Kakadu National Park was the first place in Australia where we got a feel for and an appreciation of Indigenous culture. The whole topic of colonial history, Aboriginal relations, land rights and restitution is a minefield and I know better than to comment extensively on matters I only have a vague understanding of. Suffice to say, most white Australians have little regard for the culture that existed on this continent before their forebears came along. Yes, it’s all a dreadful shame, but surely that’s all behind us now and it’s about time “they” moved on…
As a rule of thumb, the further away you get from the cities and the closer you move towards the Top End, the more likely you are to encounter remnants of living Aboriginal culture. In Kakadu, the connection of the people to the landscape, their knowledge of nature, wildlife and the seasons, passed down through generations and across centuries, are palpable. The kinship system, clan migration patterns and the dreamtime stories connected to the surrounding landscape are explained extremely well in the park’s two visitors centres and by the park rangers who give free guided tours throughout the park.
There’s an immense variety of landscapes and if you do it right, Kakadu offers a fascinating journey. We saw wetlands…
…dried out rivers (with not a croc in sight),
…and amazing rock art galleries. We also had some of the best bush camping nights of our entire holiday here.
If you can, watch this fantastic ABC series about Kakadu and the rangers who work behind the scenes. It’s beautifully shot and tells some great stories.