Now we are in the cultural heart of Kakadu heading for Nourlangie, the home of Aboriginal tribes for thousands of years.
On the way we stop at a couple of the billabongs and also Yellow Waters. This huge area is flooded in the wet season and never dries right out so it is a haven for birds and all animals. Many migrating birds stop over and in the wet season it is a prime breeding area. During the wet season Kakadu is closed as the roads and all areas are impassable due to the flooding.
The Aborigines recognize 6 distinct seasons in this tropical part of Australia
Most people just think 2 seasons up here, hot and dry or hot and wet; but it is far more complex than that. This is now August and is hot and dry. Being the end of August the temperatures are approx 33 to 34 degrees and the humidity is building. The locals tell me the build up is starting early this year. I do not think it would be very comfortable living in Matilda in a few weeks time so we are heading south again.
Talking to tourists in van parks many of them are very disappointed with the Kakadu experience. I’ve heard it said ” Kakdu, Kakadon’t…” But many only whizz through in 2 days just looking out of the car or 4 WD window and staying at the very expensive, all mod-con, commercial camping grounds or cabins. To experience the beauty, history and uniqueness that is Kakadu’s it is necessary to slow down, walk down the tracks to the billabong, take time to look around, walk in the tracks of the ancient tribes and picture the incredible way that these people survived in this very savage and daunting landscape. Sit in the ancient rock shelters and study the art…
Being older has its advantages. We have to pace ourselves, walking up slopes we stop to catch our breath and look around. We cannot fit too much into one day so savour each experience, take lots of photos, we need them to remember what we have seen…
These rock shelters are high above the floodplains and as you walk into them the breeze cools you down and it would be a welcome place to sit with the family and wait out the heat of the day. In the storm season a safe refuge to watch the lightning playing across the sky. I could imagine family life, the laws and culture of the aborigines created a very strong family structure. In the above photo you can see traces of where a fire would be lit to cook food or keep warm in the cold nights, maybe the smoke would help to keep away the mosquitoes, I’m sure they would’ve been around then.
Information taken from Darwin Museum. Aboriginal rock art is acknowledged as the oldest surviving art in the world
The information boards scattered around are very interesting and give an insight into life of the Aborigines before the Europeans arrived. There are more than 500 recorded art sites throughout Kakadu and creating a world heritage site has saved these important relics of another life and culture.