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Kakadu National Park, Darwin – Australia

Written by irawan from http://irawan.whereareyou.net | Category: Australia on March 18th, 2009 | 7 Comments | 8,227 views

Kakadu National Park is located within the Alligator Rivers Region of the Northern Territory of Australia. It covers an area of 1,980,400 ha (4,894,000 acres),[1] extending nearly 200 kilometres from north to south and over 100 kilometres from east to west. It is the size of Israel, about one-third the size of Tasmania, or nearly half the size of Switzerland. The Ranger Uranium Mine, one of the most productive Uranium mines in the world, is contained within the park.

The name ‘Kakadu’ comes from an Aboriginal floodplain language called Gagudju which was one of the languages spoken in the north of the park at the beginning of the twentieth century. Although languages such as Gagudju and Limilngan are no longer regularly spoken, descendants of these language groups are still living in Kakadu. Aboriginal languages used in the Park today include Kunwinjku from the north-eastern region, Gun-djeihmi from the central region and Jawoyn from the southern region.

Kakadu National Park is managed jointly by its Aboriginal traditional owners and the Director of National Parks. The traditional owners are proud to share their country with visitors. Here with my story about Kakadu National Park :

Visiting Kakadu National Park is an amazing experience for me since I do like nature and fresh air with the wild life attractions. It located 307 km from Darwin CBD where we live Eastward and we drove through Arnhem Highway which has a fabulous scenery along the way that the sceneries always change every 10 km from the wide green grass, mango farms, or just bush. Its amazing how many wild animal you will see on this way to Kakadu from groups of cockatoo birds flying across the street to wallabies laying dead on the street from the car crashes. I was worried once about the dead wallabies, little kangaroo, for they are a cute animals but my wife said that its just pest for the farmers with overpopulated sometimes. Like a cane toads in someway, but not as dangerous as cane toads which is another blunder for the Australian history. It’s a really big natural education for me.

We stayed in Gagadju Lodge Cooinda because we have friend who manage the food and beverage there so we had a good deal for the rate. Lucky us. It’s a very basic hotel with complete facilities but with no gym, I mean who would need one on holiday? Its interesting because they provide a barbecue facilities and luckily we brought some meats so we can use the facility for breakfast and lunch. My favorite activity. Its in a rural area where the closest town is about 50 km far so the newspaper is not even delivered everyday until someone go to the town and take them, Jubiru, which is another attraction. We just had a relaxing day on the first day after driving and catch up with some strangers who preferred to stay in the quiet place too.

On the second day, 1st January 2009, we scheduled to do the air trip to do sight seeing with the small plane of 8 seats across Jubiru with Kakadu Air, Kakadu and Arnhem Land. It was a stunning view from up there with the guided tour and friendly pilot. Again, we had a good deal because my wife’s friend knows a friend who has a friend working there. We didn’t fly too high just to be able to see clearly the small town, the bushes, the streams, and the amazing rocky mountain with the fabulous waterfalls. Jim Jim waterfall is one of the main attractions because its in between the big rock mountain. Some people said that we were in the best time of the year where the sun still shining and because of the rains everything looks green. In dry season, it might not be that green and the water is not that big. It was unforgettable 1,5 hours tour to see some new things.

The next day, our friend who works at the lodge arranged another tour for us with good deal for Yellow Water Cruise for the afternoon, one of the main attraction in Cooinda. But prior to that tour, we did some activity like bush walking and sight seeing in the rocky mountains which is not far from where we stayed. Its in Nourlangie Region where there are some rocky mountain attractions with the amazing rock paintings. In 1981, Kakadu received the rare double honor of being named a UNESCO world heritage site for its natural wonders as well as for the 5,000 rock paintings that grace its sandstone caves – “The greatest body of rock art in the world.” According to the local museum. The paingings can be classified into three distinct periods of Aboriginal history, and date back from 30 to more than 25,000 years. (Patricia Schultz –Thousand Places To See Before You Die). On the top of the ‘lookout’ rock, we saw a rock wallaby eating the top of the trees. The view from the lookout was stunning. I will go back there again when I have time. I was surprised with my fitness, I thought I would be exhausted and couldn’t breath because I’ve never done such bush walking and bit of climbing before.

In the afternoon when the time for the Yellow water cruise came, I was so exited to see the crocodiles because it’s the main attraction of the Northern Territory with the famous Crocodile Dundee. On the Northern Territory news review before the end of the year, they wrote a continuous article for the “The 100 Most Powerful in Northern Territory” and crocodile was in the top 5! It was another amazing and stunning 1,5 hours adventure to travel in the bush but with such a lot of water surrounds. It’s the Wetlands, I understand now why its called so now. Fish, birds, snakes, bugs and crocodile in wild life looks different from the freaking zoo, look happier. I was amazed with the cleanliness and spotless from the rubbish and so natural, the government is so strict in protecting the wilderness. There were some tourist from another states or even another country with very serious camera and video recording just to capture the beautiful birds or another wild animal. The tour guide was very good at his job driving the boat by himself with no assistance while talking on the microphone guiding and explaining whats going on and the stories behind them. Very well organized tour.

Its just a very new thing for me with these very well organized things from the hand book that we got in the city to guide us, and of course this book is for free and well updated, designed and published by the government to make the tourists easier to do and plan their activities so they don’t miss a thing. On the day 4, we visited the Mardugal Aboriginal Centre which is a museum. This is one thing that I can not get over about the museums management in this land down under. They still carry the original piece of history while the recent management fill their modern creativity and matches perfectly. From the interior design, display of the historical pieces, and even the multimedia displays are using the latest technology. I remember when visiting the Museum of Maritime in Port Adelaide, I was amazed with how serious the government managing the museums with the latest flash touchscreen display of the old document so we can see it like original in the widescreen display. They even put some game touchscreen to get the visitor involved in what they had seen in the museums. We might have such things in some Indonesian museum but I haven’t got any chance to visit them. Or if we don’t, we should, otherwise we always left behind.

Now that I’ve visited some natural places, I’m looking forward to visiting another stunning places like the Uluru Rock, Great Barrier Reef, Wine Glass Bay in Tasmania or other great places before going back home and explore my own country in my retirement age while writing about the places.

Story by Iwan Irawan

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