Kakadu National Park

Phil May and Andrea Twigg
Sun 2 Sep 2012 15:03
We have just returned from a two day visit to Kakadu National Park.  The park is 20,000 square kilometres of land (the size of Slovenia) just two hours drive from Darwin.  It is owned by aboriginals and leased back to the government for use as a national park and, in certain pockets of land, for uranium mining.  The park is adjacent to Arnhem Land, which is a huge (100,000 square kilometre) aboriginal owned region of the Northern Territories.  There is some contention over the future mining of uranium sites in the park and the aboriginals have shrewdly had Kakadu designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site to make sure the situation will be carefully monitored.
Kakadu is an ancient wetland area that was devastated by the introduction of non-native species (particularly water buffalo, feral pigs, cane toads and mimosa) and by indiscriminate hunting (particularly of crocodiles) but it is gradually recovering due to the measures being taken to control the invasive flora and fauna and protect the endangered species.
In the two days we were there our tour guide managed to pack in visits to a couple of rock art sites (Nourlangie and Ubirr), two boat tours (on the Yellow Water billabong and East Alligator river), a scenic flight over the park and over neighboring Arnhem Land, plus a view of the uranium mine.  We were lucky enough to see many of the different species of animals that inhabit Kakadu and scores of saltwater crocodiles in their natural habitat.
While Andrea and I were away the crew cleaned Anastasia and made themselves pie floaters (apparently this is a traditional Aussie dish).
Crocodiles were in evidence everywhere on the river tours
We also saw a lot of different indigenous birds.  Here a darter is drying its waterlogged wings in the sun.
An aboriginal guide demonstrating spear throwing with a woomera
Rock art representation of a spirit warrior (Mabuyu)
On this very rock Crocodile Dundee pointed out where he was attacked by the croc
The majestic Arnhem Land escarpment, viewed from the air
A truck ferrying uranium ore from the pit at the Ranger uranium mine
The pie floater (pie in pea soup) that the crew made themselves while we were away