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Kakadu Nationalpark

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East Alligator River

Location

The Kakadu-Nationalpark is located in the north of the state Northern Territory about 200km eastwards of Darwin. It has a size of 19804km² and the river-systems in the Alligator River Region. From Darwin you reach the Kakadu-Nationalpark via the Arnhem Highway. From the south from Pine Creek you drive via the Kakadu Highway into the Nationalpark. Because of the cultural treasures of human history and because of the extraordinary fauna and flora the park is under the protection of the UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage and World Natural Heritage. The following maps will show the detail location:


Location eastern of Darwin


Park entrance in the northwest


Introduction

Driving by car to Waterfall Creek
View from Ubirr Rock to the Arnhem Land
Waterfall in Waterfall Creek
View at Mount Borradail
Passage through the East Alligator River
Campingside at the coast in the north

Exceptional Position

The Kakadu Nationalpark has a special-position of all national-parks in Australia according to my opinion because this gigantic area is incredibly rich in cultural and natural treasures. The rock-paintings of the natives and a large number animals and plants marks this park, that is under the protection of the UNESCO. Is this protection enough, to really protect the Kakadu Nationalpark from the uranium and from the greedy economy and their hunt for the mineral resource?

The Name

The name Kakadu originates from the word Gagudju that maybe the name of the language of the natives living in this area. This language is spoken by the Bunitj (also called Bunity). In his book Story about Feeling Bill Neidjie wrote in the Glossar, that Gagudju is a group of (maybe several different) languages. Other languages spoken in the park are Gungdjeihmi, Mayali, Kunwinkju and Jawoyn. Other sources say, that Gagudju ist the name of the clan living there. It is ambiguous if Gagudju is the name of the language or Gagudju is the name of the clan. It is confirmed information that the name Kakadu is not in conjunction with the bird Cockatoo. The name of a Park of bird is complete wrong.

Park Organization

Since 1978 the Indigenous People lease big parts of the Kakadu-Nationalpark back to the Australian Government for 99 years. In the park administration work a lot of Indigenous People. Natives and Whites live together. Both protect the park with their given culture. This is a chance in human history to learn of the past. The chance not to repeat mistakes. The chance to live together in peace.

Tourists are welcome. The park administration advance a view against mass tourism and for landprotection. You find lots of campingsides and hotels in the park. The excellent road network is important to reach the offside locations. Some roads are only earth roads, dusty tracks. A 4WD car is the best advantage. The drive to Waterfall Creek in the dry season shows some of this conditions in the image. I am sorry to say that lots of the creek-passages will be changed into bridges. In the rainy season the park is wounderfull. Waterfalls, creeks with full important water show all the animals and plants. Many locations you can only visit in the dry season because in the wet season a lot of roads are closed. The best time to visit the Kakadu Nationalpark ist the dry season.

North of the Arnhem Highway and the street to the Ubirr Rock the land must not trespassed. Only a small location at the coast. At a road map I found two small camping sides and a small 4WD-track flooded in the wet season.

Places to see

You see interesting treasures at the Ubirr Rock and the Nourlangie Rock. There are rockpaintings of the Indigenous People. Some of the paintings are tousands of years old. Some of them are ony 30 years old. Special hiking trails show you around some of this culture treasures. Other parts are closed for tourists to protect them.

Ubirr Rock

Location

Airview of the Ubirr Rock Region


Rockpaintung of a hunter with all his tools
Roadmap of Ubirr Rock
View from Ubirr Rock directed eastwards to the Arnhem Land
View from Ubirr Rock. Sunset at the Nadab Floodplains
Tortoise paintet in X-Ray

The Ubirr Rock is is in the north about 40 kilometers north of Jabiru near the Arnhem Land. Some sources called the Ubirr Rock as Obiri Rock. Thousands of years ago the Indigenous People live at Ubirr in the rock shelters. There was enough to eat. Today no people live at Ubirr Rock.

General

Along the 1km hiking trail you see nice old rockpaintings in x-ray and Contact Art. Holy images in the Main Gallery may not be seen by white people. Only the Indigenous People may see them. In the rockpaintings you can see the connection of the natives, the nature and the religion. The image on the left shows a hunter with all his tools. Below you see a tortoise in X-Ray Look. Many of this rockpaintigs are compromised by weathering and environmental pollution. Flowing water washes the brickearth in the ochre away. Wasps destroy paintings because their nests combinds with the colors. But if the wasps nests are taken away the colors will be destroyed, too. A special department of the park administraion only handles this problem. They try to conserve all the paintings. The age of some rockpaintungs are dated at 23000 years. Only a few scientists date some images at phenomenal 50000 years. If this is right, than this paintings are the oldest arts in human history. Other images are painted in the 20th century. The latest was painted in 1985. Most of the x-ray-images are dated about 1500 years. The image of the Thylacine is calculatead of an age of between 2000 and 3000 years.

The small bonus track to the lookout ist nice. You should plan it on your visit. At the top called Nadab Lookout you have a wonderfull view about the Nadab Floodplains. This plain in the norhtern parts of the park is flooded in the wet season in the time of the south-summer. This is the reasong that most of the roads are closed. In the light of the sunset sun this is a spectacle of nature.

Bill Neidjie

Natascha Neidjie is pointing onto the photo of her grandfather Bill Neidjie.

In the dry season in the months from May to September local rangers explain the rockpaintings and tell about the art and culture of the natives. One of them is the grandchild of Bill Neidjie (1920-2002) Natascha Neidjie. Bill Neidjie is also called the Gagudju Man because he fighted for his country. In the 1940s Bill Neidjie was about 20 years old and assimulated into the Bunitj clan (also called Bunity) in a holy ceremony. It was his work to declare the national park in 1979. He was an important man telling stories, and protecting their culture. He wrote two books: "Kakadu Man" (1985) and "Story About Feeling" (1988).

At Cannon Hill near Ubirr he was entombed in a two week funeral in 2002. He was enveloped into tree barks. In a few years the funeral will be continued and he will be moved to another grave higher in the rock shelters. After the death of her grandfather Natascha Neidjie must now protect and look after the country of her ancestors.

Nourlangie Rock

Location

Airview of the Nourlangie Rock region


Turnoff from the Kakadu Highway to the Nourlangie Rock


The Anbangbang Billabong besides the Nourlangie Rock
Roadmap of the Nourlangie Rock region
View to the Nourlangie Rock from the Gunwarddehwardde lookout
Namondjok and Namarrgon, his wife Barrginj and his family

The Nourlangie Rock is located about 25km south of Jabiru in the Kakadu Nationalpark near the Anbangbang Billabong. During the wet season in the summer many roads are closed.

General

The name Nourlangie is the anglicised version of the original name Nawurlandja. At the Nourlangie Rock you find lot of nice rockpaintings. Like those of the Ubirr Rock this are painted in protected rock shelters to survive thousands of years, too. Scientists say that the rockpainting atNourlangie Rock are up to 20000 years old. The last paintings were created in th 20. century in 1964 by the artist Nayambolmi (1895-1967, Badmardi Clan, also called Najombolmi or Barramundi Charlie). Nayambolmi was a eminently respectable artist to reconstruct many rockpaintins in 1964. The small nice hiking trail takes you along the rockart. This is the homeland of the families of the Warramal Clan am heutigen Anbangbang Rock Shelter. After their die off other clans in the ragion take care of the land.

Namondjok

One of the most complex rockpaintigs at Nourlangie Rock is the image called "Namondjok". It tells different stories for different clans. It contains many images in one big image.

During your visit you must go to the Gunwarddehwardde Lookout. You will have a nice view to the Nourlangie Rock.

Yellow Water

Airview of the Yellow Water Region

The open area for tourists is the Yellow Water Billabong. This is the estuary of the river systems of the Jim Jim Creek into the South Alligator River. The first contact point maybe the Gagudju Lodge Cooinda, it contains for tourist all you need overnight accommodation included.


Roadmap Yellow Water
White-Breasted Sea-Eagle at Yellow Water after sunrise

Th the darkness shorty before the sunrise you can take part in guided boating tours to wake up with the nature. Everywhere you read that you can watch alligators. This maybe true but we did not see anyone in 1997. For your visit you need binoculars, a telephoto lens and luck. But also without seeing alligators the visit is exiting. You can watch Sea eagles, Herons, Ibis, Black-necked Storks, Monitor lizards and many other animals. The White-Breasted Sea-Eagle you see on the imagerelaxed during sunrise at the top of an eucalyptus tree near the water. On the surface of the water are nice Nymphaeas, also the Australian Water-lily (Nymphaea gigantea) living only in Australia. Here in the Yellow Water Billabong with all its the bays is enough space for all the anmimals for water, land and air.


Mineral Resources: Boon or Bane?

Airview of the Ranger-Uran-Mine

Some people may say that Uranium is an important resource. Those people should watch the map and the horrible image. After this I think they should change their minds or call it into question. How could it happen to dug out that big hole into this important piece of land? Is it only all about money again? Haben die Verantwortlichen denn kein Gewissen? Muss es denn immer nur um das liebe Geld gehen? Sind denn die Rechte der Ureinwohner gar nichts wert? Kann denn die Menschheit nur sein eigener größter Feind sein? The image shows the Ranger Uranium Mine a few kilometers eathwards of the town Jabiru, build for the accommodation of the miners miners. Years later Jabiru with a population of 1100 became important for tourists.

Ranger-Uranium-Mine

At the Ranger Uranium Mine you fight against:

  • Destruction of the land because of open-cast mining.
  • Destruction of the land because of elimination of burial place of the Indigenous People.
  • Destruction of the land because of elimination of the cultural treasures like paintings of the Indigenous People.
  • Destruction of the land because of elimination of natural habitats of fauna and flora.
  • Destruction of the land because of radioactive material dumping into rivers.

I think this is a worst situation. You can compare it to the fight between the the Indigenous People and the economics as culture vs. money at the Burrup Peninsula in the northwest of Australia. This topic is discussed in our forum at "Rockpainting of the Indigenous People are destroyed" (Text only available in German!).

I hope that the Australian and the Northern Territory government will finish this dementia to prtoect the land. Below a sea near Jabiru the Rainbow Serpent and Uranium are sleeping.

Concerning this problems this articles may help you: Industriekomplex bedroht Kulturerbe der Ureinwohner Australiens (Text only available in German!) and Jabiluka Uranmine verhindern, Kakadu-Nationalpark erhalten! (Text only available in German!).

See also

Jim Jim Falls
Crocodile Hotel in Jabiru

Visitor Center

Travel Information

Accommodation

Background

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Thank you for your understanding.