Passport to the World over 64 years. Pages from my Travel Diary

Kakadu National Park. Northern Territory, Australia. Sunday the 10th. of August 1998

Magpie Geese in flight, Kakadu National Park

Magpie geese in Flight Kakadu National Park

Whilst visiting Darwin, which on the 19th. of February 1942 was the first site on the Australian mainland to be bombed by the Japanese, we decided to take a day visit to Kakadu National Park.

This park is jointly managed by its traditional aboriginal owners and Environment Australia, a Commonwealth organisation. The name Kakadu, stems from an Aboriginal flood plain language called Gagudju which was one of the languages spoken in the northern section of this area at the start of the 20th. century.

We joined our bus in Darwin to travel south and enter into the Kakadu National Park, here, the aboriginal people make a basic entry charge of A$ 16.25 for every person entering the park, with the huge influx of tourists daily, it must add to a tidy sum annually.

Termite mound or Magnetic Ant Hills Kakadu National Park
Termite mound or Magnetic Ant Hills Kakadu National Park
Huge termite mounds called magnetic ant hills abound throughout this area, we now stopped to view some aboriginal rock art, this has survived the ravages of many years of weathering, although we noted what appears to be a repainting of these works, particularly the outlines.

We now boarded a flat bottomed boat to tour the wetlands here, fitted with a canopy to shield the passengers from the harsh sun beating down in the afternoon. The wetlands abound with a multitude of bird life, magpie geese, a group of wading birds perched on stilt like legs strutting through the reeds, heads held up high, with darting eyes seeking out likely prey. They put me in mind of a group of rather pious young curates, heads up and noses in the air, as if a bad smell was evident.

All along the banks are basking crocodiles, to cool themselves from the strident heat, they they lay in the shallows with their mouths open. The attached photograph taken by Denise shows to what a monstrous size they grow, one should not take them to be slow moving creatures, when motivated they can move with great dexterity and speed. If one were close by, they could snap you up in a twinkle of an eye, and it would be all over very quickly. Although very close to them in our boat, we made sure all our limbs remained within the sanctity of the sides of our craft.

As we toured the wet lands in our boat we saw many crocodiles basking on the bank. We could almost touch this huge speciman.

As we toured the wet lands in our boat we saw many crocodiles basking on the bank. We could almost touch this huge speciman.

At times in the near distance we could view tumbling water falls, as the water cascaded down between some hills, all serene and very beautiful.

The dreaded cane toad has relentlessly marched from Queensland all the way to the Northern Territory, and is now reported to have entered the precincts of Kakadu National Park, there seems no way of stopping this ravaging pest, as it destroys much of the smaller fauna, and often flora that crosses its path. To save this priceless place, an unremitting war needs to be waged upon this scourge, to stop its damage in a delicate and quite unique environment.

This is an amazing area, almost from another world, on our return journey it had become dark, and kangaroos bounding to cross this busy highway are a real menace. The bus head lights, mesmerise these animals, and it is dangerous to swerve at high speed in an attempt to avoid them, and often dangerous too, when one hears an awful thump as we collect one of these native animals with the full force of a large bus at speed. There are many casualities strewn along the highway, as man again takes his toll of the local fauna.

Kakadu is an exotic and interesting place to visit, if in the area, do not miss making a journey into this quite superb National Park.

Touring Kakadu wetlands by boat

Touring Kakadu wetlands by boat


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