Internationally recognised, the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park is one of the nationís most prized cultural and ecological treasures.
From Darwin, the 19,000 sq km national park is just 257 kilometres along the fully sealed Arnhem Highway. The name Kakadu is from the Gagudju speaking people, a language used in the northern parts of the area at the beginning of the 20th century.
Today however, there are three major languages spoken within the park. These are Gundjeihmi/Mauali, Kunwinjku and Jason. The shelters, stone tools, grindstones and ochre indicate that Aboriginal people have lived in the vicinity now defined by the National Park in excess of 50,000 years.
Important parts of that legacy have become a major attraction for latter day visitors. Dreamtime legends and day-to-day living are presented at Ubirr and Nourlangie Rock. Rock art galleries reveal mouth-sprayed hand stencils, hunters carrying barbed spears, plus the creation beings, Namarrgon the Lightning Man and Ngalyod the Rainbow Serpent.
In these paintings fish, birds and animals are presented in an x-ray style, revealing internal organs and bone structures. Aboriginal culture abounds throughout the Park, where some 5000 sites have been recorded.
Then, there is the other display, the flora and fauna. More than a third of the Top Endís plant life is represented through the 1,600 plant species, along with 275 bird species, reptile families totalling 75, 25 species of frogs and it is estimated that the park hosts an amazing 10,000 species of insects.
On the flood plains, the water lily covered billabongs are stunning. Your travels into the Park must include Yellow Water and Manual. These areas attract flocks of birds throughout most of the year.
The high sandstone escarpment to the east highlights grand waterfalls of 100 to 200 metres in height, Jim Jim Falls, Twin Falls and Gunlom.
Kakadu is a truly unique place well worthy of a visit.