Malabanjbanjdju – near Jabiru

Yes, that is the incomprehensible name of the National park camp we stayed in. Reminds me of Welsh place names.
On the way out of Gunlom Falls, we headed first to Cooinda to book our Cashadu experience, a Yellow Water wetlands tour. We opted for the 2 hour 2pm tour, which was nearly empty on booking. This turned out to be a mixed blessing; the boat was indeed near empty, which was lovely, but the tour guide was German, and his English was not always easy to understand – especially for das jungen. Still, we saw a saltie catch a large python for dinner, several pelicans, all manner of bird life, including jabirus, stalks, egrets, whistling pigeons and two brolgas in the distance. We passed a few fishing charter boats, and I wondered at the sense of fishing for barramundi within spitting distance of some extremely large resident crocs. The wet lands here are stunning, and the incredible diversity of wildlife is amazing to see in such a relatively untamed, pristine environment.



On the way in to our camp, we also squeezed in a visit to Burrunggui Anbangbang at dusk, an indigenous rock art site at Nourlangie. The art here is amazing, and ranges from just fifty years old to several thousand years old. At least it is still accessible to the public (there are over 5000 rock art sites around Kakadu alone, with just a few open to the public). The 1.5 km loop track takes you past shelter sites containing several impressive paintings that deal with Aboriginal mythology as well as many ubiquitous hand and animal prints, right up to an amazingly complex depiction of Namarrgon, a lightning being who plays a central role in some creation legends.



Our camp for the night was actually very pretty, and was nestled amongst trees that invited plenty of birdsong, including some spooky bird calls went on well into the night (curlews perhaps?).


On our way out of Kakadu.

Next morning we passed briefly through Jabiru for some bread and a few litres of fuel before heading out of Kakadu and onwards to ‘Adelaide River Jumping Crocs’. This one hour tour is a bit of a circus, with the boat driver giving continual commentary in his best laconic Aussie drawl on the lives and personalities of each of the crocs as these incredible prehistoric beasts launch themselves almost completely out of the water to grab chunks of steak dangling from a rope attached to a long pole.


DSC_5551K – I would like to mention here that the boat we were in was open from seat level up.  Needless to say we were warned not to extend any part of our bodies over the railing.  My constant vigilance kept James and his enthusiastic pointing well clear of the edge.


They also fed Kites as part of the tour.  They were fast and accurate.

DSC_5597K – This 6.1m dominant male took our breath away when he emerged just 30cm from the boat out of muddy water only 50cm deep. I think this impressed on the kids that crocs can hide anywhere up here and to stay well clear of any water!

Of course they are teased for the cameras, but they all eventually get their feed. The commentary is also interspersed with very real incidents of unfortunates who have met a grizzly end thanks to a few opportunistic salties. In a few recent cases, these Darwin Awards recipients have been, to put it bluntly, quite stupid. Stories abound of fisherman jumping into rivers to retrieve snagged hooks, one late last year occurred at night along the East Alligator River (even the river name gives you a hint at the contents). My favourite though is two blokes who, after several cans of liquid courage, swam across the Mary River for a bet in full view of a large male croc! They both made it across, but under the baleful stare of the croc, decided to up the ante and swim back! Yep, only one made it back.

One thought on “Malabanjbanjdju – near Jabiru

  1. While working in the library of the Australian Institute of Archaeology yesterday I accessioned some back copies of the journal of the Australian Rock Art Research Association! No doubt there would have been articles about some of the art you have been seeing.
    I wondered whether some of the crocodiles you saw on your Alligator River cruise were the babies we saw when we did the same trip about 20 years ago.