Snapshot … Kakadu

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).

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Dad and I with a termite mound … these can grow to 6 metres high (19 feet)
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The long roads of The Outback
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.

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A nine year old me with rock art depicting The Rainbow Serpent (Aboriginal Dreamtime stories credit creation of the land to the Rainbow Serpent)
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More rock art!
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Namarrgon, the lightning man, at Nourlangie rock
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Mabuyu hunting figure at Ubirr rock
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.

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The view over Arnhem Land in 1986
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View over Arnhem Land taken in 2000
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Enjoying some sun and a swim at the base of the waterfall!
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!).

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Crossing the East Alligator River … odd name considering we don’t have alligators in Australia. But as the sign to the right says … crocodiles definitely in the area!
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Sunset
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!

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30 thoughts on “Snapshot … Kakadu”

  1. What a wonderful nostalgic post Kim, Kakadu is the perfect choice for your first post on Australia. (Hope it won’t be the last!) My husband went around Australia with his parents when he was about the same age as you were. He’s told me he loved it and remembers learning how to swim at Mataranka Springs as well as visiting Kakadu. Great memories for you Kim, it must have been fun putting this together.

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    1. Thanks, Miriam. It was a fantastic trip and it made a huge impression on me. We soak up so much at that age. I remember Mataranka – I loved it there. And Katherine Gorge always stands out to me. My Dad and I swam across the gorge, racing each other, despite the presence of Johnson/freshwater crocodiles. It was something I repeated when I returned in 2000.
      Have you spent much time in the Top End?
      And this definitely won’t be my last Aussie post πŸ™‚

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      1. You painted quite a picture Kim, racing across the gorge, made me smile. Lucky no crocs were there smiling at the same time too. I haven’t been to the Top End yet, believe it or not. But it’s right up the top of the Aussie bucket list.

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      2. Oh there were crocs around alright! Within eye sight but fortunately only freshwater and not at all interested in us humans. Not sure I’d swim the gorge now though as I’ve heard they have recently found saltwater crocs in the upper gorge. Yikes!
        I think you would enjoy the Top End, with your love of the outdoors and pristine wilderness, throw in a swag & a good camp fire … Paradise! I’m talking myself into a return here … πŸ˜€

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    1. Thanks, Daisy! Takes awesomeness to recognise it in anotherπŸ˜‰ I’m grateful that parents pushed me to see the world (not that I needed much pushing!) … You learn so much by getting out there and living it!
      I’ve just caught up on your blog … Damn! You are run off your feet lately. Don’t forget to take time just to breathe xx

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  2. So many mysteries of our past are findable through the aborigines of Australia. We want to know all about the paintings and how these people read them. At 70,000, there was a crossing out of Africa and eventually on down the coast all the way to Australia (From the documentary the real Eve). My favorites might be the little Javan guys who hunted the little elephants! These are not quite the same as our kind of guys, but the aborigines and the cave painters of France are our kind of guys. I once saw the guy from Mash, what’s his name, read African rock paintings from what the Bushmen say, and that is how to do it, not the Archeo- B. S., oh, some worship of the fertility…. The Tasmanians, the wooly haired guys, have the fewest tools of any living humans, 26, I think! Tell us all about the Australian guys and what they say! What is the best book on the subject? Rainbow serpent and lightning man?
    MM, U.S.A.

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    1. My honest opinion … Forget the books. There’s no substitute for travelling to the Northern Territory (or Tasmania or whichever of our states most appeal to you) to experience and learn about their culture in person.

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      1. I went to Sydney, Melbourne and up to the Whitsundays…not even scratching the surface really. Would love to do a month trip and see more πŸ™‚ But the obsession started because I grew up watching Neighbours (a great representation of Aussie life πŸ˜‰) everyone was obsessed with it here in the UK haha!

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  3. It might have taken some effort to pull out those old snaps for your post. And it was definitely worth it! Your post felt like a warm memory. It made me feel like a part of your life. I think I want to believe in imaginary time machines. πŸ™‚ Loved it! The photos with the hues of red – add to the nostalgia.

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    1. You’re not wrong, Cheryl. There’s a lot of effort in digging out those old photos and scanning them. Most of them needed some retouching as they were quite faded. I completely agree regarding the red hues – it really adds to the sense of time passing. I hadn’t looked at those photos in many years so it was a bit like being in a time machine lol πŸ™‚ I’m glad you enjoyed it!!

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    1. I can’t believe I left it so long before writing a post about home! I am planning to do another one when we get to the Letter “U” for the A-Z Challenge though. Thanks, Lyn … so glad you enjoyed seeing a little of my home πŸ™‚ xx

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