World Heritage site with splendid waterfalls, pools and rock art
21.06.2012 - 25.06.2012 30 °C
World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park, covering almost 20,000 square kilometers, is a place of contrasting landscapes. Rugged cliffs of the Arnhem Land escarpment hide deep sandstone gorges and pockets of monsoon rainforests with vast low-lying wetlands and deep billabongs invested with saltwater crocodiles. Waterfalls cascade into crystal clear plunge pools fringed with paperbarks and pandanus.
A number of Aboriginal clans reside in Kakadu National Park and the exquisite rock art galleries at Ubirr and Nourlangie Rock are witness to the long history of the Aboriginal people occupying this land (see the next blog about Kakadu rock art)
We stayed in Merl campsite, close to the East Alligator River crossing, for one night before our trip to Garig Gunak Barlu National Park and visited the Ubirr rock art galleries close by. After our trip to Garik Gunak Barlu, we returned to Kakadu and camped at Muriella campground in the center and also at Kambolgie campground in the south.
Kakadu is spectacular but the fact that it is World Heritage listed and easily accessible with most of the roads sealed, makes it very crowded and commercialized. Huge tour busses transports masses of tourists to places like Nourlangie. There are, however, some more inaccessible places like Jim Jim Falls and Gunlom Falls that require a 4WD to get to it, although we saw the odd (stupid) tourist attempting to drive these heavily corrugated roads with saloon cars.
Twin Falls was still closed with the rangers attempting to remove a 2,5 meter crocodile from the plunge pool, but Jim Jim Falls, Gunlom Falls and Motorcar Falls were all open and we enjoyed them all. The two kilometer return hike to get to Jim Jim Falls was challenging over rocks and huge boulders but we made it worse by taking a wrong turn which turned into a very steep climb to the top of the escarpment before we realized we were on the wrong track. To get to the top of Gunlom Falls was easier than the Jim jim Falls hike and the 8km return hike to Motorcar Falls was pleasant and although the falls were just a trickle, the turquoise plunge pool was spectacular and refreshing. We met a Swedish family there and an Australian that lived in Olshammar close to Askersund for 5 years, so we renamed it Volvo Falls. It is nice to enjoy the refreshing pools in the middle of the winter and I am glad that our friends are also enjoying good weather during their mid-summer celebrations.
We are in Katherine at the moment to get recharged and restocked before we head south to the Red Center and Lake Eyre. The reason why we are heading south with nice days but freezing mornings is that we want to travel through the Red Centre and the deserts (Simpson, Tirari and Sturt Stony Desert) in the winter.
More photos in the gallery