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Saturday 28 Nov 2009
Kakadu, Australia

Doo Wakka Doo Kakadu !

Boy what a day !  Up before dawn and on the bus at 6:15am we were off to Kakadu National Park.  We were the 1st pickup so we had the front seats in the bus - best seats in the house, I'd say. 

We spotted a young dingo along the road having his breakfast (some sort of road kill) and some water buffalo, other than that, not much else other than the occasional bird until we got to the park.

Kakadu has been home to Aboriginal people for more than 50,000 years, and during that time the land and their culture have become intertwined. 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.

Covering nearly 20,000 square kilometres, Kakadu is one of very few places World Heritage listed for both its cultural and its natural values. Its enduring natural values stem from its exceptional beauty and unique biodiversity, its variety of landforms, habitats and wildlife.

One of the stops within the park was Nouralangie where we hiked up to see some of the Rock Art (gunbim).  Kakadu's rock art represents one of the longest historical records of any group of people in the world.  These paintings told stories and provided a means of communication.  The ones we viewed were 200+ years old.  Hiking a bit further we had a beautiful view of Nouralangie [mountain] and a vast valley filled with trees.

After lunch we took a boat ride on the Yellow River and had a field day with the wildlife.  Even though we were in fresh water, we saw plenty of saltwater crocodiles, named so because they have glands in their mouths that convert saltwater.  These are the crocs that will kill anything and everything. The fresh water crocs are not as aggressive but we didn't see any today.  We also saw plenty of Magpie Geese, Jabiru's (look kind of like a stork but are black with deep green wing feathers), white bellied seagulls, the 2nd largest bird of prey in Australia which is colored like our sea gulls but built like an eagle (legs looked like a linebacker !) and the local fish, barramundi.  Our last stop before heading back to Darwin we were surrounded by cockatoos that were swarming the trees (boy, are they a noisy bunch !).

We also learned that the Aboriginal calendar has 6 seasons - Jan-Mar = Monsoon Season, Apr-May = Knock em down storm season, June-Jul = Cold weather season, Aug-Sep = Hot, dry weather season, Oct-Dec = Pre-Monsoon weather season.

The scenery was beautiful, the weather was about 90-92 degrees but the humidity wasn't bad today so was very bearable.  On and off the air-conditioned bus helped of course and there was always access to ice cold water throughout the day to keep hydrated.  We were dropped back at our hotel at 7:15pm - a true full day tour (520 miles covered )! 

 We strolled down to a local joint for dinner named Duck's Nuts which was right across the street from the Hog's Breath Café.  I had the barramundi and Tony had a duck dish that unfortunately proved to be disappointing.  We finished the night with Baskin & Robbins and are now back at the hotel.

A good day was had by all.  Look for photos under Kakadu.

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