their rental car and we planned an overnight trip to Kakadu National Park. It was about a 3 hour drive south of Darwin through the bushland to the park gate.

KAKADU

Kakadu lies on the Arnhem Land escarpment, and covers 20,000 square kilometers including a vast wetland. Woodlands consisting of mostly eucalypts and tall grasses make the landscape look lifeless and monotonous. Everywhere the underbrush is charred as seasonal burning by Aboriginal people in the region has been part of the landscape for thousands of years.

The area is home to water buffalo and cattle, Brahma being the breed of choice probably because they are hardies in the dry conditions.

Red Earth

We took a detour off the main road and traveled a short distance on the prominent red soil that the outback is famous for.

Window on the Wetlands
We stopped to visit the Interpretive Centre and climbed to the vantage point overlooking the Adelaide River Flood Plain. Besides the birds a large black snake with a red belly crossed our path. As with most snakes in Australia, this fellow was poisonous.
Although it was the dry season, the Kakadu area floods seasonally and is subject to flash flooding at any time. Some portions of the road we traveled were washed away and creeks flowed over the pavement in other areas. The creeks were full of wildlife, especially ergots by the thousands

Estuarine Crocodiles inhabit most areas of water in Kakadu National Park.

We sighted Crocodiles from our car window while driving on bridges crossing creeks in Kakadu. They disappeared so quickly into the murky water that their prey would not have a chance.

In most locations, crocodile warning signs tell you not to enter the water and to keep away from the water's edge.

Insect Architecture - Cathedrals of the North

Cathedral Termite Mounds are among the largest mounds built by termites anywhere  in the world. These enormous columnar structures sometimes exceed 6 meters in height and may be more than 50 years old!

Incident in Jabiru

Since we needed fuel we stopped in the town of Jabiru, where there wasn't really too much of interest. However at the fuel station we had more drama that we were counting on as a truck driven by an employee of the service station plowed into our rental car, ripping the headlight, signal and bumper from its body. We were terribly delayed as we had to exchange information, contact the rental company and insurance, the driver's employee and so on


We turned north at Jabiru and the landscape became much more rugged, with high rocky cliffs, the sandstone escarpment dominating the area with reddish colored outcrops reaching 30 to 300 meters in height.
 

Ancient Graffiti

 

The Art Sites of Kakadu Park are one of the world's greatest collections of ancient Aboriginal rock art. The naturalistic art depicts the physical, social and cultural environment and traditions of the aboriginal people. A variety of animals, some now extinct, and stick-like human figures occur. Many of the animals have complex x-ray features.

Ubirr Site

Ubirr is a popular area with its collection of sandstone outliers on which Aboriginal ancestors created rock-art thousands of years ago. There is a path that takes you on a circuit around the sights

A site tells the story of the appearance of crocodiles, a threat to the Aboriginal people even thousands of years ago.

View from the Top

A steep rocky limb to the top of a sandstone plateau  gave superb views over the Nardab floodplain on one side and the dry grassy plains on the other side.

Nourlangie Rock Art Sites

Over 5000 sites of Aboriginal Art have been noted and an estimated 10,000 sites remain undiscovered.
We thought the Nourlangie site displayed much more colorful artwork. Some recovered paintings date back to 50,000 years ago.

Nawurlandja Lookout

On our way to Kakadu Lodge, where we were booked to spend the night, we hiked to the Nawurlandja Lookout for a view of the sunset. We arrived too early and just sat on the rocks and enjoyed the view, hoping for a rock wallaby sighting. As we waited the colors of the precipice was ever changing and took on a magnificent golden glow.

SLIDESHOW  NORTHERN TERRITORIES, AUSTRALIA

NEXT>>> YELLOW RIVER CRUISE

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