Kakadu, largest National Park in Australia and a World-Heritage listing

Kakadu, largest National Park in Australia and a World-Heritage listing

The name 'Kakadu' comes from an aboriginal floodplain language called Gagudju which was one of the languages spoken in the north of the park at the beginning of the twentieth century. Gagudju is no longer regularly spoken but descendants of this language group are still living in Kakadu.

Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land comprise more than 110,000 square kilometres in the north-east corner of the Northern Territory. The landscapes of are diverse and set the scene for outback adventure travel, aboriginal culture and nature activities.

Kakadu National Park is the largest national park in Australia. It contains one of the highest concentrated areas of aboriginal rock art sites in the world; the most famous examples are at Nourlangie Rock and Ubirr.

The secret to discovering Kakadu is taking your time. You'll find stories, secrets and sights never imagined. It is impossible to appreciate the full breadth and beauty of the park in a fleeting visit – if you can afford the time, spend a week or more.

Nature and wildlife abound in this area, which is known for its level of biodiversity. Wholly aboriginal owned land, Arnhem Land is known for its strong aboriginal culture, towering escarpments, wild coastline, savannah woodlands, lush wetlands and prolific wildlife. Closer to Darwin is the Mary River region, home to millions of birds, saltwater crocodiles and fish, including the mighty barramundi, which makes it a fishing hot spot.

Kakadu is home to 68 mammals (almost one-fifth of Australia’s mammals), more than 120 reptiles, 26 frogs, over 300 tidal and freshwater fish species, more than 2 000 plants and over 10 000 species of insects. It provides habitat for more than 290 bird species (over one-third of Australia’s birds). Its internationally important wetlands are a major staging point for migratory birds. Some of these species are threatened or endangered. Many are found nowhere else in the world and there are still others yet to be discovered. The Creation Ancestors gave Bininj/Mungguy a kinship system linking people to all things and the cultural responsibility to look after them all. They have always understood the biodiversity of country and their traditional ancestral knowledge is a vital part of managing Kakadu’s rich environment.

The park's wetlands provide the greatest visual pleasure. The freshwater and estaurine (saltwater) crocodiles sleep on the banks of all rivers and the many billabongs for most of the day but can also be seen floating or swimming in the water. Birdlife abounds from the stately Jabiru to the amusing "Jesus" bird (Jacana) as it steps from lily pad to lily pad. At dusk on the Yellow Water billabong (Ngurrungurrudjba), hundred of herons circle overhead landing and taking of from half-submerged trees. Ospreys sit on termite mounds or soar on high looking for prey beneath the still waters. The billabongs of the Kakadu national park are anything but "stagnant pools of water". Wallabies are very common and are often, unfortunately, seen as roadkill. Feral horses, pigs and water buffalo also roam the park. Frilled Lizards are also present but are only regularly seen during the wet season when the park is nearly inaccessible.

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