Sunday, 28 July 2013

To Kakadu National Park

My driver has returned from New Zealand. 
Mella is wearing new 'shoes'.

Farewell to Dave and Judy and to Darwin. 
Hello Jabiru,  Kakadu National Park.

 Places names amuse us. Humpty Doo is on our route to Jabiru.
Clear skies, eucalypts and very little traffic.
It is early Saturday morning.

 A small scrub fire alongside the road.
The flames are working their way through the undergrowth and tidyng up the forest.
 The eucalypts and ferns are well adapted to this annual event.
These interpretation panels at the Bowali National Park Head Quarters explain the purpose of forest fires to the Gukberlerri (aborigines)

 But first, let's get airborne.
I am co-pilot for this sunset flight.
 To our right very close to Jabiru township is the Ranger Uranium Mine. The mine company owns the airstrip and contributed to the cost of building the Jabiru township.
 The mine was set up as the the national park was established in 1978.
It seems strange to us to find a mine like this within - but technically not inside - a national park.

The flight takes us over the Arnhem Land plateau. 
We would need a permit from the Northern Land Council - which represents the indigenous people - if we wanted to venture in to visit Arnhem Land.
 Gorges and fault lines abound in this plateau which has areas which have never been inhabited.
Then west - the East Alligator River with a managed fire patch...

 and the flood plain.

 Back near the mine.

We are sleeping in the belly of a crocodile tonight.

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