With the halfway point of the summer drawing near, we packed up our cars and headed for Kakadu National Park, a Natural and Cultural World Heritage Site.
We spent our first evening in the north at Ubirr, famous for its aboriginal rock art. Walking amongst looming rock shelters, we admired 20,000 year old paintings, each with their own story to share. As sunset approached, we climbed upwards to watch the sun dip below the horizon over the vast floodplain. That night, returning to our campground, we found tree frogs in the bathrooms. Interestingly, there were several frogs in the girls bathroom but none to be found in the boys bathroom.
The next morning we roused early and hiked through monsoon forests and sandstone hoodoos, spotting rainbow pittas and rock wallabies along the way. Finishing our hikes, we sat with aboriginal women and attempted to learn how to prepare and dye fibers for traditional weaving. While some had more luck than others, we all came away with an appreciation for the immense effort that goes into the creation of traditional baskets.
Heading South from Ubirr, we pitched camp at Nourlangie Rock, in the center of the park. That night we lit a roaring fire thanks to some superb firewood collecting and befriended our neighbors by offering them toasted (and roasted) marshmallows, a delicacy most had never experienced.
That morning, we climbed to a scenic overlook, walked around a billabong, and viewed more rock art before starting a 12km hike over Nourlangie Rock. We had our eyes peeled for a Chestnut-quilled Rock-pigeon, and were richly rewarded at lunch when we spotted a pair, appropriately, on a rock. The 12km hike left us ravenous and we ended our dinner that night with delicious fire-roasted Nutella and banana pies.
For our last day, we headed further south to Yellow Waters, the iconic wetland of Kakadu. Walking out on the boardwalk to watch the sun set, we were greeted by a saltie chomping down on a dead snake less than 3m away.
Our four days in Kakadu were a brilliant showcase of the beauty of the Northern Territory, as well as a great chance to learn about the livelihood of the people who inhabited this region thousands of years before us.