Kakadu is one of the biggest national parks in the worldkeeps the essence of Australia on the plains. These are crossed by the oldest rocks on the island and maybe on the planet. Here the last Aborigines to maintain their traditional culture still intact are still surviving. A culture that is based on what they call “the time of dreams”.
Ever since the time that Australia separated from the rest of the land that had emerged, things have changed a great deal for its wildlife. The symbol of this is of course the kangaroo, living proof of this theory.
There is a tremendous philosophical force hidden beneath their apparently simple traditional way of life. This has survived until today in a relatively pure state and forged the Australian landscape with the help of a formidable ally: fire.
The dingo is the greatest land-based predator in Australia. Nowadays it is considered to be a native animal, although it seems that it reached the island 4,000 years ago.
It is a relative of the semi-domestic dogs of South-East Asia, and was probably first brought here by humans, although we still do not know who. As the Aborigines were here thousands of years before.
The mysterious dingo, like its relatives from the Northern Hemisphere, the fox and the wolf, arouses equally passionate feelings of love and hate.
On the one hand, it is a wild animal which has become typical of this country, and plays its part as a predator very well. But on the other hand, it attacks sheep, and it is blamed for having eliminated valuable species such as the Tasmanian wolf and the Tasmanian Devil. The farmers hate it so much that they have built the longest fence in the world to keep them away from the sheep. A 3,300-mile-long wire fence.
The other side of the Kakadu National Park, are the domains of the greatest killer in Australia. The estuarine or salt water crocodile, the largest reptile on the planet, a 7-metre-long titan which has to eat a lot to maintain its armoured body.
The estuarine crocodiles also live in fresh water, going up to 300 kilometres upriver.
They have an unlimited appetite, and even swallow big stones which stay in their guts so that their bodies stay lower in the water.
These real “man-eaters” are responsible for countless attacks on humans in their areas. However, the thrill and the chance to see the big crocs, brings thousands of dollars to Kakadu.
Crocodiles do not chew their food, they swallow their prey whole leaving the hard work to their gastric acids, which can take months to metabolise a large body.
Someone called this land “Never Never Land”, because those who have seen it never want to leave. This may or may not be true, but the truth is that Kakadu oozes the essence of ancient Australia, the creative spirit of the Aboriginal Goddess, Warramurrungundji.