None of the brochures show Kakadu in the "dry" season. This is because a lot of places aren't "lush & green". Instead there's many thousands of hectares of land that's been burnt to prevent wild bush fires that destroy every thing in it's path when the thunderstorms start in summer. The control burns still wreck some of the trees & shrubs, but apparently it all is lush again during the monsoonal rains. Areas that haven't been burnt, have tall dry grasses or green areas where the water is still drying up after the long & really wet summer.
Our 1st place to visit is Gunlom Falls. About 30kms of off road with the van again & stay the night in the campground 100mtrs from the beautiful falls & it's turquoise pool.
Rod went to the top of the falls & I took the track to visit a lagoon looking for birds. Rod took the camera & got some great shots of the many swim pools @ the top of the falls.
The next day we headed to a campground not far from the Yellow Water Cruise @ Cooinda. We booked a sunrise cruise for the next day as it's supposed to be the best for the birds. Many of the other walks in the area are still closed due to "seasonal conditions" - prob means either road is boggy or there's crocs still in the area.
It was a very chilly start to the day getting up @ 0545 to be at the pick up bus by 0620. Cruise started @ 0645.
We were treated with a beautiful sunrise over the Yellow Water lagoon & Sth Alligator river.
My sunrise pics are different to the bright green pics seen in the brochures also.
The 2hr cruise meandered around the huge lagoon & into & out of the river stream.
We spotted many crocs sunning them selves & lots of birds!!! The guide was helpful in telling us what they were to save me writing down the details of each species to look up in the book later :))
Jim Jim falls also isn't far from another campground. The road is strictly 4WD country. (at least the last 10kms is) We had to engage 4WD on a single lane track, crossing several sandy patches & many many shallow water pools along the way. Ooh what fun.
Driving the last 10kms was also a treat as we got closer to the gorge area with high escarpments. (Rod didn't get much of a chance to look at the views though whilst concentrating in the job at hand.
On the way out I had to be spotter for oncoming cars coming from around blind corners etc. There were only a few areas to pull off the track to let oncoming vehicles pass.
There was quite a smoke haze when we got to the gorge. There was some wind to blow some of the smoke away, & many of my pics have smoke haze in them :(
Finally we are close enough to have to the falls if full view, no more rocks obstructing the full view. We felt the refreshing water spray on our faces. What a delightful spot. Unfortunately we were so close that the whole 150mtr drop of the falls top down to the pool below, wouldn't fit into the camera view. So that's why the 2 pics are split. :)
The next day we went to Nourlangie - a place where the aboriginals spent a lot of time in in the several caves / rock overhangs during the wet season. This area is famous for the 20,000yr old rock art in at least 4 areas. Each area is a different type of era & subject of their art form. They would paint themselves in dance, the animals or plants they hunted for & ate, or the spirits - some evil.
We will be seeing more rock art again when we get nearer to Arnhem Land ,but still in Kakadu.
Apparently different rock art again.
With all the control burning in Kakadu, I have some some amazing pics here - this moon is the night after 'full moon' night.
We had to go on another 4WD track to get to this lagoon below. Not much bird life here, but a fisherman was just loading his dingy onto the top of his camper trailer. He said he experienced a rather major hit from under the boat whilst out on that lagoon - & it wasn't a submerged tree !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
These 3 pics were taken at a bird hide 30kms from Jabiru where we are tonight.
As I write this tonight in Jabiru, I can hear the patter of feet outside our van door & howling every now & then, form a short distance.
Most certainly not from the domestic variety ................
rather from 1 of these guys I photographed from next to the hwy, lying in the shade of a power pole
this is also our 1st sighting on a dingo. He looks pretty relaxed there!!!
Am bloody pleased we have a loo in the van for our nighttime bladder relief!!!!!!!!!!!
Jabiru is just a small town with 1 expensive supermarket, 1 servo, 1 newsagent, 1 travel agent, 1 health centre, 1 cafe, 1 sport club with a license to sell alcohol, 1 caravan park & 1 resort.
There's 1 small airport near 1 probably large Uranium mine. Oh, & there's 1 hairdresser if you want a haircut.
There's no pub as it's considered a dry town.
We were issued with 'alcohol passes' to buy drinks @ the bar near the pool when watching the 'friday night movie'. Oh - guess what movie was being shown -
The Gall Boys - 'Crossing the Canning Stock route' hahahahaha - this is a movie produced on the Kedron boys on their adventures to different parts of the country. As most of you will know - we have a Kedron van & were given all 5 DVD's compliments of Kedron & the Gall Boys.
After Jabilu, we went towards the border of Kakadu & Arnhem Land - locality called Ubirr. No town, like most of Kakadu (except Jabiru). There's a "border store" for tourists to buy a decent coffee, buy take away food or book tours for the East Alligator river cruise or go over to Arnhem land tours.
Ubirr is 1 of those must do stops in Kakadu where there's more significant rock art & a climb to a look out rock looking over Nadab floodplains.
The rock art is a similar age to Nourlangie - over 6,000 yrs old at least. This area was very popular due to the significant water supplies & wild life surrounding same. The East Alligator floodplain region is huge towards the coastal areas. Many caves @ Ubirr has rock art.
We passed the caves to climb a rather large rock to view the Nadab floodplains. The views were magnificent. You could see uninterrupted 360* views.
The rock to the left in above pic is the rock Mick - Crocodile Dundee stood on to tell Sue the American journo that this was 'his back yard'. Apparently the company was fined thousands of $$ for that as they were on a sacred rock.
We took a cultural cruise up East Alligator River. The aboriginal guides lives in the area. Besides going up the river, we were shown the different spears & each use. 1 not for food collection!
On the river bank were a couple of Black Wallabies. Short, thick & mean looking - check out his biceps
I such rocky outcrop is called Jabiru Dreaming. Apparently Jabiru like to perch on these high places to check out whats going on down below.
Another fascinating feature @ Ubirr is Cahill's Crossing. It is a causeway over East Alligator river. Non Arnhem Land inhabitants need a special permit to go over to the other side - even to fish @ the crossing.
Many people go to the crossing area to fish for Barra - the most popular time is high tide. Fascinating just to be a spectator as well. You wait for the tide to reach it's high mark - the waters are still for a few minutes & then it starts moving out again. had to be seen to be believed.
As we waited for the high tide, Rod tried a bit of Barra fishing as well on the rocks where the barra are more concentrated. Unfortunately we didn't have fish for tea the night. He caught 2 - under the required 55cms length.
There many men fishing close to the water- in the water some of them. 1 wonders why they take risks as many crocs are lurking around the crossing each high tide waiting for the barra just to rush in to their wide open mouths.
I mentioned @ the beginning that Kakadu has always been controlled burnt - either by the inhabitants 20,000 yrs ago or by National parks of Kakadu. We always came across burnt out areas. Came across this on our 2nd last day in Kakadu - the hawks & kites were having a field day nearby, waiting for rodents & insects to rush away from the hot flames
That's it - 7 days in Kakadu. Would love to return when it's lush & green during / after the wet season. Many areas were still in accessible due to the area having water over the tracks. We missed out on many lagoon walks due to the late rains.