Big Max – King Pin of the Yellow Water Billabong
10 July 2015
Our pick up from our Darwin hotel was 6.15am this morning to start our two day tour to Kakadu and the East Alligator River. Leaving Darwin we travelled across the Adelaide River and the Marrakai Plains into the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park. Before entering the park we stopped at the Bark Hut for a coffee and a muffin to wake us up (below)!
Kakadu is Australia’s largest and most famous national park, its vast wetlands and ancient escarpment are home to one of Australia’s largest and most diverse bird populations, supporting up to one-third of all Australian bird species. Our first stop was Nourlangie Rock (below) where we saw some rock art sites, some quite ancient, and our guide Phil was able to explain most of them to us.
Close to the sites we were able to walk to a lookout to view the fantastic sandstone escarpment in glorious colours and patterns, and over the green valley to the misty mountains beyond (below).
The day was quite warm, about 29 degrees, with a cloudless blue sky, and we looked forward to our buffet lunch and a cool drink at Gardju Lodge, Cooinda. Then we were off to the Yellow Water billabong, on part of the East Alligator River, for a river cruise and to spot some saltwater crocodiles and other wildlife. The river was so calm and serene with lots of bird life. It wasn’t long before we spotted our first croc – we had been warned to keep all limbs inside the boat, and we didn’t have to be told twice! I had been thinking of the old song “Never Smile at a Crocodile” – they are amazing creatures and for their size they can move very quickly.
After the river cruise we travelled to the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre to view informative displays and exhibits depicting the traditions of the Aboriginal people in Kakadu, then travelled to the Aurora Kakadu Resort for our overnight stay – another reasonably early start for a busy day tomorrow.