|next town(s): Pine Creek, Darwin|
Kakadu Nationalpark is probably the most famous nationalpark of Australia. It stretches over
about 20.000 square kilometers and is accessible on road from Darwin or Pine Creek.
The name of the parks has nothing to do with the kakadu birds but is based on the word gagadju
from a local aboriginal language. Kakada nationalpark belongs to the UNESCO world's heritage.
Nevertheless birds are a main attraction of the enormous variety of animals in Kakadu NP.
There are about 280 species of birds, one third of them being endemic. A lot of the birds live on
grapes, fruits or smaller animals. Others subsist on some of more than 10.000 species of insects.
In addition you will find large numbers of reptiles, mammals, fresh water fish and frogs.
A large variety of animals comes along with an as well large variety of plants, at least 1.000 species.
Due to a water level difference of more than three meters between dry and wet season the flora needs
high adaptability to the climate. The coastline is dominated by mangroves whereas the mainland shows
up eucalypts and grassland.
The are remarkable rock paintings at Nourlangie Rock and Ubirr Rock being of unique preservation.
In total there are more than 5.000 known places with paintings, that were made up to 20.000 years ago.
Due to changes in sealevel there are three different epochs to classify the painting's time of origin.
Tourists are only allowed to visit more recent paintings. Other attractions in Kakadu nationalpark are
several waterfalls, e.g. the 215 meters high Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls.
Since the early 50's Kakadu Nationalpark has been of political interest. In 1953 and in the beginning
of the 70's uranium was found in the park, so the government was interested in mining. But the
aborigines refused mining. In the end their agreement was bought with land- and leasing rights.
It became dramatic in the end of the 90's when a UN delegation ascertained that tapping another
uranium mine would endanger the listing of Kakadu Nationalpark in the world's heritage.
The government was shocked and has been trying since then to change the UN's mind.