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Kakadu: not quite what I expected

Above: A close encounter. Below: The Lotus Flower, a pretty but troublesome weed

Kakadu National Park has always been on my bucket list with visions of moody wetlands, crocodiles, and vast kilometres of rain forest, creeks, and ravines, so I was really looking forward to our day out from Darwin with Grayline coaches.

It was not a costly at $277 per person for a 13-hour day trip that included buffet lunch with cold meats, salad and fruit, a visit to check out rock art and a 1.5 hour guided cruise on Yellow Water Billabong

After a visit to Uluru a few days earlier we were prepared for an early morning start and a long drive to our destination. It was a pleasant coach ride – complete with comfy seats and an on board toilet. But this was rarely used because comfort stops were regular and well spaced. On top of that our driver kept us amused and informed.

The scenery though was fairly monotonous, lots of scrub and stunted trees – most memorable time was passing through the town of Humpty Doo. Now there is a name to paste on your Facebook map!

In fact I was disappointed with the National Park. No rainforests, no canopies soaring upwards just more scrub and flat floodplains. I don’t blame Grayline for this, just my lack of research. I was expecting something similar to the Daintree River and North Queensland rainforest scenery. I normally research thoroughly for a trip, but this time I made the old mistake and ignored my own advice – “never assume anything” - I assumed!

So be aware.

Also included in the trip was a visit to Nourlangie Rock, which was a short guided walk to see some impressive Aboriginal rock art

The cruise on the Yellow water Billabong was a unique and enjoyable experience. It was a large open area, with few trees fringing the dark rather than yellow water. We got lots of photo opportunities of sea eagles, magpie geese and even a long shot of buffalos browsing in the distance and of course several crocodiles that came in at close range.

It was hot day, September last year, but the boat had plenty of drinking water and was well shaded.

After this pleasant and relaxing experience it was back onto the buses to visit Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre which features many fascinating displays of traditional life of the Aboriginal people in Kakadu.

There is also a good gift and souvenir shop on site that sells Aboriginal artefacts and paintings. It is a very well stocked store with a wide range of goods.

It was a tired but happy busload that settled back for the return three hour trip to our Darwin Hotel. We were back at 7.30 pm.

A huge flock of Magpie Geese

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