Thursday, May 06, 2004


Although it would have been easy to stay several days in Litchfield we had to keep moving and Kakadu was the next destination. Kakadu covers a massive 8000 square miles but we were able to see only the mere fraction that is reachable by sealed roads.

Just before entering the park we stopped to replenish our water supplies. We met an Irish couple who claimed to be knowledgeable on all things Kakadu. First off they told us that we were going to need much more water. (Except that I knew the campgrounds had water plus there was a store within the park) Then when they learned we would have to stick to the sealed roads they informed us to “not even bother.” Thanks for the advice but we decided to still see what we could.

Image Hosted by
Entering Kakadu

We spent our first night at the Kakadu which with a pool and a pub was not exactly the definition of roughing it. We relaxed at the pool until we were eventually officially creeped out by all the middle aged men checking us out. That night the pub was a welcome refuge from the monstrous mosquitoes.

Kakadu mozzies are unlike any I have previously encountered. They bite through clothing and are undeterred by 95% deet. Rather they seem incited to bite harder by it. The next morning we discovered that we were camped mere metres from a billabong. A mistake I desperately hoped we would never repeat. Our campsite was also infiltrated by scary Hitchcock type birds. At one point we left some tortillas unattended on the picnic table for just a few moments. We returned to find a half a dozen of them pecking through the package.

The day we stopped at the visitor centre and Jabiru on the way to our next campsite. Jabiru was lauded as a bustling commercial centre but all we seemed to find was a concrete strip mall with really terrible coffee. It was on to Merl to setup a camp for the night. We embarked on the road but had not proceeded very far when the discovered the road had been washed out. Unsure if the Reak Mobile would handle the water we tested it out but decided to give it an attempt but with only Kirsten, the driver in the car in order to minimize the weight.

Image Hosted by
Now what?

While we were setting up the tents a couple of German girls asked if they could camp at the neighbouring spot. They wanted to be near some other females. There were very few other sites occupied and it was nice to be visiting a spot outside the high tourist season. The German girls proceeded to pump up a massive air mattress and we, with our thin foam mats, had extreme mattress envy.

We decided to complete the Bardedjilidji circuit before heading for Ubirr to watch the sunset. All along the path at Nourlangie were numbers obviously corresponding to a guide that we had not obtained. Robyn decided to compose her own tour for us.

’And here we have number 4 it is another rock. Like some rocks it can be hard but like other rocks it can also be soft. There is painting on the rock that has much significance of some sort to the Aboriginal people’

Image Hosted by
Kirsten poses on some hard/soft(?) rocks

The sunset at Ubirr was lovely even with the cloud cover. We walked up to the top of the rock and gazed out over the wetlands. Apparently during the wet season the entire plain is flooded. At this time of the year most of the water has receded but enough pools remain to reflect the red light from the sunset. A truly beautiful effect.

Image Hosted by
Sunset at Ubirr

Image Hosted by
Erin, Robyn and Kirsten enjoying the view

Image Hosted by
An amazing location indeed

We spent another night enduring the wretched mosquitoes. We headed to bed early once again to gain some refuge. The cries of dingos howling at the full moon were the last things we heard.

Our final morning at Kakadu was spent exploring Nourlangie. There were stacks of Aborginal paintings. Some of them quite old but some of them fairly recent possibly even painted in the last twenty years. The Aboriginal history is so incredibly ancient yet amazingly still practiced today with very little change. My first inclination was shock that 2000 year old paintings could just be covered up with new drawings. But after visiting Nourlangie I realized that the Aboriginal’s opinion of preserving their ancient artifacts was different than ours. To them repainting the drawings was in essence keeping the spirit of the original artist alive.

Image Hosted by
A more recent example of Aboriginal paintings

On our way out of Kakadu we stopped for a picnic lunch and managed to amuse ourselves with the hundreds of ants. We dropped bits of our lunch on the ground and watched as within seconds the ants had discovered it. The way the organize themselves so quickly and efficiently. How is they haven’t taken over the world?

So overall we saw some beautiful parts of Kakadu even while sticking to the sealed roads. However there is definitely more plus all the great swimming spots are on the 4wd tracks. We decided to cut our time there short in order to head to somewhere we could fully immerse ourselves in cool deep water.

Most expensive gas price so far is 112.9 cents/litre.

<< Darwin to Litchfield | The Route | Katherine >>


Post a Comment

<< Home