Kakadu National Park: Home of the best aboriginal art



Kakadu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the real ancient as well as natural gem in Australia. Nestled at a distance of 171 km from Darwin, this park is the most impressive one that aims at preserving not only the nation’s wilderness, but also its historical treasures of the aboriginal rock paintings that are 40,000 years old. It seems as both the human art as well as the nature’s art resides here at its best making the Kakadu National Park a stand out highlight.

This Australian wilderness is the home to a plethora of diverse cultural, ecological, and biological aspects. Adorning the Alligators River landscape with the rich ecosystems, the park engulfs the flow of four main rivers, six major landforms, the famous Ranger Uranium mine, and flora as well as fauna.

Flora and fauna in the park

To explore flora specifically, it is best to know the landforms that are: estuaries and tidal flats, valleys, southern hills and basins, the stone country with the Arnhem Land plateau as well as escarpment complex, floodplains, and the outliers. In the Stone Country, you will spot the resurrected grasses apt for surviving in high heat and dry spells along with the gprge’s monsoon forests. The southern hills and basins holds the Kakadu plants seen here only (Eucalyptus koolpinensis near Jarrangbarnmi (Koolpin Gorge)), while the Lowlands supports the Eucalypt-dominated forests along with the sedges and wildflowers.

The Floodplains houses many sedges, pandanus, paper bark trees, freshwater mangroves (itchy tree), and colorful water lilies in white, blue, and yellow. At the Estuaries and Tidal Flats, you can spot the species of mangroves on which the fish breeds, strong succulents, sedges, isolated monsoon forests with the banyan fig, the kapok tree, and big red flowers.

The list of mammals, insects, reptiles, and birds seen in the Kakadu National Park is too big to tell you all. I will share with you what I spotted on my trip here: kangaroos and wallabies in waters, black wallaroos, dingos, short-eared rock wallabys, brush-tailed phascogales, snakes, black-footed tree-rats, freshwater crocodile, frogs in swamps, grasshoppers, termites with their big mounds in south, dragonflies, non-biting midges, cane toad, water buffalo, and a rare wild pig.

Aboriginal rock art locations

Start your journey with the Anbangbang gallery situated in the park’s Nourlangie area perched on a rocky promontory. This is where the rock paintings of Mimi can be seen. Other paintings are seen in the remote, but still crowded areas of Ubirr and Nanguluwur both perched on the rocky projections (You know whey they are crowded!). At these sites, you will come across the paintings that show hunting depicted by incremented colorful animals, specific religious ceremonies, tales of ancestors who made this world, and magical shows that indicate about the entertainment.

Among the three, Ubirr is the most famous site where a plethora of rocks project on the Nadab floodplain’s rim. It is assumed that the aboriginals must have lived here because of its nearness to the East Alligator River. This is the main reason why the paintings here show a lot of food items along with the several animals: catfish, wallaby, barramundi, goanna, millet, pig-nosed turtle, snake-necked turtle, and thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger). And yes, among the highlights are also the Rainbow Serpent scenes seen everywhere here as well as the playful Mimi spirits that tell the tale of the Namarrgarn Sisters.

Nourlangie is situated at the Arnhem Land Escarpment where several shelters as well as connected stairs and routes can be explored. Here, you will surely love the paintings of ancestors who are assumed to create this world and the tales that are not famous among the today’s aborigines. And yes, also explore the Anbangbang Billabong where diverse wildlife is the main attraction.

Just close this is Nanguluwur where you can see the paintings of hand stencils, mythical characters including Alkajko as womanly portrayal of four arms, Namandi spirits, and energetic figures with spears and boomerangs.

Gorges and waterfalls

Explore the Maguk, Koolpin and Gunlom gorges and marvel at the Twin Falls and Jim Jim Falls that is the largest one. It will be best to explore all these via a four wheeler.

Accommodations

You can camp with basic amenities for nominal fees at the close by areas of Cooinda, Jabiru, and South Alligator. Hotels are present in the town of Jabiru.

Best time to visit

June to August as these months makes the park cooler.

September for wildlife.

Park tours

Most go for an organized Kakadu tour whose options are really in hundreds ranging from a day trip to week trips via 4W and big coaches along the unsealed roads as well as Arnhem and the Kakadu Hwy.

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