NT AUSTRALIA  -  KAKADU YELLOW WATER CRUISE

July 17/2006

We stayed overnight at Kakadu Lodge in a tiny box that was a converted storage unit with only a bunkbed and a window. A shared bath and shower was across the lot. There was an expensive bar/restaurant, the only choice for miles so we had a bite to eat before retiring.

At 9am the bus departed form the resort to take us the short distance to begin our crocodile sighting tour!

Yellow Water River Cruise

Yellow Water Wetlands is part of the South Alligator River floodplain. A boardwalk leads through the swampland to canopied boats that cruise past meters long crocodiles sunning themselves on the banks. Less threatening  wildlife was abundant around the  Billibong as we stopped for close up sightings of bird life of all kinds, Jabiru storks, pied geese, and ducks.

Crocodiles rule the waters

Birdlife Galore

As we meandered through the floodplains we came upon a bountiful diversity of migratory birds. Our guide was great with the commentary as the boat slithered into the shallows and stopped for photos.

Crocodile Sightings

Despite how well they are camouflaged, we saw many of the 40 salties that live in the area as they lazed unconcerned  on the banks of the East Alligator River. 

Between 1940 and 1960 crocodiles were hunted nearly to extinction for their skins and for sport. 

By 1971 the species was protected and the aggressive crocodile population has now increased to an alarming number, causing problems from attacks throughout Australia.

Crocs can remain under water for over an hour and can travel faster than 10 km per hour. They can reach a size of 6 meters and can live for at least 70 years.

The Jabiru are impressively huge storks that were nesting while we visited the Park.

After our cruise we visited the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre. The centre contains displays of Aboriginal culture ranging from tools and rock art to discussions about the current tensions between the communities of Kakadu. Videos of local Aboriginal people make statements on the future of their land and community.

On our way back to Darwin we stopped for a hike around Aurora Kakadu Resort, a 3.6 km circular walk through monsoon forest and along the margins of a billibong. There was the usual croc warning signs at the waters edge, where birdlife wandered about seemingly unaware of any danger.

We also made friends with a kangaroo who grazed on the grass where the car was parked.