Was picked up by Kimberley Wilderness Adventures at 06:25am in Darwin and met the rest of the group. The group is 9 people…4 Australian couples, all retired plus me. Maybe KWA is owned by Saga. There are a couple more people joining in Kunnunura in a couple of days time. The driver/guide is another Tim.
With everyone on board the truck we started off towards Kakadu. May is one of the best times of year to visit Kakadu. The wet season is over but the land hasn’t had time yet to get completely parched and dried out. Still plenty of water in the rivers and billabongs. We drove about 150km to reach the start of Kakadu then about another 80km into the park, mostly through dense eucalypt forest to arrive at an aboriginal rock art called Ubirr. Then went for about an hours walk stopping at various paintings before climbing to the top of Ubirr rock for the view. From the top of Ubirr you can see right from the edge of the Arnhem land escarpment across the Kakadu wetlands.
After Ubirr we headed to the East Alligator river. There are no alligators in Australia but the first white people who surveyed the region couldn’t tell the difference between Alligators and crocodiles…and the name stuck. We cruised about 5km up the East Alligator with a guide who is half Czech and half Aboriginal (its a long story). The approach to safety was interesting….To comply with Australian health and safety rules the boat had to have one bright yellow life jacket per person. We were warned though that in an emergency on no account put these on and enter the water. The crocs are particularly attracted to unusual bright colours…The best thing to do with the life jackets to throw them over one side of the boat while you jump over the other and hope the life jacket acts as a decoy for the crocs while you swim to the bank! We saw a few smallish crocodiles but most were underwater waiting for a tourist dinner.
The East Alligator is the border between Kakadu and Arnhem Land. Arnhem Land is a Aboriginal reserve about half the size of England. Its complete wilderness and can’t be entered without a permit from the Aboriginal people. We did step off the boat into Arnhem Land for a minute which isn’t strictly allowed.
After the cruise we drove to Jabiru and are staying in the ‘Crocodile Holiday Inn’. The hotel is shaped like a giant crocodile and my room is somewhere around the arse.