Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist. Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.

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Sunday, 15 December 2019

Exploring country - Kakadu, NT - Part 2 - Half Lap of Australia - Part 10

Welcome back to my half lap of Australia. If you remember last week we started exploring the Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory.  Please click on the link if you want to back track - Walking on country

 This week we are continuing our exploration of the 20,000 square kilometre UNESCO World heritage listed Kakadu National Park.  


 We left Jabiru caravan park after a couple of nights and only had a short 56 kilometres drive to Cooinda Lodge. We decided to relocate as Cooinda Lodge is a little further south than Jabiru and will give us access to other places in the park. Jabiru and Cooinda are the only two commercial accommodation options in Kakadu - however there are a couple of opportunities for bush camping but with no or only very basic facilities. 



 
I have been trying to find out the origin of the place name "Cooinda" but all I could find was that it means "happy place" in "an aboriginal language".  However there are many Aboriginal language groups in Kakadu.... I found this downloadable facts sheet which you might like to read. 

 Gun-djeihmi is one of the language groups.
Most Aboriginal people were at least bilingual and many spoke three or four languages. This is still the case today. English is often a person’s second or third language


 We were set up in the caravan park by around lunch time, but I was feeling rather hot and stressed by then as we only had a little bit of light shade which was rapidly evaporating as the sun came around. Lucky for us Cooinda has a swimming pool, so after setting up camp, putting the washing on, and visiting the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre we had a swim in the pool. At 5.30pm the sun was still blazing hot on our van. 
This photo was taken mid morning when there was still a bit of dappled shade. 

The Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre is a great place to learn about aboriginal culture and history in the museum and pick up a souvenir at the same time.  They have a program of cultural activities like weaving and painting demonstrations. 

I sat under a tree with two local woman and other tourists to make a bangle from pandanas leaves, dyed with the northern Australian kapok plant. One of the ladies was making a basket. The leaves from the pandanas are striped of their sharp barbs and then torn into thin strips before dyeing. You can see the stripped pandanas leaf and the kapok fruit in the bottom line of the collage. In the single picture you can see some of the bangle I made and the process of adding more fibres. 

You can click here to see a brief description of the process on Koskela. There are additional photos on each image to scroll through.  I am very interested in these cultural techniques particularly as I "play with" botanical-eco-printing at home.


 The beautiful Batwing Coral Tree - Erythrina vespertillo


Next morning we got up early to go on the Yellow Waters sunrise cruise. We went on the shuttle bus from the caravan park down to the dock - only a few minutes drive. It was a beautiful misty sunrise and we saw wild horses grazing.

Beautiful early morning views over the waterlilies and the flood plain to the trees.



Our guide Dennis who had an Aboriginal mother and a Maori father, was very knowledgeable about country and the wildlife. 

Some of the birds we saw are below - some of which we had seen previously on our Corroboree Billabong cruise -  again thanks to my husband for some of these pics - clockwise from top left hand corner - 
Jacana (the one that walks on top of the water lilies), Whistling Duck, Nankeen Night Heron, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Black Kite, Brolga, Shining Fly Catcher, and in the center Sacred Kingfisher.

And below here is the Black-necked Jabiru stalk 
 The black-necked stork is often called the ‘jabiru’. However, this name actually refers to a large South American stork that is quite different to our black-necked species.
The black-necked stork is a large white bird with black bands across the wings. If you get close enough you will notice that its neck is actually a beautiful iridescent purple-green. They have extremely strong beaks, which they use to hunt snakes, frogs, turtles, eels and fish in wetland marshes.
You can see in the lower right hand photo, the bird on the right is sitting down.

And of course there are salt water estuarine crocodiles. The crocodile you see in the photos is a very big croc nicknamed "Max". He is the dominant crocodile of this waterway. He is about 4 and a half metres long. He swam very close to the boat, just cruising along eyeing us off. I wonder if he was considering whether we were worth eating? You need to make sure all your body parts are inside the boat!


There was a bit of excitement when another crocodile appeared near the bank and Max charged over defending his territory. However it was a female so he swam on by. The females signal to the male that they are females by lifting their snout and head out of the water. We saw this croc do this.

 Wild buffalo are an ecological disaster for the park
The feral buffalo has been a major environmental disaster in the wetlands of the top end of the Northern Territory. When the population was at it highest, from the 1960s to the 1980s, the feral buffalo grossly altered the character of the northern floodplains. With its wallows, trails, dung, trampling and disturbance, it caused soil erosion, channelling of floodwaters, increased intrusion of saltwater into freshwater habitats and destruction of wetland vegetation.

After the 2 hour cruise we had a buffet breakfast back at the lodge (included in the price of the tour ticket). 

There are many walks, falls and waterholes you can visit in Kakadu. Some are easier to get to than others, and with the last very dry "wet" season there was not as much water around as in other years.  

 Here is a Kakadu Aboriginal Six Seasons guide - from the Parks Australia downloadable guide
We were visiting in August - "Gurrung" - hot dry weather season. I recommend that you don't visit in - Gudjewg - Monsoon season 


We found out about what areas were easily accessible (ie the tracks in weren't too rough)  and what pools had water in them, and where we could swim, to help us make our decision about where to go.

One waterfall we visited was Maguk Falls and Barramundi Gorge, about 46 kilometres south of Cooinda.  Once we turned off the main road there was about 10 kilometres of good gravel road, except for one rocky part where we crossed a creek bed. There were lots of termite mounds on the way in.
You can camp at the nearby Gunlom Campground but there are no facilities other than a pit toilet. Set in natural bush it looks good for camper trailers and tents.
There is a shady parking area at the start of the walk trail and a 2 kilometre moderate walk to the bottom plunge pool. The first part was lovely and shady under monsoon forest, wattle, pandanas, and other wild flowers, with places to view the pandanas lined creek. 


Make sure you take notice of crocodile warning signs. This is a known crocodile area for both salt and fresh water crocodiles. You don't want to mess with any of them.  They do monitor crocodile populations, and remove crocodiles, however they can enter the area at any time, so you enter the water at the plunge pool at your own risk.

Some of the nature along the way - top left is one of the acacia wattles, and bottom right the pandanas palm with fruit.
They might say that the walk to the plunge pool is moderate, the first part through the trees was beautiful and easy, whilst the last park was clambering over rocks. Whilst I didn't find this easy, others did, and I was hot and bothered by the time we reached the pool. Thoughts of crocodiles went right out of my head as we entered the pool and swam over to the waterfall. It was very beautiful and a perfect temperature for cooling off.

 We walked back in our wet clothes and had our lunch in the car park. 
A swim back at the swimming pool in our caravan park, and our stay at Cooinda and Yellow Waters was nearly over. 

More information:
Dept of Environment - Kakadu National Park 
Kakadu - things to do
Northern Territory - Visit Kakadu 
Kakadu Visitor Guide - downloadable pdf

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed the next leg of out half lap of Australia. Next time we head on south from Kakadu to the spring fed pools of Mataranka.

I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.

15 comments:

  1. You have share some really breathtaking photos!! Thank you for the tour!! Wishing you a wonderful week!!

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  2. I so love the bird shots! Scary looking crocs! Thank you so much for guiding us on the travels. Would be fun to learn to weave a basket like that.

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  3. I’m loving the birds and critters, even the crocs. Like our alligators, I don’t want to get up close and personal, but they fascinate me in their prehistoric appearance. It’s fun to read about caravanning too as we were full-time RVers for over a decade ...I loved that life... we now have a small camper van for shorter road trips. It’s a fun way to travel over here too ...lots of country to see.

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    1. yes, so much country here in Australia to explore. Happy travels Sallie.

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  4. Know that feeling of hurring to set up as much as possible before the sun gets too hot, here in California, when setting up my painting gear So much to see here, Jill. Love the ethic slant you are taking for your posts on this trip. When I see the basket weaving my hands itch to do something right away, but alas, am right now in the middle of a writing project that takes all my time. Anyways, your captures take me away to the world where you have been, shown, and "temped" me with! Have a great December week! Jesh.

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  5. Jill - I always enjoy how you combine education, travel tips and beautiful pictures. The water lilies stand out for me, but the bird pictures are also eye-catching. I think it is terrific that you had the chance to interact with local women and learn about their techniques. Thanks for continuing to share your journey with Mosaic Monday!

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  6. So beautiful and such a great cultural adventure!

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  7. What a great part of the world this is - been lucky enough to have had two trips to the NT this year.
    View form my window today is very different!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Paris, France

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    1. Such a LONG way for us all the way from Western Australia - an over 13,000 round trip - and that's only a half lap!

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  8. I like this stop a lot. It's fun learning about other cultures and how different and the same we are. Very cool

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  9. Oh to have a cooling off in that pool, and the weather that makes one want to since we're very cold here today. You sure do have some lovely life images shared. How fun to sit and see their culture and what they share to make. :)

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  10. Hello Jill and thanks for stopping by my pages. What a great assortment of critters in your post!
    I wish you a joyful Christmas time too.

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  11. What a fascinating place. I wish I could visit some time.
    Thanks for linking up at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2019/12/coffee-shop-humor.html

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  12. My, what a fun time with all the stunning scenery! The birds are so diverse.

    It's terrific to see you at 'My Corner of the World' this week!

    My Corner of the World

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  13. Sounds like bush camping is like what we call boondocking. We haven't done it much in our RV yet but hope to do more of it on the second leg of our trip in the Southwest US where it is warmer during the winter. - Margy

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I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I read and very much appreciate every comment and love hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return.