Kakadu National Park
It’s about 20.000 square kilometers – roughly half the size of Denmark – and one of the few World Heritage sites that are listed both for cultural and for natural values. Aboriginals have been living here for at least 40.000 years – living with the land, protecting the land. Kakadu is home to some of the finest examples of aboriginal rock art, some of the art many thousands of years old depicting animals such as the extinct Australian/Tasmanian Tiger, some of it newer and depicting the first white people the aboriginals encountered. It is an awesome place to visit. It’s become a bit touristy, but try to ignore the resort and the coach tours and just connect with nature! Here’s a few of my shots:
Me, myself and I and 9 others departed Monday morning on a camping trip to Kakadu, our brilliant local guide-driver-cook Owen, two couples from Melbourne, a French couple, 2 Chinese girls – and me. Enough funny accents to fill a Monty Python show! Our guide Owen was amazing and one of the most knowledgeable guides I have ever met down here. You get some guides that just do their job, but there are some fantastic guides around that are so incridibly passionate about their job and the land and it is truly inspiring. Owen knows everything including the latin names of every single plant, animal and rock we saw and has a million stories to tell as well from the territory. The Aussie couples were very nice and great fun to hang out with, The French couple were very nice but quiet, the Chinese girls were very nice but not so quiet (only stopped talking to each other when it was time to breathe a bit of air) – and we had a great tour. Here’s a few more shots:
Kakadu is presently very dry as you can see, and would probably be at it’s best around May just after the wet where there would be more water. The wet and dry season here is much more clearcut than in Queensland. It hasn’t rained here since May, everyday it’s a perfect minimum 32c degrees and sunshine from a clear sky and wetlands are arid. I have experienced Kakadu in the wet season with large flooded wetlands and it is a phenomenal sight – the fauna and the wildlife is overwhelming. The amount of mossies, flies, sandflies and the humidity (and cyclones!) is also very overwhelming in the wet! It is so spectacularly uncomfortable that if you’re not a Territorian (born in the Northern Territory) it cannot be described – has to be experienced. I am glad to have seen and experienced Kakadu in the wet (still remember the hundreds of mosquito bites from back then), but prefer the dry where it’s more livable for us tourists! There’s still billabongs and wetlands, we did a cruise on Mary River and that’s still flowing (nowhere actually, it’s not a river really, Australians are so good at naming things :D). See the croc picture later.
Like I wrote earlier, it’s at least 32c degrees everyday, you see maybe one cloud a day and the sun is unrelentlessly baking you from a clear sky – everyday! It’s actually far too hot to sit in the sun for very long (sorry to make the sun-deprived Danes even more summer-depressed). Pale scandinavians like myself become positively transparent in the strong sun down here but I do now have a somewhat different colour. It’s quite possible it could be called a good tan, at least in Denmark. It’s brownish/reddish with some small red spots and some large red spots. Small red spots are sandflies bites, big ones are mossie bites! Mossie bites are big, itchy like crazy but last a day or two. Sandflies bites are smaller, not as itchy but stay for 4-5 days!
Photography in the territory
The polarizer filter is permanently on my most used lens. It is needed all the time here in the territory, to remove glare and reflections and bring some colours back into what would otherwise have been completely burned out pale tones. On tours like these you have to take what you get and you have limited time for photography. But it’s still great fun and I couldn’t and wouldn’t want to walk around a huge National Park on my own (fall off a rock and no one would ever find you). I’ll end with a shot I took of a nice saltwater crocodile from a cruise on Mary River we did – click for full size, and click here to see more on my website.
I am off again to Kakadu tomorrow, this time to Arnhem Land – the closed part of the park where you need permits from the aboriginals to enter. See ya!