Saturday, July 16, 2011


Barry and I went on a trip up to Kakadu National Park this week. The park is about 250 km from Darwin. We decided that we probably were not going to be in this part of the world again and we should take some time to visit the rock art that the park is famous for. I felt humble to think that people had been painting on these rocks perhaps over 20,000 years ago and their efforts are still there for us to view.

In this picture the paintings are on the rock face as well as on the roof of the overhanging cliff. The topography of the area was stunning. There are rock escarpments that seem to jut out of nowhere. We climbed up to the top of the first one we came to and the 360 degree view was just stunning. The rocks edge was very pronounced and the land fell away to become a flat river valley that floods in the wet season and although the ocean in 100 km away there is a still a tidal influence that far upstream. the view alone was worth the price of the rental car and the hotel room. We drove up one day, stayed overnight and drove back to Darwin by a different route the next day.

We got up early after luxuriating in the double sized bed, (oh, the room to strech out and have space for your arms at your sides). We headed off to hear a park ranger talk about how the aborigines used the plants, for food and to make baskets. We walked to an area where there an abundance of birds and saw this sulphur crested cockatoo trying to make a meal of this fruit of the pandanus tree.

One our way to the next rock art site there were these trees that had the gorgeous yellow blossoms , notice there are no leaves though. It was about 1.5 km out to this site and it was about 30 degrees so we made sure we were drinking a lot of water. About that stage, Barry's ankle had had enough and he did not climb up to the next lookout site. The view was not quite as spectacular as the first spot we went but suddeness of the escarpment was very evident.

Among the places you could visit were listed a number of billabongs. I wanted to experience a realy Aussie billabong so we went to one and it just looked like a big prairie slew, but at another there was moving water with areas where the land would flatten out and there would be a big pond. It was much nicer than the first spot. I think billabong just means a water hole.

Another thing this area is famous for is the crocs. There were numerous tours you could take where you experience the crocs up close and personal. We were lucky and managed to see two just on our own, well I guess I mean not on a tour, other people had to point them out to us. They are very hard to spot and you really have to know what you are looking for to see one. On the far side of the pond below you can see spiky parts of his back and his head is facing away from the picture. We were glad that we had seen crocodiles in the wild.