travelling the seven parts of the world


Mar 3rd, 2008

Kakadu National Park is World Heritage listed both for its natural beauty and for its cultural values. The natural beauty comes from the low lying plains and the abundant wildlife that can be seen, and the cultural significance comes from some of the world's oldest rock art, and definitely the oldest in Australia.

For the first day in Kakadu, we decided to go on a short cruise along the Yellow River. Rivers are difficult to define here, as the whole place is completely flooded (as it normally is during the wet), so in lots of places we simply traveled through where there would normally be land.

The guys who operate the cruise even have to switch the port from one place to another, because their regular port was completely flooded. And by completely, there was not a thing sticking out of water indicating that there would be a towing spot for 3 large boats and boardwalk.

Apparently this is not a very good time to spot wildlife, especially one that lives in the water, like crocodiles. This is because all the extra water makes the fish go all around the place, and the whole food chain follows the fish. When its dry and there is little water, wildlife usually gathers together near the patches of water that are there, making for a better view.

But we did see some wildlife nevertheless. In the picture above you can see a termite nest (same guys who help aboriginals make their dijeridoos). There is actually a bird called Kingfisher something that looks to make nest in the termite nests, so it actually rams the nest with its head, leaving a hole like can be seen above. Sometimes this works and he gets the nest to himself, other times he breaks his neck. What a gambler!

These two owl-like birds really like the art of camouflage. In fact, they are very easy to approach even when you do see them, as they will not fly away. Instead, they will rely on the fact that normall, you can't see them!

After that the afternoon rains started coming down and we headed for Jabiru, Kakadu's only town to stay for the night.

Next day we visited some aboriginal rock art. There was a causeway leading to the rock art, but was flooded a bit, about 5cm of water on the road. We do remember the water being much higher yesterday, so I think we were pretty lucky to be able to access the site.

After that we drove back to Darwin on the Arnhem highway, which thankfully was open, but there was still a bit of water on the road here or there. Kakadu is a very nice place both in the wet season and the dry. I guess I would have found the dry season more boring than the wet because this was definitely something I had not experienced before, so it was great being here in the wet, but if you're unlucky, you can get stuck!