According to sunglasseswill.com, the Kakadu National Park covers an area of approximately 19,800 km² in the Northern Territory. It is one of the most beautiful and important national parks in the country. The park is extremely rich in fauna and flora and has the oldest traces of continuous human habitation. The thousands of Aboriginal sites and rock carvings attest to 40,000 years of settlement.
Kakadu National Park: Facts
|Official title:||Kakadu National Park|
|Cultural and natural monument:||National park established in 1987 in its current size of 19804 km²; one third owned by Kakadu Aboriginal Land Trust and Jabiluka Aboriginal Land Trust; in the national park about 7,000 sites with 18,000 to 25,000 year old rock carvings; Landscape shaped by weathering, i.a. Arnhem Escarpment, a rock formation stretching for more than 500 km with drops from 30 to 330 m; Coastal region with extensive estuaries and tidal flats of 473 km²; 90% of the precipitation from November to April|
|Continent:||Australia / Oceania|
|Country:||Australia, Northern Territory|
|Location:||between Wildman and East Alligator Rivers, southeast of Darwin|
|Appointment:||1981, expanded in 1987 and 1992|
|Meaning:||Most important Australian national park with traces of continuous settlement over the past 40,000 years|
|Flora and fauna:||more than 1600 plant species recorded; open eucalyptus forest as the dominant form of vegetation; 64 species of mammals, including 26 of Australia’s 65 bat species; endangered species the manatee dugong and the Australian ghost bat; among the 128 reptile species, among others Death otter, ringed lizard, loggerhead turtle, green turtle and saltwater crocodile; 274 species of birds such as the cracked goose, the white-bellied sea eagle and the Gouldian finch|
Gudjewg, Gurrung, Gunumeleng…
The “tyranny of distances” characterizes this continent, and so hasty comparisons are often used to capture the vastness of the country. Popular size comparisons such as between the Kakadu National Park and Rhineland-Palatinate, which are almost identical in their areas, remain empty, devoid of any imagination: who has ever experienced Rhineland-Palatinate or even the Kakadu National Park in all its corners, let alone walked around to perceive the country “sensually” in all its variations?
If one could experience the change of seasons all year round in the floodplains of the South Alligator River, then the year would begin with the monsoon season – in the language of the indigenous people “Gudjewg” – and end with “Gunumeleng”, the time of violent storms. Monsoon – heavy rain showers hit the land several times a day. Snakes and frilled lizards flee from the tides on floating plant islands, while crocodiles are now in their element. After the roughly three-month rainy season, it gradually becomes cooler, although the humidity is still high. Little by little, the river that overflowed its banks is pulling back into its normal bed. Young herons learn to hunt frogs, while pelicans hide dozens of fish in their throat pouches. Snake-necked turtles are now also finding food in abundance. Yellow water lilies and white “snowflake roses” jut out of the water here and there. Over time, the temperatures drop and it is pleasantly early summer before the hot dry season – “cooing” – sets in. Flocks of cleft-footed geese, as well as whistling geese and ibises, are permanent guests of the waters that initially overflowed their banks and later gradually dried up. Isolated paper bark trees let white “bottle-cleaner flowers” hang down, and the red flowers of the “paper bark tree mistletoe” appear in their branches. With the rising heat, the floodplains disappear.
If one could be in all places at the same time, one would see in the course of the year in the lowland forests the pale yellow and orange “cluster flowers” of eucalyptus trees or the red flowers of “feather flowers”, in narrow ravines one would come across the pink flowers of Lassiandra and on the plateau on the yellow and cream-colored “spider flowers” of the Grevileen. While some watch from excursion boats as crocodiles snatch for the prey that is held out to them on long poles over the ship’s side, others set out on a tour of the shallow water of Yellow Waters at dawn: strutting over a carpet of foliage »little Jesus birds «, While a saltwater crocodile remains motionless on the bank and a white-bellied sea eagle peers for prey from its» perch «.
And then there are the rock carvings at Ubirr and Nourlangie Rock, which the native residents of Australia left behind, especially under rock overhangs: naturalistic depictions of crocodiles and the long-extinct bagwolf, dynamic figures with imaginative headdresses, fish in decorative “X-ray technology”, Namarrgon, the “man of lightning”, and other figures of the mythological “dream time”.
The first residents of “Down Under”, who are continually claimed to have lived in harmony with nature, used the targeted burning of savannah and open forest areas as a hunting method, thereby permanently changing the Australian flora and fauna. The image of the nature-friendly “noble savages” has certainly suffered since it was found that 85 percent of Australia’s larger animal species – including Genyornis newtoni, a flightless giant bird – became extinct as a result of the slash and burn. Nevertheless, even today, when looking after the national park, people swear by the targeted use of fire at the beginning of the dry season. The argument goes that the aim is to prevent – as in years without controlled fires – up to 70 percent of the parking area from being destroyed in the dry season.