Less than three hours drive from Darwin, Kakadu National Park has a rare dual World Heritage listing for both its natural beauty and its ancient Aboriginal culture, dating back 50,000 years. It is a place of rugged escarpments, lush wetlands, savannah woodland and cascading waterfalls covering over 19,000 square kilometres making it the largest national park in Australia.
Kakadu is shaped by water, being the catchment area for the South Alligator, East Alligator, Katherine, Roper and Daly rivers. From November to May, waterfalls are at their most spectacular and the lowlands are flooded, attracting millions of migratory birds.
The diversity of nature contained within the Park is astounding and keen birdwatchers are spoilt for choice. The unique and diverse avian life in Kakadu includes jacanas, azure kingfishers, cuckoos, rufous owls, magpie geese, jabiru and more. Take a cruise on Yellow Water Billabong literally teeming with migratory birds. You may even spot a croc or two! Over one-third of Australian bird species, around one thousand different plant species and a quarter of all Australian freshwater fish species can also be found here.
A number of Aboriginal language groups still reside within the park, which is home to one of the largest concentrations of Aboriginal rock art in the world. Ubirr and Nourlangie Rock are among the most vivid and extensive examples. A must is a climb to the top of Ubirr for unbeatable 360-degree views of the surrounding floodplains.
Other spectacular, must-see natural landmarks include Jim Jim Falls, Twin Falls, Maguk (Barramundie Gorge), Jarrangbarnmiu (Koolpin Gorge) and Gunlom Falls. Why not take in the breathtaking views from a light aircraft or scenic helicopter ride.
Beyond Kakadu, Arnhem Land is made up of 91,000 square kilometres of pristine wilderness located in the middle of Australias northern coast, bordered by the Arafura Sea and the Gulf of Carpentaria. Arnhem Land is blessed with wild coastlines, deserted islands, rivers teeming with fish, rainforests, soaring escarpments and savannah woodland.
One of the last great pristine areas in the world, its small population is predominantly Aboriginal people, and the region makes for an exciting destination for travellers seeking an authentic cultural experience. Visit the remote town of Maningrida, on the north coast of Arnhem Land, famous for its indigenous art, or Gunbalanya (Oenpelli), one of the first stops east of Kakadu National Park - an Aboriginal community where indigenous artists gather at the Injalak Art and Craft Centre.
This is a rare opportunity to hear an old didgeridoo played by one of today's masters. The didgerido in question is a bamboo specimen circa. 1930s-50s vintage from the Daly River region.
Actually, come to think of it, I'm not sure if this is bamboo. It has segments like bamboo but its composition seems more like pandanus or one of the native palm species...
This didgeridoo has been used ceremonially and shows good signs of wear and handling consistent with prolonged usage... there is handling patination to the neck region, the mouthpiece has a smooth oily residue, and the bell end shows rubbing and flaking of pigment.
Exquisite instrument of the highest quality. Interestingly, these sorts of instruments are no longer made, as hardwood didgeridoos have become the norm in northern Australia.
Played here by mago master, Darryl Dikarrnga.