The Top End: Ubirr

Friday, 2 August 2013

Hello there! Over the past few days my mind has been blown. I realise I've been saying this kind of thing a lot, but this time really there is no mind left to talk of. Blown. I've been exploring the top end of the Northern Territory and my days have been so packed I'm going to have to do a few posts to fit everything in. 
Today I'm going to show you my first forays into Kakadu National Park, which is a truly extraordinary place. This is not only because of its contents, but the fact everything is so remote and you have to travel there by four by four, through crocodile infested waters and the like. But that's another story! For now, welcome to Kakadu and the first stop of our tour, Ubirr.

First rule as a tourist: never miss a jumping photo opportunity. Meet Madeleine, Anna and Christina. They've been touring since Melbourne and we jumped on their group through Darwin. 

Now to meet Nick, our tour guide. With aboriginal heritage and a vast wealth of knowledge, he was very passionate about this part of the world, the people and their traditions. I cannot describe how impressed with Nick I was. If you ever have a chance to do the G Adventures Darwin tour I highly, highly recommend you try and tour with Nick. Really great guy.

Nick told us all about how aboriginal art here was about the continuation of the art, rather than particular pieces of work themselves. 

This is why there is no distinct form in this painting. Just layers of colour upon colour. Generation after generation. 

We explored several rocks with more distinctive figures and we were told how some teach morality to aboriginal children. The painting below is of a Mabuyu hunting figure and tells how stealing is wrong and is punished severely. As aboriginal people have severe punishments, there is much respect for the law and very few break it.

We ventured over to a huge outcrop of rock where the stone is peppered with different x-ray paintings, including depictions of animals where the detailing shows the best parts of the animal to eat.

We then climbed up the rocks in search of a great view. 

The Nadab lookout certainly didn't disappoint. What makes this place particularly special is the biodiversity. As Kakadu is so vast, several different environments exist together. Floodplains, savanna, woodlands, rock areas and more. From this special viewing point you can see most environments. 

You had to keep turning to take it all in. Panoramic camera would be a worthy investment for this point! 

We began the climb back down and were treated to yet more extraordinary views. 

Including the intriguing kapok fruits, that when brown release seeds covered by a cotton-like substance with many uses. 

Nick also had more rock art stories for us, including the creation story of the Rainbow Snake, which interestingly is not unique to aboriginal people here but is told across the world. 

As we reached level ground Nick talked us through the aboriginal uses for the plants and wildlife of Kakadu. Above, Thomas tries the sweet nectar of a pine, which besides the ants is a great snack. 

After our brains were fit to burst with information and our feet were sore from hiking we headed to camp, which is under the stars.

Dinner over the fire with a mug of wine was perfection. 

The melodic hum of guitar strings kept us all quiet and wrapt by the music and the fire. Nick treated us to a few of his own songs and we all headed to bed, ready for an early start the next day. 
So much more to share, I can't wait to show you more. 


  1. What a privileged journey you are making, Kakadu seems to be a wonderful place.

    1. It's untapped vastness makes it pretty amazing! X


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