Kakadu du du....

Trip Start Nov 27, 2010
Trip End Dec 12, 2011

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Where I stayed
The Bark Hut

Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We were both looking forward to sampling some of Kakadu's delights as we’d been told that it was the jewel in the crown of Northern Territory national parks and a UNESCO world Heritage site. Well it’s certainly big - at around half the size of Switzerland - but the majority of that is only reachable via unsealed, dirt track roads.  These would definitely be of limit to us anyway in our little car but the weather also meant that some of the sealed roads were under water as well, so it was to be another long day of driving with only the occasional stop when we could get something to see.

Our first stop was at the Ikoymarrwa Lookout and this gave us spectacular views across the park from a high vantage point so we could see the vast expanse of the park in 360 degree glory.  Kakadu's flora is among the richest in northern Australia with more than 1700 plant species so we were keen to get down amongst it and see what we could see

We did spot a huge goanna just sunning itself on the side of the road and it barely bothered to move when we swung round and drove back along side it.  Again the walks and lookout points were ours to survey all alone and I think perhaps we only saw 3 to 4 cars all day, highlighting just how in the middle of nowhere we were.

Probably the most special part of the day was the bit that we had been looking forward to the most and that was seeing some genuine bone fide Aboriginal rock art which was around 20,000 years old.  Nourlangie Rock was a great example and as there are a number of shelters in amongst the large outcrop linked by paths and stairways. The shelters contain several fascinating and surprisingly clear paintings that deal with creation ancestors and stories of killing their food notably kangaroos and barramundi.  There was also another elevated lookout that gave us great views of the Nourlangie Rock and the surrounding rocky area although this was viewed through increasing rainfall.

On the drive through to the end of the park and back towards civilisation Nic spotted a pair of cockatoos sitting up in a tree near to the road so we pulled over so she could give chase with the camera as we’d never seen them in the wild.  It was hard to get too close but we could at least get close enough to get a good sight with our eyes but it was a bit difficult to get a good picture. 

Right at the last as we were taking the road of the Kakadu highway, which it seemed that we’d been on for ages, there was a dingo just sitting there at the side of the road looking at us.  It looked pretty much like a domestic dog and he must have seen his share of humans and cars as he didn’t look too bothered by our pulling up next to him.  

Kakadu was beautiful, the views and sheer serenity that we felt of being alone in the wilderness gave us a very different experience as to what we would have had if it had been the height of summer.  A different kind of buzz would have accompanied the trip if we had been moving from place to place with a big group of other tourists.

All that remained was to find somewhere to sleep.  Jabiru was the big town in the area, home mainly to the mining community that keep the huge uranium mine housed within Kakadu ticking over.  We decided against staying there as we would have had a huge drive back to Darwin again in the morning, so we got a tip from one of the tourist office that line the Kakadu highway that there was a cool place to sleep about 100km up the road called the Bark Hut.  So off we sped, the speed limit in the outback is 130km p/h so we made the distance up pretty swiftly!

The Bark Hut was a really cool outback watering hole with camping accommodation, mainly used by the local barramundi-hunting fishing community.  Complete with stuffed fish and other animals it was filled with singlet wearing, fairly hirsute men who ate like they hadn’t eaten in weeks, shovelling food and beer with gusto.  I would have loved to dropped a line in and had a go at a bara but we had to et the car back by 10 am the next day so my fishing would have to continue to wait once again!

A few beers and some 'The Farmer wants a wife’ on the TV (no really, and we also spotted a ‘Wild Boar’ magazine, as you would imagine all about hunting wild boars) and we hit the hay.  We planned on an early start to get back to Darwin and drop the car off and then it would be a taxi to the airport to catch our flight down to the red centre and Alice Springs.
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