The wetlands also gave us a chance to exercise our critter sighting skill sets- outside of possum road kill, New Zealand was a little shy on wildlife including birds (although DH spent many hours looking skyward when the Tui and it's R2D2 sound was in the neighbourhood) and many of the Asian countries had dined out on their wild critters
. We shared our first camp site with Kangaroos (with signs warning against leaving food out because of Dingos!), and we weren't too far along before spotting our first couple of Salties (Estuarine Crocodiles)- our guide did assure us that these massive eating machines wouldn't attack unless we were within a certain lunging radius (with a so-called Death Spin to follow as the croc rolls until the prey is dead by drowning or blood loss) so there we were, hoping the crocs were familiar with metric measures. Not surprisingly, the wetlands offer up a number of bird watching opportunities, and although I don't share DH's bird-whisperer passions, I did take far more bird pics then I legally have a right to without belonging to a bird watching society of some sort (which would mean, of course, dressing like I was on safari and wearing big white socks with my sandals). DH now has a favourite Aussie bird, the Australian Darter or 'Snake Bird', which spends half an hour wet and then will need an hour drying it's wings and body (which become so saturated that she can't fly). It's given it's name as it has a really long neck, and the neck and head are the only things you see as it's body remains submerged while hunting, giving the impression that it's a water snake. It has very sharp pointed beaks used for spearing the fish.
We also did a couple of hikes looking for ancient Aboriginal rock art. The art was usually connected with an Aboriginal story or belief so it was a nice splash of culture as we wandered through Kakadu (although I'm always fearful that there's a group of teenage kiddies hiding in the bush making fun of the tourists photographing the 'ancient' art that they chalked on the day before). Since the Aboriginal culture has a largely oral tradition this artwork can be an important part of their history.
Crocodiles but no Crocodile Dundee (although part of the movie was filmed in Kakadu) so we're still looking.
Our journey through the wetlands of Kakadu took us through a number of towns and pretend towns that had distinctly Aussie names. How cam you not smile when you're driving through a town named Humpty Doo (and I don't think they understand what a great name they have- we looked all over for a town marker but had to settle for a photo of the local pubs sign)? Wouldn't you love to be asked "where are you from" if you lived in Humpty Doo? There were a number of other creative names like Mistake Billabong, Bark Hut, Jabiru, Bukbukluk, and so on that created a certain entertainment value to the long drive.