Spectacular Kakadu

Sunset over Kakadu

Sunset over Kakadu

 

DSC03012Kakadu is simply extraordinary. We had so many people tell us “Kakada-don’t” that we thought it would be touristy and boring – but it is, in our opinion, a world-class national park (and we’ve been to a few!). We were back in camping mode, after staying in a cabin in Darwin, and Kakadu is THE place to camp, it feels really remote, is blissfully quiet at night, and the scenery is breathtaking.

 

DSC02978We started with the croc-jumping tour at Adelaide River, which is touristy, but for 3 of us (not Ben), it was our first experience of big saltwater crocodiles in the wild, and they are huge, up to six metres long, jumping out of the water for pork chops. Ollie was in crocodile heaven, and even had a favourite called Archie, that had limbs and some of his snout missing from fights with other crocs; a true bad boy of the river! But the guides also give you a lot of interesting information about the crocodiles, and the debate on their growing numbers. As a protected species since the 70s, they are increasingly in conflict with humans and there are signs EVERYWHERE in the NT about the crocodile danger. They are now removing eggs from nests in order to control breeding but not everyone agrees with this approach, as they can live up to 70 or 80 years. When you see them come out of the water for their chops you realise impromptu swimming in the NT is a really bad idea!

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We stayed overnight in Jabiru, about 200kms into Kakadu and from here did an amazing walk to Ubirr, where they have the most amazing 20,000 year old Aboriginal rock paintings, many showing animals long-since extinct, or telling local stories and legends. Then it’s a good climb up to the top of an escarpment to see, in my humble opinion, the most incredible view I’ve seen this trip, looking over green wetlands into Arnhem Land, aboriginal territory. You can understand why it is regarded as a sacred place.

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Incredible Ubirr, could sit here for hours!

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From here we travelled down a couple of dusty corrugDSC03335ated dirt 4wd tracks to the national parks campsites where we were treated to wild brumbies (horses) and dingo’s coming through the park in the small hours – just too exciting to sleep! And they provide toilets and hot showers for only $20 per night, too!

Ben's office.

Ben’s office, still having assets at home mean lots of emails even here.

We also fitted in a sunset boat trip on the Yellow River and Billabong, treated to more of the gorgeous wetlands landscape, teeming with birds and large saltwater crocodiles resting on the banks. Even our guide was amazed as we watched a sea-eagle dive and bring a massive barramundi out of the river, only to drop it on the banks, whilst distracted (looking for its missing catch) the sea-eagle itself was stalked by a saltie who moved across the water at an impressive speed just missing snapping it up with its impressive jaws – worthy of an Attenborough documentary!

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DSC03038More beautiful rock-art at Nourlangie, and an overnight camp at Gunlom Falls, with its incredible natural infinity pool, completed our appreciation of this truly magical, spiritual place.

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Great shot taken by Cameron!

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11 Responses to Spectacular Kakadu

  1. Hannah N says:

    Your trip looks amazing. I’ve followed your posts all along the way of your journey and can only comment on how incredible it seems to be. I feel I’ve gained insight through your blogs by the things you’ve been able to see and experience. It truly leaves me in awe.

    I hope you are well! With love x

    • Adele says:

      Hannah!! So lovely to hear from you, really hope uni is going well and that you are thoroughly enjoying the experience as well as working hard, which I know you will be. If you get a chance drop me an email and tell me how it’s going. Thanks so much for following us, hope it inspires you to do your own gap year at some stage, comes highly recommended by us but with a warning that it is highly addictive and hard to stop.

      • Hannah N says:

        Thanks! Uni has been a wonderful adventure and has gone brilliantly with a 1st on finishing my first year. I’d love to email you! Although what is your email? Maybe if you don’t want it published on here you could email me on hnash79@googlemail.com with a line to let me know it’s you. I would absolutely love to do a gap year. Let the saving begin!

  2. Nick Thomas says:

    Guys not sure who told you not to go to kakadu but I am glad you ignored them….it is phenomenal! Glad you enjoyed. Are you going to Litchfield (sp) thought that was v good too…

    • Adele says:

      Thanks Nick, yep Litchfield was really good too, especially with all those waterfall/swimming holes but for the wow factor it has to be Kakadu. Making you want to come to OZ again?

  3. Auntie Sheila says:

    I have just realised after seeing that croc, and you all thinking it was wonderful, it may be time for you to come back to civilisation. All jokes aside what an experience just remember do not go in for a paddle. Keep safe love to you all .

    • Adele says:

      Hi guys, who would have thought we would love crocs, except Ollie of course! We are VERY lucky to be seeing so many amazing natural wonders, and there’s still so much more to do before we leave Australia. Don’t worry we are croc-wise and keeping limbs out of the dangerous waters.

  4. Sharon Smith says:

    Bit of a ‘jaws’ moment with that last photo Adele ! I could just hear that music in the background as you looked wistfully over thar rock ! I will be thinking twice before I leap into the pool this afternoon ! S x

    • Adele says:

      Hi Sha, I know, would have made an exciting photo though! You all seem to be having a fantastic holiday yourselves. Have a few whites for me!

  5. Stephen McDonnell says:

    Walkers,
    I know its been a while but I have been busy. But there is one thing that has driven me to my keyboard with an almost compelling force. I cant help it but it has actually robbed me of a few nights sleep trying to comprehend the vast discord it has wrought on the universe. Many may have not noticed but I have and it squats like a malignant toad on my sub conscience daring me to ignore its very existence. The horrific manifestation can be summed up not in a statement but in a question, a question that’s cuts to the core of the matter and will hopefully give me some respite from my torment. The question is simply this.
    Ben what in the name of Christ have you grown on your face?
    few I’m glad that’s off my chest.
    I know you probably think it makes you look like an Elizabethan adventurer filling in maps of the terra incognita as your ship travels along the unknown, but in truth if you have a good look at it you look like someone who should be swigging cheap wine in a Matalan doorway at 10 in the morning. I am no stranger to adversity in the wilds and on occasion have gone stretches of time living off nothing but my pocket contents but when even in the wilds of the Australian outback where it only costs 20 dollars for toilets and hot showers can you find an excuse for looking like a version of David Bellamy that had shunned the academic botany work and really let himself go.
    Ok with that elephant in the room well and truly blow darted its time to revue your latest escapades. I was overjoyed to see sentence in the latest blog that managed to hold the words Kakadu, Ubirr and Jabiru all of which have sent my spell checker into meltdown. I am sure children in Reading refer to the contents of a recently used nappy as Kakadu which is probably why people urged you not to go there. But the big highlight is the revelation of the crocodiles. These living dinosaurs that can tear a man limb from limb and they are not scarce. No they are lurking round every bend in the river, they are natures reason why the great expanse of beautiful country you are currently on walkabout through remains unsettled. You don’t want one of those buggers crawling up your freshly lain patio and trying to get in through your patio doors. (not a euphemism).
    Finally I am really impressed by the 20000 yr old cave paintings. That is proper history created at a time when the Sahara was wet and fertile, 5000 years before the woolly rhinoceros became extinct. I know in your eyes its not as impressive as a really old tree or a rock that has loafed about for a long time but to the rest of the world that is properly interesting.
    Tell Ollie crocs shouldn’t be named, its like naming a virus or threshing machine or something. I doubt they make loving and loyal pets.
    take it easy Walkers, I wish you safe journey through the miles and miles of bugger all that Australia has to offer. It truly is a place that can put strain on a wide angled lens.
    All our love
    The McDonnells

    • Ben Walker says:

      I feel vaguely flattered to be likened to an Elizabethan adventurer, slightly less so the hobo in a Matalan doorway, but I figure that 1 out of 2 ain’t bad! On a serious note, I’m hoping that it will provide me with some decent employment over the Xmas period in the Gold Coast’s shopping malls!

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