Kakadu, an ancient land, is recognised as the longest continual art system in the world, dating back over 20,000 years.
Situated in the Northern Territory, Australia, it was once a wild frontier until Paul Hogan made the region internationally famous in his first Crocodile Dundee movie over 30 years ago. It is one of the few World-Heritage areas listed for both its cultural and natural features which include Aboriginal history, landscapes and unique biodiversity.
Today a series of sealed roads lead you to the treasures within Kakadu. Award-winning photographer and travel writer, Danielle Lancaster, gives her top seven things to see in Kakadu.
- Sunset at Ubirr
This is a ‘must do’ as there is nothing quite like witnessing the sunset from this rocky outcrop. Allow the time to enjoy the walk and Indigenous rock art with three main galleries along the way to the lookout. Ubirr is approximately 40 km from Jabiru.
- Sunrise or sunset on a Yellow Waters Billabong Cruise
It’s worth the alarm going off early. One third of Australia’s bird species are represented in Kakadu National Park, with at least 60 species found in the wetlands. There’s crocodiles and on the flood plains you may see buffalo and wild brumbies. Advance bookings are recommended.
- Join an Indigenous artist in residence
At the Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel in Jabiru, you can join one of the Indigenous artists in residence and produce your own masterpiece. Local artists are provided with canvasses and paints and visitors are welcome to join in for free. You not only learn this intricate technique but grasp a deeper understanding of the culture and a bonding to the land. It’s also the best place to pick up original artwork.
- Take a helicopter ride
There is nothing quite like seeing an area from the air and Kakadu is no different.
You will gain an understanding of the vastness and separate landscapes within Kakadu as you sweep over waterfalls and across flood plains. You also see how the Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel is innovatively shaped as a giant crocodile.
- Call into the Bark Hut
Located on the Arnhem Highway halfway between Darwin and Kakadu National Park, the Bark Hut Inn is an iconic Northern Territory pub, roadhouse and rest stop for travellers. Hand built by Terry Baldwin, it’s been operating for more than 37 years.
- Take a walk
Kakadu comprises of seven different regions and throughout each you can enjoy walks to discover more about this diverse and prehistoric region. See giant termite mounds, waterfalls, ancient art and beautiful fauna and flora. Check out the Parks Australia website to plan any walks.
- Dine on the local produce
If you are an angler, then you are in seventh heaven. If not, you will not be disappointed with the array of choices on offer on the menus. Neighbouring fresh produce, many prepared by esteemed chefs heading the kitchens, are served in bountiful sized dishes. Crocodile is a speciality and the white meat is a succulent tasting regional raised meat. There is nothing quite like the tender taste of freshly caught Barramundi served with an organically locally grown salad and hand-made potato chips.
Danielle Lancaster runs photography tours through her company, Blue Dog Photography.