adventures, travel
Comments 23

Bushwalking off-track in Kakadu? Pack a spare set of legs (Part 1)

I’m pretty fit, fabulous & fierce for Almost-53, though I say it myself. And last year I trekked in Nepal for a couple of weeks, so I certainly enjoy a challenge…

boneAndsilverBlog_planeLandscape

Seat with a view #Australia #plane #landscape

But my most recent adventure was HARDER, even a little scary to be honest, and I didn’t even have to leave Australia. I did fly to Darwin though, up in the Northern Territory, which is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, with an experienced bushwalking companion.

Where was I going? I was going ‘offtrack’.

From the red dirt to the fire-blackened eucalypt trees via fertile billabongs and wetlands, Kakadu National Park covers nearly 20,000 square kilometres, and is World Heritage listed. It’s full of incredible wildlife and plant diversity, plus crocodiles. Like, truly wild, roaming-around-the waterways-doing-their-own-thing crocodiles.

These signs are everywhere; it’s an Australian cliché that all our native animals and reptiles are trying to kill us… but sometimes, it’s kinda true!

I emigrated to Australia when I was 20; the concept of crocodiles is somewhat foreign to me. But at literally every single creek crossing/waterway/riverbank viewing platform/low pools, I had the danger hammered into me.

And then this happened, down at the local billabong:

A submerged crocodile in a Kakadu waterway

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the real thing #Australia #kakadu #crocodile #authentic

The next day, while walking back along a sandy path beside a river, I turned to see a croc’s eyes and head staring straight at me; we locked eyes, then it sank slowly beneath the surface like a silent submarine.

No ripples.

I felt scared, but knew I was safe.

Kakadu National Park is World Heritage listed, and deserves it

I’ve waited 35 years to visit here #Australia #kakadu #authentic

Unlike a few days earlier, when climbing up a steep rocky gorge, trying to balance my 12kg backpack while thrashing through prickly scrub, sweating in the heat, realising we were getting a bit stuck, and acutely aware that although the river was only 100 metres away, my water bottle was empty, and I felt desperately thirsty…

But that’s another story- Part Two to follow.

 

23 Comments

  1. zlotybaby says

    Ha! Great story. Glad that crocs were merciful… Looking forward to part 2.

    I too only moved to a country where wildlife was a thing in my 20’s and I must say I felt exhilarated when I had my first experience of seeing baboons on the highway. It just felt so surreal. Around Cape Town we mostly have baboons and ostriches so I’m used to them now.
    I also visited another part of South Africa with signs “Beware of crocodiles”, “Hippo alert” and similar everywhere I walked. It was both amazing and scary. My idea of hippos was Kinder Happy Hippo so I was surprised to learn that they’re actually pretty scary and kill people around here more often than crocs. We bumped into one on the road when driving at night. It was MASSIVE but fortunately ignored us and walked away.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hippos? Omg had no idea! We saw a couple of water buffalo and apparently they’re very aggressive & will charge you… wildlife is truly wild I guess 😃

      Liked by 1 person

      • zlotybaby says

        I remember seeing some water buffalos and they made me feel slightly insecure, so did elephants. Now and then there are stories around here about something bad happening in game reserves, even to people who didn’t do anything stupid. I think one should always remain respectful and cautious around wildlife just in case 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I look forward to reading part two! Be safe! We don’t have many (if any?) crocs in the US, but we do have alligators and they are also dangerous if you aren’t careful. I have to admit that as much as I love animals, I’m pretty uncomfortable around reptiles. Especially big ones!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ann- I must admit I learnt a new fear after seeing so many warning signs… luckily the Park Rangers set lots of traps etc (with half a pig in them 😖)

      Like

  3. Wow, what an incredible adventure. looking forward to Part 2. I never got the fear of crocodiles until a visit to your wonderfully terrifying country. We visited a crocodile conservation park and witnessed the power and height a crocodile can muster to capture food. Even that didn’t really hit home until the gate to the enclosure was opened and I realised it would only take an unpretty few moments for even what was an old croc, to launch itself my way with nothing between us. Full respect and fear since!

    Liked by 1 person

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