Kakadu National Park

KAKADU NATIONAL PARK- KAKADON’T-KAKADOUGH?
September 8th


At last, reunited with Mr Joshua, we headed out of Darwin and off through Kakadu to the Cobourg Peninsula. Although a bit hotter and more cramped in the troop carrier…it’s great to have him along. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts into camping- no frills- no fuss type TRAVEL MODE. We fear that there will be a minor adjustment initially. It is kind of cold turkey to come from the south to the tip of Australia….average daily temperature 34 degrees Celsius.

As a treat, we decided to stop off at the famed “Crocodile Farm” just out of Darwin. Although we have been travelling in crocodile-infested waters for the last 6 weeks, we have not seen that much of the big water reptiles. I think they are a lot more fiction than fact. Anyway…a visit to the farm definitely affords one the chance to see them, as close as you’d ever want to be.

At the unbearably scorching hot hour of midday, you press your sweaty bodies close to a wire fence amongst trillions of the international camera holding tourists. The crocodile keepers proceed to hand feed chickens to an entourage of at least 30 massive salties (saltwater crocodiles). For protection, one of the rangers yields a battered baseball bat- no doubt to swipe any mischievous crocs on the head who would prefer to eat a ranger.

It was truly quite wondrous to watch these reptiles snap the chooks up in a single chomp. (CHOMP CHOMP!!) After having seen both the saltwater and hundred freshwater crocs fed, we continued on a guided tour of the ‘FARM” where we met various other crocs and alligators. The keeper corrected many of the myths surrounding these magnificent dinosaur related beasts in relation to their aggressivity, diets and general ways of survival. Anyway……..the farm certainly quashed any desire to meet one in close proximity in the wild….no thank you. Anyone out there with a croc fetish would enjoy the farm!!!!

In the blistering heat, we decided to drive on to Kakadu. Destination camp point was Ubirr-280 kilometres East into Kakadu. Ubirr- a famed Aboriginal Rock Art site lies on the border to Arnhem Land. Arnhem Land is Aboriginal-owned land, and one requires a permit to enter. Although Kakadu Park is also owned by the Aborigines, it is open to the public to browse as they choose.

One of the first things you can’t help but notice is the great abundance of bugs at Kakadu. As soon as we entered the park they started splattering across the windscreen and nibbling at our ankles. Seeing as a majority of the vast park is flood plains…it explains their large numbers.

Our campsite at Ubir was not only plagued by bundles of bugging bugs but a pack of wild dingoes who decided to rifle through our rubbish and to my horror, licked all of our cutlery and plates. GOOD GRIEF! Although the Rangers were all too happy to come and collect our camping fees they didn’t mention the dingoes!

We had anticipated putting the boat in the East Alligator River except for the fact that it was closed because of a giant marauding crocodile who had been hassling people all week. After an egg noodle disaster for dinner, we all retired into the one two-man tent. BAD MOVE! Tomorrow we’ll drag the larger tent off the roof….. don’t really feel like being a sardine for the next 6 weeks while Josh snores and mutters in his slumbers.

Tomorrow morning we’ll go and explore the rock art..there’s a talk at 9 am. After that, we’ll do the drive through Arnhem Land, up to Coburg.

Buzz, buzz, buzz………….molesting mozzies. Scratch scratch scratch…….itchy sand fly bites.
Aaaaahhhhhhhhh…..cup of billy tea….the joys of camping!

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