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Kim’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 06 Feb 2008

Location: Kakadu, Australia

Map6.30 pick up from, the bus terminal and all that I know is that I am hot and bothered. The hotel room managed to squeeze and double and single bed into something the size of a shoe box and the air-con was broken - it whined, whistled, screeched all night and in the end I gave up and turned it off. At least the cafe at the bus station was open and I could get a cup of coffee.

Kakadu is a National Park of Australia and covers a huge area and it thankfully was a couple of hours drive out of Darwin, so I managed to catch up on some sleep. The orginal settlers here must have had totally wicked senses of homour, why else would you call a place Humpty Doo. Our coach driver turned out to be a mine of information and even diverted the coach at one stage to show something else of interest. After the bombing and then hurricane, this area turned into its self and starting to grow crops, melons, mangoes, hops, you name it, they have tried it and now hold the honour of being the first state in Australia to bring in many of the early fruits. The landscape also gradually changes from lush green fields and meadows to vibrant greens and shades of grey in the wetlands. This area is governed by two seasons, wet and dry - nothing inbetween and you either have the flies (dry) or mozzies!! But it is incrediable, acre after acre of grass that gets flooded at least once a year, birds from all over, forests standing with most of their trunks in the water.

Our first stop is at the Nourlangie Rock to see the art work. No one is totally sure of the age of some of these pieces and neither of the complete story. This native art is very different from that of Uluru and Alice. There is does include figures and shapes but also it is home of the dot picture that tells its story with each dot and each spot of colour. Here, it is more to do with figures and feather lines in each piece. I am not sure that my pictures will show you that much but I have tried. The forest here also feels different, older and ?, want to say wiser but not sure that is correct.

After lunch in a roadstop, we push onto the Yellow Water Billabong. We are in the land of the crocodile here and no one goes too close to the water before getting into the saftey of the boat!! This trip is incrediable in that it changes from day to day depending on the weather and today due to last nights rain fall up country, we have to go another route - can you imagine living in some place that you do not know from day to day which road is going to be open. The boat trip is interesting but not due to crocodile sightings, well I have another trip tomorrow and maybe I will get lucky then. A quick trip to another cultural centre and then into Kakadu town itself for the night.

Kakadu Town is totally owned by the mining company and everyone that lives or works here must be either employed directly or in some way supporting the miners. No one here can own their house, it is all owned by the company and if the mine ever shuts, the town must be flattened and everything gone - not sure how they will do that with the boom in tourists but it is part of the agreement held. My hotel is once agian in the cheap seats, a cabin in the park with shared toilet facilities, plenty of additional mining staff and a wonderful huge swimming pool. It was only a matter of minutes before I was there. The heat is wonderful and your bones are warm but it is relentless. I have a lovely dinner from the poolside bar eaten in my room, a) to avoid the flies and b) all the very large notices that say beware of poisionous snakes. I am not sure about getting up in the night if I need to!!!!