Monday, July 18, 2016

Back to Darwin for More Adventures

Great dinner here in Darwin.
There were two more national parks to see in this region of Australia: Kakadu and Litchfield. So we flew back to Darwin for our base for these day tours. It was good to have another day to relax before getting back to the 6 AM bus rides!

The largest prawns I have ever had in my life! Yummy!
On the first tour we went to Kakadu National Park. The highlight here was the fantastic cave drawings. Dreamtime legends and images of daily life are seen at Ubirr and Nourlangie Rock. It was hard to get my head around the idea that these paintings were 500 to 50,000 years old and the rocks on which they were painted were 1.5 billion years old!

The scenery was spectacular. The heat and humidity was oppressive! It made it difficult to enjoy the day. Kakadu National Park covers 19,804 square kilometers and is listed as a World Heritage site.

It is about 250 kilometers east of Darwin adjacent to the land of the Arnhem people. The name Kakadu comes from the Gagudju language, one of three spoken in the park today. The Aboriginal people have lived in this area for 50,000 years.

The park has over 1,600 plant species, 275 bird species, 75 reptile species, 25 species of frogs and somewhere around 10,000 species of insects! We were there at the end of the wet season so everything was fresh and green. The canals and rivers were brimming with water as were the water lily-covered billabongs, which are the pools or dead water places where the flowing waters end.

We took a peaceful Guluyambi Cultural Cruise through the canals and into the Alligator River to see the plants and listen to the birds. We saw a number of different species.

On the Lilly pads, there was a father bird and four little babies. Apparently, once the eggs are laid, mom blows the nest and the rest is up to dad! I had never heard of that.

The area has both fresh water and salt water crocodiles so we were warned to keep our limbs inside the boat. It was rather humorous when they showed how to put on a life vest. I guess if you are floating in a yellow vest, it is easier for the crocs to find you!

This crocodile was just hiding in the roots of the trees.

The one salty (saltwater crocodile) we saw did not look like he was warm and fuzzy! The guide shared information about the cultural mythology of the area, the river's abundant food chain and bush survival traditions using native plants and animals.

It is hard to see the tiny birds out for a walk on the
lily pads with dad. They literally walk on water!

On the way to see more cave paintings at Ubirr, we stopped at the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre. It features cultural information through interactive displays as interpreted by the Bininj/Mungguy Aboriginal people.

Unfortunately we only had 20 minutes which was not enough time to even read all of the exhibits. That is the downside of tours, but having the transportation to important sites makes up for it. It would have been nice to have stayed a little longer.

The indentations in the rock are the holes where they
ground their pigments for paint.

This is a giant termite mound!

There are entry fees for all of these national parks, but 100% revenue is reinvested into the parks. Part of the reinvestment goes to the native people for sharing their land with the public. This allows them to have a better (?) standard of living than in the older times.

1 comment:

  1. Greetings from Ruth Korzon in sunny Leland Michigan. Glad to hear you are having a great time. Love to you! Ruth


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