We survived a night surrounded by those blood sucking feckers in Kakadu which I ear bashed in my last Kakadu post. Thank the heavens for the protection of a tent. Not that I would EVER consider sleeping just on the dirt in Kakadu…my mind boggles at the thought of what would eat me first. A crocodile, a snake, a big lizard, the bull ants or the scariest prospect, the UNKNOWN!
As dinky di campers we rose with the sun… although we stayed huddled in the tent a little longer since the mozzi’s hadn’t quite buzzed right the hell off.
It’s strange just landing in a place. We really had no idea what was around us, and it wasn’t like there was going to be a Tourist Information Centre just around the block to pop into. Today was going to be a day for exploring none the less. Kakadu would come up with the goods for sure. I wanted to get a glimpse of some of the notorious Aboriginal rock art and get cultured up a bit. So we hitched up the baby backpack, got Little Vick in and our feet hit the ground walking out the Merl Campsite and towards … well, who knows?
The place is kinda dry. It could use a sprinkler and a lick of water don’t ya think?
The heat was evident on our backs within the first 5 minutes. What is it? 8am and it’s already trying to fry us?
5 minutes into our walk and we discover The Border Store. A store/eatery in the middle of Kakadu??? Seems we wern’t quite so removed and remote afterwards. We wern’t going in regardless, on principal, we were roughing it, we didn’t need a fried dimmy (although this took substantial will power). Not even 5 minutes more we came to the Cahill Crossing. The border where Kakadu meets Arnhem land.
Across that water was a no go zone. Not without a permit anyway, but I was fully curious. I wanted to get my feet on some spiritual Arnhem land soil, but I wasn’t about to paddle across those waters. There were 3 (that we could see) sneaky looking crocodiles hanging out keeping a very close eye on a cocky fisherman at the crossing. I was happy to believe the blatant, prolific signage. Besides I’m not a drunk European tourist who wishes to tempt fate.
We wandered a little further and sat and had our picnic lunch overlooking this mother of a rock. Apparently it was traditionally a stopping place for female only aboriginals (many of whom would pass through trekking a couple of hundred or thousand km’s, you know, as you do). I like the idea of having a no man hang out zone don’t you girls? Then again I guess we have mothers groups which are the ultimate clear a man zone.
We had grand plans to do one of the couple k walks close by but we piked. The heat was intense and in a rare moment we feigned defeat as Little Vick was irritable and it all seemed too hard so we headed back to our campsite. If I can give you one word of advice about camping in the NT: pack your tent up first thing before you get into the midday heat and have to do it. Yeah, we learn’t right there and then. No fun packing up when hot and bothersome.
We shipped out of the Merl campsite and drove to the nearby Ubirr rock site. Perhaps one of the most celebrated rock art sites in Kakadu. The site can be visited via a 1km circuit track which is a nice distance with a toddler in tow.
It was a popular tribal ‘hood due to the exorbitant amounts of food sources close by. Hence, why so much of the art is of actual food. Momentous catches, worth bragging about. You wern’t a real man if you didn’t catch a whooper and paint about it!
Can you tell this next one was painted by a man?
He obviously thought himself quite gifted judging by the proportions.
This art is thousands of years old. Hard to get a handle on that isn’t it? Creatures & human life existing way back yonder and their life is explained right on those rocks for us. Ubirr is a real life living museum.
The hike up this rock is truly worth it. No baby on the back was going stop us.
I look at this photo and think a) why the bejeebers was I wearing a white t shirt exploring in Kakadu?? and b) how this photo does not even come close to summarising the beauty of this moment or location. On top of this rock you can catch a 360 degree view around the wetlands of Kakadu and into Arnhem land. It’s breathtaking. Peaceful. Spiritual. Time just stands still and you just breathe in the beauty of our land. I felt a sense of appreciation to be there and witnessing it. Our land in it’s most raw form. There is still something prehistoric about it. I felt appreciative too that the aboriginals have shared it with us.
It’s quite the magic at sunset I hear. I can imagine it’s very romantical but we were hitting the road in search of our next camp spot home for the night. Besides it had been a long enough day for one little traveler…
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