Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Great outdoors

Dragons, volcanoes, and the garden of eden are more than mere myths at these national parks.

Kakadu National Park, Australia

Executive summary by darmansjah

The scale of Australia’s largest national park is an impressive one – it is nearly half the size of Switzerland! Located in the Northern Territory of Australia, 170 kilometers southeast of Darwin, Kakadu covers an area of close to 20,000 square kilometers.

Waterfalls, aboriginal rock art, vertical cliffs, chasms and gorges make up the landscape of the park but perhaps what it is most famous for is its crocodiles. Small freshwater and the larger saltwater or estuarine crocodiles, whether sleeping on the banks of billabongs or floating in rivers, are a common sight in the park. Little wonder as Kakadu is after all, Crocodile Dundee’s territory.

The park’s wetlands are beautiful all year round, especially during the dry season as the diminishing supply of water leads to the congregation of an incredible number of birds.

The town of Jabiru is located inside the park and acts as the strategic center of Kakadu, with accommodation options, a service station, a supermarket, a medical clinic and a shopping centre a short drive away to get maps and learn more about kakadu. Scenic flights take off from an airstrip in Jabiru if you want a quick overview of the park.

Day tours inside the park taking you to well known spots like Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls can be booked but a rental vehicle, especially a 4WD, will give you the flexibility to explore the massive park on your own and those who have been there know the best way of truly discovering Kakadu is taking your time.
Aurora Kakadu Hotel is the first property inside the national park from Darwin on the Arnhem Highway and is set in lush tropical surroundings. The hotel provides immediately access to wildlife and is a good base from which to explore the park (from US$110;

You’ve probably absorbed many of the images and information that abounds about this NT icon. You would have heard that it’s Australia’s largest national park, sheltering a variety of habitats and wildlife, including saltwater crocodiles. And it’s well known that the park is World Heritage listed. But experiencing the extraordinary natural and human histories kept at Kakadu defies anything you’ve read (including this). Even old-hand nature buffs will find for the first time seed pods, insects and animals unique to the area. The 2000 million-year-old rocks tell 20, 000-year-old stories: of the existence of long-extinct giant kangaroos and thylacines. There are hundreds of square kilometres of park, so allow at least three days to discover a smidgen.

Click here to find out more!The park is joint managed by Parks Australia and the traditional owners, the Bininj in the north and Mungguy in the south, who have lived in Kakadu for at least 50, 000 years. There are several settlements in the park, and much of Kakadu is Aboriginal land, leased to the government for its current use. About one-third of the park rangers are Aboriginal people. 

Enclosed by the park, but not part of it, are several tracts of land designated for other purposes, principally uranium mining at Ranger.


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