Day 94. Darwin to Kakadu

We left Darwin today for the third and final time but not before a visit to the doctors to get Ben and Sam on antibiotics for a few wounds that will not heal, no exciting ones just scratches and bites.

The destination was Cooinda in Kakadu National Park. We decided rather than driving on the sealed Arnhem and Kakadu Highways we would go cross-country on the unsealed Jim Jim Road, all we knew was it was 4WD only. Pleasantly it was a good road, what we didn’t realise until we were on it was that it ran through the Mount Bunday Training Facility and these signs kept us amused, and moving! Yes, that is a red flag being displayed. Happily, we neither saw nor heard any signs of firing.

94 live firing small

After setting up at the Cooinda campground, we went to look at the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre. Warradjan is the aboriginal name for the pig-nosed turtle; these turtles actually do have piggy noses. It had excellent displays about the traditional owners of Kakadu, moiety (kinship system) and creation stories. We have discovered everywhere we have been the aborigines refer to it as creation stories, and do not really like the term dreamtime.

94 Aboriginal seasons smallThis shows the six seasons recognised by the aboriginals of Kakadu, it is based on climate cycles rather than dates so may vary slightly each year. The seasons are marked by weather changes, and the effect on plant growth and animal behaviour. An example we were told about this is the relationship between the kapok tree and the freshwater crocodile. When the buds are out the crocodiles are mating, when the kapok fruits the crocs are laying their eggs and when the kapok seed crack open the eggs are hatching. Even though the kapok and the crocs are not directly related, the timing of their cycle is dictated by the climate.

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