Kakadu

Trip Start Jan 16, 2007
1
16
32
Trip End Aug 20, 2007


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Thursday, March 29, 2007

This is going to be brief, as I don't want to spend the rest of the afternoon at the computer. Basically, a few weeks ago I was up in the Kakadu/Litchfield National Park area. If unsure what it's meant to look like, check out Crocodile Dundee, as most of it was filmed there. Perhaps not too bright an idea to visit in the wet season (rivers flooded, roads washed away etc) but the water had subsided enough to allow us to get in to quite a few places. The high water also meant that crocodiles were everywhere - swim only if suicidal.

Needless to say, I did see some crocs (not too big, only about 3-4 metres) in the Adelaide River (I was in a boat at the time, but one that was big enough not to be knocked over). In a somewhat stage managed (as much as you can with wild beasts) event, chunks of meat were dangled on a long rope and pole over the side of the boat, the crocodiles came up, wanting a free meal, and jumped up out of the water (not into the boat, though one came close) to grab the chunks of offal. Though feeding the crocs meat undoubtedly messes up their natural hunting instincts (as well as getting them to associate the sound of a motor with food), it was quite a spectacle to see them power themselves out of the water with their tail.

One of the more famous Aboriginal painting sites in Kakadu is the Nourlangie Rock, and the style of painting is quite different to that of the centre of Australia - all quite skeletal and a lot more intricate here. There's no doubt loads more all over the place, but as Kakadu is the size of Wales and with only two roads in it, much of the area is untouched.

Though the signature waterfalls of Jim Jim and Twin Falls were cut off (as they are for the entire Wet), were were able to get to some others, and the quantity of water flowing down them due to the recent rain meant they were quite impressive and made one hell of a din. Scrub, waterfalls, swamps and crocodiles have you for breakfast are the main attractions of the area, and the only other physical thing of note are the termite mounds in Litchfield. Some, such as the Cathedral mounds, reach 7 metres, whilst others, such as the magnetic ones, reach only 3. Whilst both have distinct designs (the Cathedral is roughly the same diameter all the way up, whilst the Magnetic are aligned (not on the Earth's magnetic field) but so that there is minimum surface area facing the sun at noon) they manage to keep a constant temperature of 30 degrees throughout the day. The size of the structure compared to the beasties that build them are quite immense - if a human was to build something to the scale (ie builder to building) of the Cathedral mounds, it would be over 300 storeys high.

That's pretty much all from up there without going into any more detail. The amount of wildlife around the place was pretty cool, though one thing I am not missing is the humidity, which was quite uncomfortable after about 7 in the morning.
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