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.

7 comments:

Jules said...

What a special place and one that is on my list of must-do-before-I-die!!!

Love a person who travels in style - my kinda gal!!!

Julie said...

I trip into the Red Centre starting April 20 and fully expect it to be similarly seminal for me. Later in the year I am travelling to Europe with friends - yet I have only ever seen the periphery of my own ancient land. I feel a need to rectify this. I go by 4WD from Adelaide to Alice with 10 others and sleep mostly in a bag. I figure I will be the oldest person on board - but what the heck!!

Elizabeth said...

What a fabulous tour.
I have never been to Australia though I have cousins there.
You have the most amazing landscapes.
Did you notice that the photos of rocks looked a little like meat?
So many natural elements echo each other of course.
Thanks for visiting my blog!

Catherine said...

What a beautiful place! And beautiful captures you shared with us! I like the name also!
Thanks for the fabulous tour!
Have a great week!
Cat

Mme Benaut said...

Wonderful and as it has been said before: "you'll never, never know if you never, never go".
I think I'm going to enjoy this series, CabaC. Thanks for posting such wonderful photos.

Jilly said...

Like Jules, I dream of going to this place. I lived in Oz for 6 years, three in Cairns, so am really sorry I never made it. One day, one day... lovely photos.

Michelle said...

My grandfather (Mirli's dad) went "North" every winter to fish - he said to escape Adelaides cold weather (hmm... yeh right) His ashes are in a billabong up there.