Park, Northern Territory
It was a relief to be discovering new places and enjoying
new sights after our extended stay in Katherine.
The name 'Kakadu' comes from an Aboriginal floodplain
language called Gagudju, which was one of the languages originally spoken
in the north of the Park.
Kakadu National Park is a Commonwealth Reserve covering
almost 20,000 square kilometres, and includes the traditional lands of
a number of Aboriginal clan groups. It's managed jointly by its Aboriginal
traditional owners and the Commonwealth organisation, Environment Australia.
The Park is World Heritage listed, both for its cultural
and natural heritage and it protects one of the finest and most extensive
collections of rock art in the world - the legacy of its long and continuing
occupation by a number of Aboriginal tribes.
We chose to stay in one of the free bush camping areas,
Jim Jim Billabong, and suffered the consequences.
Several tour groups also took advantage of the site
and the peace and tranquility of the first evening was shattered by the
'bubble gum' music of the mainly teenage clientele they chaperoned.
'If only the crocs were hungry'
...and then the second night didn't offer much relief...with
a pair of dueling ameteurs on didgeridoos filling the airwaves with continual
humming noises that didn't vary in pitch or tone (did have a pretty good
handle on volume though)..
But on the flip side...we tried to reconcile...we
did have water views.
We were fortunate to find a spot adjacent to the boat
ramp at Jim Jim Billabong and positioned the van overlooking the water...but
far enough away from the reach of any of its prehistoric, razor teethed
occupants who fancied 'homo sapien' takeway.
The Park was hot, 30+ each day, dry and dusty and
much of the scenery wasn't quite as spectacular as we had expected.
However, one of the highlights of our stay at Kakadu
was a two hour boat cruise on Yellow Water Wetlands, which we thoroughly
enjoyed, despite the $40 per person price tag.
...seems crocs aren't the only things in the Park
that bite !!
Yellow Water is part of the South Alligator River
floodplain and hosts a diversity of fauna - just some include estuarine
crocodiles, goannas, agile wallabies, jabiru storks, sea eagles, magpie
geese, several species of ducks, cormorants and other flapping, winged
things and a variety of slippery, slivering, hissing serpents.
Paper bark trees and pandanus palms line the shores
of the waterway, large lotus lilies proliferate along its length and buffalo
grass abounds on its banks and the surrounding floodplains...home to a
small number of brumbies and water buffalo who still frequent the Park.