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Kakadu National Park – the tale of a girls road trip !

Well, this post is a few weeks overdue, but its been a little busy. After the weekend in Kakadu i had two days in Katherine for work, dinner with an old friend of Tash’s and a weekend to remember.
We headed to Kakadu on the weekend of the 6th December and this is the story of our road trip …

We hit the road early on Saturday morning loaded up with lots of goodies for our road trip. We headed south for a few hours being entertained by the girls singing until we reached it – Kakadu National Park
Encompassing almost 22,000sq km, it is one of the largest parks in Australia and is renowned for its protection of a spectacular ecosystem and an important concentration of ancient rock art. In 1984, Kakadu gained World Heritage Listing for both its ecological and cultural heritage.
The name Kakadu comes from Gagadju, one of the languages spoken in the north of the region. Much of Kakadu is aboriginal land, leased to the government for use as a national park. It is jointly managed by Parks Australia and the traditional Aboriginal owners.
We entered the park via the north entrance on the Arnhem Highway and headed west towards Jabiru. We stopped at Mamukala Wetlands and had a bit of a look around at the birds starting to congregate at the large water source.
From the wetlands we made our way to Bowali Visitor centre and had a look through the cultural exhibits and made our plans the rest of the day. From the visitor centre we had a look at Malabanbadju and went on short walk another watering hole where we spotted some Jabiru’s.
From here we headed to Nourlangie art site. The 1.5km round trip walking track takes you past Anbangbang rock shelter, which may have been used for 20,000 years as a refuge from the heat, rain and the frequent wet-season thunderstorms. The Anbangbang gallery was repainted in the 1960s a respected artist, fisherman and hunter. The major character in the gallery is Namondjok, who broke traditional law by commiting incest with one of his clan sisters. Next to Namondjok is Namarrgon, the Lightning Man – who we believe is now going to haunt or deliver terror onto us all after Kate decided to yell into the canyon from the top of the Arnhem Land escarpment, and Lightning Dreaming (Namarrgon Djadjam), the home of Lightning Man – thanks Kate !!!
After ensuring that terror will be brought to us we decided that we better be prepared so we headed to Jabiru to fuel up on lunch. We found a lovely little spot along the river for us to eat our yummy chicken rolls.
From Jabiru we headed back along the Arnhem highway alittle and then turned down the track with Ubirr our destination. We arrived at Ubirr to find the gate closed (after the ranger told us at Bowali that it would be open). We wandered down to Cahills Crossing on the east alligator river which forms part of the border between Kakadu and Arnhem Land. After a lot of debating about whether to stay and wait or leave we left and then about 10 km up the road we passed a ranger car heading into Ubirr, so we did a U-Turn (on a whim and prayer) and headed back to the gate where we found the ranger waiting for the gate to be opened. So we waited too and again were entertained by the girls singing and dancing. Finally the gates opened and we drove up to car park. Ubirr is an outcrop of the Arnhem escarpment, famous for its spectacular aboriginal rock art. After a somewhat strenuous but also easy climb we were on top of the rock cliff looking out on a most spectacular view of the Nardab floodplains. We left Ubirr very inspired and extremely pleased we turned around and decided that before Lightning Man got really angry at us for whatever reason it was time to head towards Cooinda for our overnight accommodation.
The lodge was very cute and the rooms were very nice, we had a lovely if not filling dinner, or should i say Tash and I ate just enough whilst the others, well let’s just say they ate more than enough – see kids meals are good !!!
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