On jan 20 we flew from Cairns to Darwin. We strolled in Darwin through the Bicentennial Park with pleasant shady walks and panoramic lookouts. It is home to several World war II memorials. We liked modern Darwin Waterfront Precinct a center for tourist and local life with lots of restaurants and bars.
We saw on the streets several aborigine people, most of them hanging around or begging. A waiter in a coffee shop tried several times to chase away a begging aborigine man who came back five minutes later. But we are sure the the impressions given by these Aborigines are not indicative of the the Aborigine Community as a hole.
However aboriginal people own today half of the land in Northern Territories including Kakadu NP and Uluru-Katja Tjuta which are leased back to the federal government. It is however difficult for short term visitors to make meaningful contact with aborigines as they prefer to be left by themselves.
Darwin is a very good base for trips in to the largest and most famous natural areas in Australia. During our trips through Northern territories we saw large area that had been lightly burned. This is the result of a very smart fire management practiced by Aborgines. The fires burn slowly, reducing fuel loads and creating fire breaks. Not all the area is burnt, with the end result a mosaic of burnt and unburnt country.
The method removes fuel for larger fires late in the dry season when the weather is very hot, at the same time as maintaining and protecting habitat for mammals, reptiles, insects and birds.
Kakadu NP has impressive 25000 years old rock paintings. These rock art sites represent for Aboriginal people a major source of traditional knowledge and represent their archives.
One of the absolute highlights of our Australia Trip was the early morning trip on the Yellow River in the Kakdu NP. We saw several crocs, white-bellied sea eagles, kingfishers, etc The flat bottom boats can get very close to the shore, giving close views of the birds and animals in the area. And the lovely lotus lilies. Beautiful early morning light on the waterand good explanations from the guide. The scenery exceeded our expectations. Overall a fantastic experience with 2 wonderful hours in nature during a beautiful sunrise. Absolutely worth the money.
Unfortunately other attractions like Edith Falls were closed because there were after huge rains plenty of crocs.
The other day we drove to Catherine and visit there the Nitmiluk NP. A series of several deep gorges have been carved out by the Catherine River. We boarded the boat for the Three Gorge Cruise. Magnificent scenery as we cruised between the sheer rock walls. As there was enough water, we didn’t have to walk bertween the gorges. In total we drove ca. 900 km only in the Darwin area! However the highways are in excellent condition and you can drive very fast. Then we flew our next stop Uluru (Ayers Rock).