Three hours and 171 kilometres from Darwin taking the Stuart and Arnhem Highways [State Route 36] heading in a south-easterly direction you will reach the Kakadu National Park. Covering an area of 19,804 km² it is one of Australia’s most spectacular natural habitats.
For around 40,000 years the area has been home to the Gun-djeihmi, Kunwinjku, and Jawoyn Peoples who are the traditional owners of the land. The area is well reputed for some 5,000 sites which illustrate the Aboriginal cultures in rock art demonstrating their occupation of this land over thousands of years.
Aboriginal Rock Art
Kakadu is diverse in many ways both biologically and ecologically thanks mainly to four major river systems: the East Alligator River, the West Alligator River, the South Alligator River, and the Wildman River. These provide the estuaries, tidal flats, and flood plains which create the perfect environments for an incredible variety and concentration of fauna and flora.
My wife and I travelled to Darwin in August 2011 to celebrate my 60th birthday. Spending the Big Day at Kakadu was a wonderful experience. We arranged the day trip through AAT Kings which picked us up from our hotel – Holiday Inn Esplanade – and dropped us back on the return.
Pool at Holiday Inn Esplanade Darwin
The coach was comfortable and air-conditioned thank goodness as though August is winter the daytime temperature rarely dropped below 30*C and nights averaged about 18*C. The tour included a couple of stops each way to enable us to stretch our legs and to allow the driver a well-deserved break. A buffet lunch was included on the stop to Kakadu which was well organised and the food was hearty. [Forgive me I am unable to remember the name of the place we stopped, although I think it was on the Adelaide River]:
The highlight of the trip however was to witness the glorious wetlands and I will let some of the following images speak for themselves:
Although a long day, it was well worth it; and we looked forward to our next adventure the following day to Edith Falls and Katherine Gorge…..
RLB – Tomewriter