Kakadu National Park. It is a cultural and natural landmark in Australia. The park is surrounded on all sides by mountains, features a huge territory equal in size to the territory of Israel. Kakadu Park features a unique nature it is inhabited by animals and plants that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. And the animals of Australia are in themselves the pride of the continent because all the famous marsupials on Earth are its inhabitants. Kakadu National Park is located 171 km east of Darwin, in the Northern Territory. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Its archaeological, natural, and ethnological components are under strict protection because the Kakadu Park is unique and inimitable!
Kakadu National Park covers an area of 20,000 square meters. km, it is located about 150 km east of the city of Darwin. It is Australia’s largest national park. It also includes the South Alligator River, home to a particularly large population of crocodiles, and various areas of the park include wastelands, eucalyptus, and rain forests.
The history of the Kakadu National park and its name
It would be logical to assume that the Kakadu park is named after the flamboyant cockatoo parrot, but this is far from the case. The park got its name due to the wrong pronunciation by Europeans of the name of the language in which the aboriginal tribe living in this territory spoke. Their language was called Gagadju (Gagadzhu), but the European ear heard “Kakadu”, which gave the name of the area, and later the Kakadu National Park.
Kakadu National Park was founded in 1981, but only after the adoption in 1999 of the Law on the Protection of the Environment and Natural Diversity, the entire area was declared a National Park. Today its area is 19 804 km². The park, 200 km long from north to south and 100 km from west to east, has clear boundaries created by nature itself. Steep cliffs, the height of which reaches 400-500 meters, border the reserve, as if protecting it from destructive winds and prying eyes.
Flora and fauna
A distinctive feature of the Kakadu National Park is that its nature looks as if no human has ever set foot here. The territory of the Park has not only a unique structure of the earth’s crust but also soils that are unusual in their biological and chemical composition. An extensive water network covers the entire territory of the reserve, thanks to which its flora and fauna amaze with their diversity.
More than 1,700 plant species, 280 bird species, 117 reptile species, 77 freshwater fish species, 1,000 insect species, and 60 mammal species are registered in Kakadu Park. And in the waters of the Noarlunga Creek and Majella Creek rivers, you can find both freshwater crocodiles, safe for humans, and giant saltwater crocodiles, terrifying all the inhabitants and visitors of the park.
Two types of crocodiles live here – Johnson’s crocodiles live in freshwater and feed mainly on fish, and the comby crocodiles are the largest reptiles in the world that can live in both fresh and saltwater. In length, they can reach 6 m. These crocodiles are extremely dangerous, it happened that they killed unwary tourists.
Here you can also see barramundi – a double-breathing fish, the length of which reaches 2 meters. Not to mention the frogs! In the park, scientists have counted about 22 species of these amphibians. The most famous of them are the bullfrog, marble frog, green tree frog, and frog-shaped toad.
Against the backdrop of the lush green vegetation of the park, light brown termite mounds, reaching 6-8 meters in height, are striking. Termites build their structures from saliva, earth, and shredded wood. These structures are as strong as a brick. Traveling through the park, you can come across whole glades of termite mounds.
The picturesque picture is complemented by another attraction of the park – the cascade of Jim Jim, Maguk, and Gemini waterfalls, which are breathtaking to look at. They dry out towards the end of the dry season to reappear during rains.
Before the arrival of the Australians to these lands, about 2 thousand indigenous people lived in Kakadu Park. Today, 500 aborigines live and work here permanently.
They are direct descendants of various tribes that lived in the reserve over 40 thousand years ago. According to legend, the “first people” appeared in Kakadu Park back in the “time of dreams” (the period of the creation of the world), when our ancestors emerged from the depths of the earth, who, wandering around the world, plunged into the rocks, leaving only their imprints on the surface.
The natives are sure that the souls of their ancestors still live in the southern part of the reserve, called the “country of illness”, and therefore warn tourists to step carefully and not wake the sleeping gods. There is a rational explanation for this story. When the first conquerors came to these lands, many of them died of diseases,
In general, the aborigines keep many stories and legends passed down from generation to generation. They are happy to share them with tourists while leaving a place for riddles and hints. Clan Manilakarr says: “Our land has a huge history. Sometimes we say a little more. Come and listen to our stories, explore our lands. Perhaps it will remain in your heart. And if you want more, you will come back. ”
Unique rock painting
When visiting Kakadu Park, travelers should definitely see the paintings of Ubirr, Nourlangie, and Nanguluwur caves. Recognized as the outstanding examples of Aboriginal rock art in Australia, they are rightfully the main attraction of the park.
Rock paintings open the door to a life full of secrets and local aborigines of different times – from hunters and gatherers of prehistoric times to our contemporaries. An interesting “X-ray style” is a distinctive feature of their drawings: the artists conveyed not only the external appearance of people and animals but also their internal organs. The rock paintings were created for various reasons:
Hunting – the images of animals were bright, catchy in order to exaggerate their beauty and strength, guaranteeing a successful hunt for those who came into contact with the spirit of the painted animal.
Sacred meaning – some drawings depict the stages of mysterious religious ceremonies.
History – the caves are dominated by drawings showing the history of the creation of the world by the Ancestral Spirits.
Witchcraft and Wizardry – Drawings could be used for ritual purposes to control events and influence people’s lives.
It is also interesting that for the natives, the process of creating rock art was more important than its outcome. This is confirmed by the fact that many drawings are made on top of the old ones.
The images show that people appeared here over 50 thousand years ago. But the natives are ironic about this research. The Varrajan tribe says: “People came to this land and found ocher, stone tools and coal from a fire. They said that the aborigines lived here 50 thousand years ago. But at least the aborigines know that they have lived in this country since it appeared