Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Night 40 - Kakadu

We would have rathered head off earlier but we had to wait until the Aboriginal Land Council opened in Jabiru so that we could get our permit to enter Arnhem Land. It cost us $13.50 each for 24 hours and the conditions were that we were only allowed to go to the Art Centre, no deviations, no stopping and no taking video or photos for commercial purposes.

After we got our permit we drove towards Oenpelli which is the first settlement in Arnhem Land. We stopped quickly at the Border Store to buy some cakes (Lisa's choice!).

There is a 6m range in tide at the border so we had to time it correctly but we had the tide tables.

Thinking I would keep the boys interested I said 'anyone see any crocs' and immediately Bailey said 'I do'!! They were only about 3m away from the car. It was like they were waiting for their next dinner to arrive. Its ok when your on a tour and you see them but when you see them and your on your own it quite unnerving.

We crossed the border into Arnhem Land feeling quite privileged, not many people get to experience this. I can see why they want to keep Arnhem Land sacred and why they want to make people pay because as soon as we crossed the East Alligator River the landscape changed from a woodland to an open wetland.

We travel along heavily corrugated road for about 8k's past a few abandoned cars that had obviously rolled over and werent roadworthy anymore. Oenpelli was intersting, very eye opening for the kids. We were greeted by a wave of stray bitsa dogs! I dont think the locals had seen too many cars with surfboards before!

We arrived at Injalak Art Centre to appreciate and see artists at work weaving the baskets and painting. When I parked at the art centre I had to get out and check that there were no dogs I was about to park in incase it was a family pet, and offending someone who then might spear me (tribal law!). Unfortunately there wasnt anyone weaving and the artwork and baskets were really expensive.

We decided to head back to Ubirr to check out some more rock art and the place made famous by Paul Hogan and Crocodile Dundee. We started on the 1.5kms walking track which took us past the Rainbow Serpent site.

And a few other sites....

We climbed up to the top of Ubirr and came to the spot made famous by Crocodile Dundee and here he is...

This is where he did the bull roarer scene....

The view from the top was outstanding....360 degree views of wetlands, escarpments and distant fires.

We headed back to the caravan park for another arvo of swimming and schoolwork.