With this past weekend having a Monday public holiday (Labour Day) in Victoria, we took the opportunity to add a Friday as well and make it a long, long weekend.
We flew north to Darwin (with great views of salt lakes on the way) and picked up a car for the drive to Kakadu.
We stopped at dinkum outback establishment en route for lunch.
And spotted wildlife alongside the road on the way. (That’s a dingo in the grass, if you’re not wearing your magnifying specs.)
Covering nearly 20,000 square kilometres Kakadu National Park was listed by World Heritage for both its cultural and its natural values. Kakadu is managed jointly by its Aboriginal traditional owners and the Director of National Parks.
Kakadu is home to over 10,000 species of insects, including grasshoppers, beetles, flies, termites, butterflies and moths, bees, wasps, ants, dragonflies and damselflies, flies, non-biting midges and mayflies…plus a huge variety of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. Of these, 33 species are currently endangered.
The Park holds one of the world’s greatest concentrations of rock art sites with approximately 5000 art sites recorded and a further 10,000 sites thought to exist.
The rock paintings are estimated to range in age from 20 000 years to the recent present.
At this time of year (known to us as ‘the wet’, and to the Indigenous people as ‘Gudjewg’ – the monsoon season) you can expect a bit of rain.
Make that…a lot of rain! But it dumped down quickly and then it was over.
Kakadu is also home to two species of crocodile: the freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus johnstonii) and the estuarine, or saltwater, crocodile (C. porosus). Don’t let the names fool you, the saltwater croc (the big ones…which can be up to six metres long) can live in freshwater and are found in billabongs and waterways as far inland as the base of the escarpment.
A variety of water lilies grow in the billabongs and floodplains and are a beautiful sight when they are in flower.
On our way back to Darwin we stopped at Adelaide River for a Jumping Croc Cruise. Scary stuff. They could have a limb off in an instant.
Back in Darwin, one of the attractions is feeding the fish at Doctor’s Gully.
We all had so much fun hand feeding the variety of fish that turned up that day, although the commentary about box jelly fish and entering the water at our own risk was a little off-putting!
It was a long way to go for a long weekend, but one we’ll never never* forget.
* “You’ll never never know if you never never go!” was a slogan promoting tourism in the Northern Territory first used in the 1990s. “The never never” is a term used to describe some of the more remote, outback areas of Northern Territory and Queensland.