Day 17 (September 26, 2015)   Kakadu National Park


Kakadu map

   We’re going to be picked up at hotel early this morning, at 7 AM, for our two days tour in Kakadu National Park.

   We will be able to enjoy a cruise to watch the crocodiles and having some walks in the park to enjoy its unique nature.

   The spots marked at map, which we may visit, are:

 1- Mamukala
 2- Ubirr
 3- Camping Center
 4- Jim Jim Falls
 5- Nourlangerie art site


    Our guide Dale picks us up at 7 AM. We’re the first ones in the car and start with the goodies available for breakfast. There is enough for us and for the rest of the group that are joining us in every stop in Darwin: two Australian girls, an American one and a French family.

On the road to Kakadu

   The 4WD car is full when taking the road for a one hour and a half ride until our first stop, through this peculiar landscape flat with thin trees. In the way, Dale has been explaining how this landscape changes in summer, when everything is flooded and the roads, like the one we’re on, are useless and the park gets isolated. There is no chance for tours in that period. We’ve seen some of these train-trucks: trucks with four or five trailers. These “monsters” only exists in this country, as far as I know, as they only can go by straight roads. I don’t manage a good picture of any of them.

Our carTrain trucks

   This first stop is already one of the main highlights of this tour: the jumping crocodiles cruise. We’re not in Kakadu yet, but nature is all around. Along the road we could see wild buffalos and wallabies.

Wild Buffalos

   Before the cruise some coffee was waiting for us. A snake was there too for us to “play” when Dale takes it from the terrarium. When the call comes we go into the boat with some other groups and it starts sailing this brown river. Crocodiles appear immediately by both sides.

SnakeCrocodile aproaching to us

Sailing by the crocodile River

   The show is coming from some bones tied to a stick which are put in front of the animals. They think it’s easy food and try to get them, but the guy managing the stick is getting the reward up, slowly, until managing the crocodile was getting more and more out of the water when trying to reach the food. It’s not a jump, but a slow emerging up. They’re doing this repeatedly in both sides of the boat as we’re not allowed to change sides to keep the boat balanced.
Jumping crocodileJumping crocodile
   When coming back they throw some food for the kites, which are coming massively to take it in flight.
Kites soming for foodKites soming for food
   Once again on the road we’ll still stop one more time for petrol and goodies before officially reach the Kakadu National Park entrance.

Gas station before Kakadu N. P.
Kakadu N. P. Entrance

   It’s now when we stop for lunching. There are always enough drinks and snacks in the car but, for the first lunch, we’re getting different ingredients to choose to make our fajitas.

   With full stomachs we’re ready for our first visit in the park. It is in Mamukala, which is a short walk to a hut for bird watching.

Mamukala billabong
Mamukala billabongMamukala billabong

   We’re told the explanation to the smokes can be seen here and there at horizon since we get the park: they’re coming from controlled fires in the forest. Curiously, there are some trees here have evolved as protection for the usual fires in this area and now they need the fire for make the seeds soft enough for they can germinate. We stop in one of these fires along the road.

Fires in KakaduKakadu's landscape

   Next stop is at Ubirr. This is a longer walk so we’re advised to take water and sun protection as it is hot here. We’re amazed at the first part of the walk by the landscape, with the peculiar vegetation and rocks of this place.

Ubirr's landscapeUbirr's landscape

   The second part is about the Aboriginal paintings in the walls of the rock and the stories behind them.

Aboriginal paintings in UbirrAboriginal paintings in Ubirr

   And, as a reward for our climb to the top of Ubirr rock, we’re getting the best views in the park. Unlimited green floodplains can be seen from here.

Views from Ubirr lookout
Views from Ubirr lookoutViews from Ubirr lookout

   Has been almost one hour until reaching the top, but the going back is a lot shorter going down and without the explanations for the paintings. In our way we can see a rock wallaby resting at shadow.

Ubirr's landscapeRock wallaby in Ubirr

   After this visit our guide takes us to an area with barbeque and swimming pool, so we can refresh while waiting for the dinner to be ready.

Swimming poolCamp fire

   The last ride today is through a very bad road, at dark, until the camp site. There we take a place for our tents that don’t need the cover due to the heat and the lack of rain, so we can sleep today with a sky full of stars as ceiling. Before, we spend a good time by the fire.