Our tag-a-long tour was starting in Jabiru so we arrived a couple of days early to relax and explore the area as we'd never been this far north before. We checked into the Kakadu Lodge & Caravan Park which was great. Beautiful tropical gardens and plenty of room for campers with numerous amenities blocks, all including laundries which was great. Of course, the lovely lagoon style pool was a welcome relief to escape the heat, but OMG the water was cold! And can't go past a great poolside restaurant and bar!
The town of Jabiru was built in the early 80's to house the community living near the Ranger Uranium Mine and whilst not a big town by any means, it has everything you need. From the central plaza in town you can see it may have used to have been alot busier, but as the mine has now closed down, it appears many shops have too.
We took a drive around town, stocked up on some food supplies and then set off exploring. We drove to the Kakadu Information Centre and spoke to the rangers about what we could do during our limited time and were given some ideas of walks, rock art and lookouts to visit. This is a place we always knew we would visit again so weren't too worried about not being able to see some of the more popular attractions in the area.
One of the highlights was a guided tour of the Ubirr Rock Art. These guided tours are free and are run by a local Bininj ranger who shares their stories of their culture and laws. There are 3 art galleries in this area all apparently dating from 3,000 years to 15,000 years old. The art shows ancient human interaction with the land, documenting food which was available in the area. It was described to us as a library.
The Rainbow Serpent, one of the most powerful of Creation ancestors, also painted her image on the rock as she passed through to remind people of her power and presence.
The walk lasts for about 1.5 hours and ends just near Ubirr Rock which you can then climb the steep 250m climb to be rewarded with 360-degree views of Arnhem Land and the Nadab floodplain. We climbed up there and sat and watched the sunset.
Like many places, you can visit this area yourself but to do one of these tours with someone who has local knowledge, a personal connection and ancestors have lived this land, sure does make it a little more special.
Fun Fact - in the movie, Crocodile Dundee, Mick climbs to the top of this rock and looks out in the distance and says something along the lines of “That's Never-Never Country".
Kakadu is known to be home to some of the best rock art sites in the world. These were all a little different and quite a change to some of the other art we've seen around the country. During our travels, there are many rock art sites which are sacred and do not allow photographs (and parts of these sites were also the same), but you are free to photograph majority of these areas within Kakadu.
The Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) region is another area known for its World Heritage rock art so we took an early morning walk around here and up to the Kunwarddewardde lookout for the amazing views.
Next up was Anangbang Billabong and Nawurlandja lookout. The views again were simply stunning, looking over the billabong and Arnhem Land escarpment, it felt like you were on top of the world. We were the only ones up there and it was so quiet and peaceful and you could really feel that you were somewhere special.
An early morning start was definitely the way to go as by mid-morning it was already getting too hot to be walking and climbing so we were glad we started off early. We explored a couple more areas (mainly via the air-conditioned Prado!) before heading back to camp for a swim.