Saturday, 8 March 2008
KAKADU NATIONAL PARK
This is the first in a series of occasional posts about places I've visited that are important to me.
Kakadu National Park, which is part of Arnhem Land , is in the Northern Territory of Australia and I was there in July 2003(...was it that long ago?...sigh). It is on the United Nations' World Heritage List for its cultural and natural significance and its wetlands are recognised as significant under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.
This is yours-truly taking a photo at Ubirr, which is breath-taking! Photos don't do the scale and scope of this spot justice at all.
People have continuously lived in Arnhem Land for at least 50,000 years and Kakadu NP is rich in archaeological sites detailing this history.
The gallery above is at Nourlangie Rock.
Arnhem Land has one of the greatest concentrations of rock art in the world,with over 5,000 sites catalogued and an estimated 10,000 gelleries still to be recorded.The rock art is found on the sandstone walls of rock overhangs that are part of the Arnhem Land Escarpment and generally date from about 25,000 years ago, up until fairly recent times.
These 2 galleries are at Ubirr. Most Art from Arnhem Land is of the X-ray type.
The wetlands and billabongs are inundated in the Wet Season, usually from about December through to March/April, and then gradually dry out during the Dry Season, which ends with The Build-up (to the next Wet). The Indigenous people for whom Kakadu has been home for thousands of years, actually recognise 7 distinct seasons.
Below is Anbangbang Billabong, with Noulangie Rock in the background.
About one third of Australia's bird species are found in Kakadu NP, especially around the billabongs. When we were there, the billabongs were drying up but we still saw an amazing number of birds.
Below is the death-throws of sunset at Yellow Water Billabong. Witnessing sunset here is a particularly 'touristy' thing to do...little mini-buses from the 2 resort-type venues in the park, plus campers like us in our dusty 4WDs, descend on this little jetty to watch sunset over the water each evening, weather-permitting.We got there very early and grabbed the front-row seats, and , just because we are campers, doesn't mean we lack class!! In the photo, the basket next to my sister held our chilled beer and champagne,smoked salmon ,sour cream, capers and crackers, cheese and our glasses.