Thursday, June 17, 2010


10-11 June 2010


A few blogs ago I mentioned hubby referring to a fan palm. Well guess what – at hidden Valley the palm that he remembered was growing right next to our cabin.

After checking in with North Land Council regarding our permit to Nhulunbuy and dropping in at an aboriginal arts and crafts outlet where hubby had a lesson on playing the didj we headed off towards Kakadu past the new roadworks. I just loved this overpass.

We stopped on the way to get lures from the Lure factory and made it as far as Corroborree Park for the night. This is a lovely inexpensive camping spot that beats most of the national park camping grounds and is cheaper.

It is expensive to go into Kakadu for those of us not living in the Northern Territory. A lot of people were complaning as they were payong for a 14 day pass but most things are still closed. Many said they did every walk they could, visited every place open and found that after two nights in the park they had exhausted what they could do.

At Mary River National Park roads were closed to everything except Shady Creek. This is primarily a fishing area.

Driving between Darwin and Jabiru we crossed five big rivers that have huge floodplains that create a great expnase of coastal wetlands. These wetlands are amongst the biggest in the world.

We drove into the park and checked out the static information display. Two mile hole, Four mile hole and West Alligator Head still closed. So on we went to Mamukala wetlands.

The wetlands were beautiful. The information wall was splendid.

The walk was closed.

There were very few birds to be seen.

Those large lily leaves that we had seen not that long ago on Corroborree Billabong had all died here. The dry season was underway and it wasn’t taking long for the environment to change.

We dropped in at the Bowali Visitor Centre.

The display was interesting and the Aboriginal Art Gallery cum shop was expensive.

Several quotes on the wall - sharing of wisdom regarding looking after the land - struck a chord with me.

We drove to Jabiru – I was somewhat disappointed as I expected it to be a bit bigger and to have more of a shopping area as it is so close to Ranger Uranium mine. We visited the bakery for lunch and were joined at the table by this lovely bird that I can’t seem to identify using my bird field guide.

After lunch we drove to Cahill Crossing to check it out.

Down river from the crossing over East Alligator river was an overturned car. Apparently in April this year someone borrowed their grandfather’s car and tried to get across the crossing at high tide. We saw a picture of it when it happened.

Upstream a little from the crossing was a crocodile resting on the bank. Apparently he is a local here and is known as Eric.

The scenery from Jabiru to here was quite different. We were on the edge of an escarpment.

Then onto the Border Store for some icecream before going to Ubirr. Ubirr was spectacular. It is an incredible mesh of culture and landscape with the two totally entertwined. For us it is the beauty of the environment , the landscape and the rock art is the culture. For the locals the landscape is part of their culture and the rock art is a means of passing information on from generation to generation about the creation stories, and stories of how to live.

The rock art paintings were just so powerful. The one below was doen high up on an overhang of the rock shelter.

The setting further enhanced the stories behind the paintings.

In this setting it seemed strange to see a drawing of the Tasmanian Tiger.

Often paintings were overdrawn. Apparently once the story was told it was not important to preserve that drawing and often another would be drawn over the top when other information was being passed on.

We were very lucky that we got to Ubirr in time to hear the Ranger’s talk at the various galleries.

We first heard about the creation time and Rainbow Serpent stories at Rainbow Serpent Gallery.

At the main gallery we heard about the menu of the local people.

All the galleries were so different. The Crosshatching gallery was the last one we visited on the way to the look out for sunset.

We slowly made our way up to the lookout.

The view was just incredible - scarpment to one side, massive floodplains in front of us. There was the lower level lookout, where I stayed

and the higher level lookout where hubby went.

As the sun set it light up the wetlands.

It was just spectacular.

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