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Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

Kakadu National Park is a protected area in the Northern Territory of Australia, around 170km southeast of Darwin. It covers an area of almost 20 000 sq km and in its boundaries it holds a spectacular ecosystem and a concentration of ancient rock art. The landscape is ever-changing depending on the time of the year. The two main seasons are the dry and wet season. We visited Kakadu in may 2014, just after a big rainy season.

View over Ubirr Rock

Kakadu is characterized by a rich diversity of wildlife. We did an early morning trip with Yellow Water Cruises on the south Alligator river and Yellow Water Billabong, on a boat packed up with tourists, we headed for some wildlife viewing and photography. The animal you can't miss in the floodplains, is the courageous salty; a saltwater crocodile whose lenght can exceed 6 metres. It rises to the surface among a flower bed of water lilies.

Together with the salties the silver barramundi inhabits the fresh water of the National Park. The barramundi creates a distinctive swirl near the water's surface while caught on Max's fishingrod. It's able to live in sweet and salt water and can grow to over 1m in length and changes sex from male to female at the age of five or six years.

Salty among water lilies
Comb Crested Jacana or 'Jesus Bird'
Black-Necked Stork

In addition to all the swimming creatures you can see lots and lots of birds in the Kakadu area. My favorite one is the 'Comb Crested Jacana', in other words the 'Jesus Bird', called like this because the special bird is capable to promenade over the water.

Another flying animal present during sunset and sunrise is the mosquitoe. This insect made it challenging to camp outside with our tent. Especially cooking in this swamp area was made impossible, because the mosquitoes were way too agressive.

Saltwater crocodile in the morninglight

Besides all this natural beauty, Kakadu is one of Australia's richest, most accessible place to find rock art. The art sites of Ubirr and Nourlangie Rock are stunning. It feels like walking in another era. These sites are found in rocky outcrops that gave shelter to Aboriginal inhabitants for thousands of years. The painting was done for various reasons; hunting, religious expression, story telling and magic - paintings could be used to manipulate events and influence people's lives. For local Aboriginal people, these rock-art sites are a major source of traditional knowledge and represent their archives.

Therefore, if you ask me... all the above make sufficient reason to visit this beautiful, diverse National Park. It's the perfect mix of nature and culture!

Rock art at Nourlangie

Acknowledgement: next to my own experience, I used the Lonely Planet and Wikipedia as a source of information.

#Australia #Oceania #KakaduNationalPark #Wetlands

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