Kakadu National Park is one of Australia's great parks. It consists of 6000 square kilometers of land located on the western edge of Arnhem Land, and encompasses the broad flood plains drained by the South & East Alligator rivers, then the land abruptly rises at the 300 meter ancient sandstone wall of the Kakadu escarpment.
Majestic waterfalls tumble off the plateau during the monsoon season. Jim Jim Falls presents a glistening spectacle in spate as the torrent drops 200 meters, and Twin Falls pours through a gorge of towering walls. In the dry season the rivers become massively tidal, with rise up to 8 meters rushing inland for up to 80 kilometers twice a day.
The regions growth is aided by the wet season and provides vistas of palms, with pockets of lush rainforest, colourful floral displays, large butterflies, crocodiles seemingly lying motionless on river banks and countless varieties of birds. The quiet of the land is only amplified with the symphony of wildlife which inhabits the area.
The 500 kilometer long ramparts have been worn down over millions of years. With its diversity of habitats, the park providdes a home for 250 varieties of birds, 100 speices of animals & reptiles and almost 1000 types of plants. Some of these are extremely rare; others are thought to occur only in the region of Kakadu. Among the birds are flocks of geese, brolgas and stately jabirus.
The name Kakadu comes from an Aboriginal language called Gagudju which was one of the languages spoken to the north at the beginning of the 20th century, which along with Limilngan are less regularly spoken, however, descendants of these language groups are still living in Kakadu. Aboriginal languages still in use today include Kunwinjku from the north-eastern region, Gun-djeihmi from the central region and Jawoyn from the southern region.
Kakadu National Park is managed jointly by its Aboriginal traditional owners and the Director of National Parks, and is so much more than a National Park. It is vast store of ancient & breathtaking Aboriginal rock art paintings which remind us that Arnhem Land was the gateway through which natives entered Australia 30,000 years ago, settling and recording their cultures & beliefs of the Dreamtime that were shaped by the spiritual ancestors of Aboriginal people during the Creation Time. They brought with them laws to live by, which included ceremonies, languages, kinship and ecological knowledge.
Aboriginals have occupied the region since their arival in Australia. The Park is rich in ancient Aboriginal paintings. The origins of the escarpment which forms the skyline for hundreds of kilometers, goes back 2000 million years and outlier rocks now isolated on the plains show how the plateau has eroded down the ages. The most easily reached galleries are at Obiri Rock & Nourlangie Rock, both displaying among their styles the distinctive X-ray paintings, which show internal organs of the subject.