A Rare Treasure

A standout ethnological and archaeological reserve situated 171 kilometers southwest of Darwin, Kakadu National Park has been inhabited by indigenous Australians for over 40,000 years. It covers almost 20,000 square kilometers of unique and exquisite beauty and biodiversity. Kakadu is listed as one of the UNESCO Heritages Sites both for its natural and cultural values. Its rich collection of rock carvings, cave paintings and archaeological sites has been the legacy and testament of the rich and colorful way of life of its inhabitants. These are Australian aborigines who still live there and were hunters and gatherers of the ancient times. The uniqueness of its complex ecosystems have always been cited, including its floodplains, lowlands, plateau and tidal flats which provide a home for a diverse range of endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna. It is jointly managed by the director of the National Parks and its Aboriginal traditional owners.

The national park is composed of four major landscapes: the Arnhem Land plateau and escarpment complex; the coastal riverine plains and Koolpinyah surface. In addition to these four major landforms are an almost 500 kilometer squared of estuarine and intertidal areas and two islands within the park. The major landforms incorporated in the park provide an exquisite example of both ancient and latest geological alterations to the Australian continent. It also contains good examples of species that represent the different periods of biological evolution of the continent’s fauna. Due to its rich ecology and diversity of landforms from coastal to marine habitats to dry sandstone escarpment, Kakadu National Park is renowned as one of the world’s richest wildlife parks. A quarter of Australia’s freshwater and estuarine fish species and a third of its bird species are all found in Kakadu. The park also contains an important breeding habitat for two endangered reptiles: the pig-nose turtle and the saltwater crocodile.

Tourists from different parts of the world usually visit Kakadu on May and June during Yegge, one of Kakadu’s six seasons. It is characterized as a time of lower humidity and cooler days, a perfect time to explore the national park. Mist shrouds the floodplains and waterholes every morning, which rises with the sun.

The Cradle of Life

Kakadu is also known for its rich Aboriginal culture sites. More than 5,000 art sites showing the culture of Australian Aboriginals for over thousands of years are recorded and archaeological sites in the park imply Aboriginal occupation for possibly more than 40,000 years.

Aboriginal culture and the diverse wildlife continue to attract tourists and visitors in Kakadu. The beautiful gorges and waterfalls within the national park such as Jim Jim Falls, Twin Falls, Gunlom and Maguk are very popular to sightseers. Aboriginal rock art are also among the important tourist interests in Kakadu. Ubirr and Nourlangie are some of the most visited sites in the Park. Places like the Yellow Water Billabong provide the opportunities for travelers to view some of Kakadu’s unique wildlife. The region is also known as one of the world’s best for bird watching with roughly 30 per cent of Australia’s bird species can be found here. Large saltwater crocodiles are also found in East Alligator River and Yellow Water and visitors are encouraged to exercise strict caution around these reptiles as they have been responsible for fatal attacks on humans.

A Must-See Place

Kakadu National Park is a unique place in the world that offers a different kind of experience not only in the field of exploration and observation for ethnologists but also as an interesting destination and a one-of-a-kind spot for environment and wildlife enthusiasts and regular tourists. It is a home of a rich culture that has survived for thousands of years and has been passed through generations. Truly, Kakadu is one of those rare, surviving ancient marvels in the world that everyone can learn a lot from.

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