So here I am in the fourth month of my blogging experience and I realise something. Despite all the travel posts I’ve done, none of them have been about travel at home! What a huge injustice to my beautiful homeland. I’m going to rectify that today by giving you a glimpse into Kakadu National Park. I’ve visited Kakadu a couple of times but my first trip was in 1986, when I was just 9 years old. My parents thought it was important that I experience my own country before venturing out to foreign ones, and I’m thankful that they did that. I’m fiercely proud of where I come from, I have a love for this beautiful country that is boundless and as much as I love to travel, this place will always be home. For those who are interested, below is the map of the lengthy journey we took (highlighted in blue). Kakadu is located right at the top-centre of the country (where it mentions Jabiru on the map).
Kakadu is a large national park, roughly 20,000 square kilometres. Despite that, it is dwarfed by the area that borders it directly to the north known as Arnhem Land, which is a massive 97,000 square kilometres. We have nothing if not lots of open space here in Australia! Both these areas have ancient histories. The Aboriginal people have lived there for 50,000 years and are one of the oldest continuous living cultures on earth. Two must see destinations in Kakadu are Ubirr and Nourlangie, both of which are rock formations which display some of the best preserved and oldest examples of rock art. The paintings have been dated at 20,000 years old! A climb to the top of the rock formations will give you a breathtaking view over neighboring Arnhem Land.
Kakadu is tropical in climate and although it has six seasons, it can be easy just to group them into two seasons – wet & dry. Some areas can be inaccessible in the wet season as the roads wash out and waterways swell. There are two magnificent waterfalls worth visiting while you are there. Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls. Access to these areas is via 4WD vehicle only. On my last visit, we parked downriver and swam upstream, getting out to climb over boulders and slippery rocks on occasion, before emerging at the sandy shore at the base of the falls. Such a great spot to sit and enjoy the peace and beauty of your surrounds.
Kakadu is home to some wildlife. There are mammals in the area although many are shy, such as the endangered quoll or sugar glider. You may see some wallabies or wallaroos (part of the kangaroo family) and possibly dingo. There are a lot of bats, particularly the large species called flying-foxes (you can see these in cities like Sydney as well though). A trip to Yellow Water Cooinda will spoil birdwatchers as you glide downstream on a boat cruise. There are nearly 300 species of bird in the area. There are also more than 10,000 crocodiles – so keep your fingers inside the boat if cruising and if camping or on foot, stay several metres away from the edge of waterways (we have both Saltwater and Freshwater crocodiles in Australia … the saltwater ones are not the kind you want to run into, they are dangerous and yes, you are on the menu!).
This post is part of my contribution to the A-Z Challenge for April 2016
Click here for a list and links to all my other challenge posts!