Jabiru Touring

Our first full day in Jabiru arrives and we head straight to the Bowali Visitors Centre to grab some info, recommendations and maps of the area. We tell the woman how long we are in Jabiru for and she is a treasure trove of information and provides us with itineraries, maps and all the times and locations for the various park ranger guided walks.
We head for our first location of Ubirr (100 kms) where we join the ranger tour for a walk through the park pointing out all the stuff we would never notice. It starts with a 1km walk with amazing Aboriginal art sites and caves along the way. We thought all Aboriginal art was the same but wrong. In the north they paint in lines and in the south the style is made up more of dots.
Luke (the Park Ranger) is a Victorian who lives in Jabiru in the dry season then moves south to find work doing whatever he can find. This seems to be a trend that covers most of the non Aboriginal Rangers.
Next is a climb of about 250 meters which takes us up a rocky path to a lookout with amazing views over the Nadab floodplain where we get our first views of Arnhem Land and the East alligator River. The scale of this place is just amazing. It’s pretty early and the temperature is in the high 20’s already but will get up to a high of about 37 and HOT. We next get down a bit lower and in to another cave site where it really takes the edge off the heat. There is more rock art to check out and the story of what the painting is about which is the Dreamtime and creation which the Aboriginal people believe. We get a visitor in the shape of a little rock Wallaby who looks like he is on the payroll and hops on to a rock then strikes a pose for photo’s.
We were planning on doing the Manngarre rainforest walk but we had spent too long with the ranger guided walk and decided to skip this and head straight for the famous Cahill crossing. Lot’s of people had told us this was a must see and we get there before the high tide. Cahills crossing is a road that allows vehicles to cross the East Aligator River between Kakadu and Arnhem Land one at a time in both directions. There is a viewing platform with picnic tables as when the high tide arrives the river becomes a feeding station for the huge amounts of crocodiles which inhabit it. We get there in good time and have our lunch and then witness a huge truck crossing over the river with croc’s either side hoping that he does not make it. In the river before the tide rises we see an overturned 4 X 4 which mistook the boat ramp for the crossing and lucky for them only their Land cruiser was killed and they were very lucky to be rescued. Against the wishes of Kaz, I head down to the edge of the river to see these wild croc’s up close and they are just terrifying and will eat you up in a heartbeat. It is amazing that people including me are allowed to be as stupid as you like and get as close to these man eaters as you dare. The high tide arrives and the fish start to head up over the crossing and in to a sea of croc’s treading water mouths open just waiting for their lunch. Today the fish seem to be winning but we do see quite a few getting chewed up.
With that fun over we get down to the boat ramp. Having witnessed the croc’s at the crossing we are keen to get even closer and we join a river boat cruise. Our Aboriginal guide sails us down and points out an alarming number of croc’s that we would not even have seen as well as all the now usual uses for the various trees and plants. He also include a graphic description of hunting techniques including spears and clubs etc. For us it’s fingers in the ears and la la la although we have heard it before. We then get a surprise as he tell us that we will step on to the soil of Arnhem Land where he will demonstrate spear throwing. There are some sports I have seen that this spear and arrow throwing could and should replace. The distance he achieves would worry any wild pig within 300 meters who would be tonight’s meal in no time. All too soon we are back in the boat and head back to the boat ramp and are stunned when we see that it is almost five o’clock and we have been on the go all day. Arriving back at the resort we get changed and dive straight in to the pool which takes all the days dust of and cools the skin that has been cooking all day in the heat.
A busy day but we are both bloody knackered.

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