Brisbane, QLD

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kimberley and Top End-Kakadu-Ubirr-Mamukala

After the Yellow Water Cruise we drove through Kakadu National Park to the township of Jabiru, where we stayed at Gagudju Crocodile Holiday Inn. As you can see the hotel is shaped like a crocodile, reception and restaurant are in the head and the rooms are along the sides with a swimming pool in the middle.

Early the next morning we took a scenic flight over Kakadu NP and Arnhem Land Plateau. Kakadu's traditional aboriginal owners, have leased their land to the Director of National Parks to be jointly managed. The Bininij/Mungguy people have lived and cared for this country for tens of thousands of years. Their spiritual connection with the land is globally recognised in Kakadu's World Heritage listing which honours one of the oldest living societies on earth. We flew past the Ranger Uranium Mine which borders Kakadu. It is one of the world's leading Uranium producers. The land is leased from the original aboriginal owners and will be rehabilitated and become part of Kakadu when it finishes production around 2012.

If you strain your eyes you may see a natural arch near the left hand corner.

The dominant sandstone escarpment of the Arnhem Land Plateau ranges in height from 30m to 300m. It is criss crossed with gorges where monsoon forest grow. The river system is called South Alligator River and West Alligator River named by an early explorer who thought he saw alligators but in fact they were crocodiles. In the wet season these rivers overflow and cover the lowlands in water. Some of the water stays throughout the dry season forming pools and billabongs where the .....

..birds flock in clouds and the crocodiles lurk beneath.

After the flight we drove to Ubirr Rock which is an important aboriginal historic area. The rock art represents one of the longest historical records of any group of people in the world. The pictures tell stories of their past, of their hunting trips and it was a way of teaching the younger generation. The act of painting is more important than the painting itself so ......

...many earlier paintings are covered by more recent ones.

Many pictures tell of the Creation Ancestors and the changes in the landscape over thousands of years.

We climbed up to the top of Ubirr Rock where we had 360 degree views of this ancient land.

We could see hills, ridges and forests and.....

...floodplains. Then it was time to head for Darwin, our destination, but there was still more sightseeing to do.

We stopped for a picnic lunch at Mamukala Wetlands Bird Hide. There were hundreds of birds.

A Magpie Goose fussing over a gang of Plumed Whistling Ducks.

The Three Wise Ducks hear nuttin', saw nuttin' and said nuttin' to the Swamphen policeman.

I'm not sure what it is. Some kind of heron I think.

As the duck landed we took off for Darwin.


  1. Your photos are the next best thing to being there. Fantastic Diane!!! I am just loving my arm-chair vacation :)

  2. Another gorgeous area, Diane. I know that exploring this remote area of Australia has got to be interesting. Glad that that land is being preserved.

    Love seeing all of the wild birds. They must be in heaven there. What is the year-round temps down there????

    That big hotel/motel is neat--in the shape of a croc.

    Loved the ancient art on those rocks also. WOW!

    Thanks! I will probably never get to these areas--so I appreciate you taking us along.


  3. I am green of jalousy ! what trip you made and what wonderful landscapes you saw and so interesting. Love the old wall paintings they always amaze me in all countries of the world.
    And this hotel is really very special, lol ! Now you can say that you slept in a crocodiles tail !

  4. Hi Diane, I hopped over here from Sunny's blog. I enjoyed taking this tour with you...and you took some awesome photos. Great post...

  5. The hotel is great, I love the crocodile shape. And even more interesting birds, there are so many and they are beautiful. I love all the aerial shots.

    My favorite is the rock art, this is something that has always intrigued me. Great photos.


  6. More amazing views of a wondrous country. The rock art is beautiful. I had never seen photos of any that intricate. Looks like lots of fun and work getting to the top of Ubirr rock.