Sunday, October 28, 2012

Strange day in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory.........

This was definitely a very different expedition day!
It was the end of the trip, we'd left the ship, enjoyed 
seeing Darwin, moved on to Kakadu National Park, 
and ended up here in Arnhem Land.  

Paula and I were hardly up for 106 degrees in blazing sun, 
armpit soaking, water slurping, dripping humidity, and the 
red dust of Australia's remote Northern Territory - known 
as the 'Top End'. However, thrill seekers (fools perhaps), 
sign on for crazy adventures such as this.................and 
we can now look back and share memories of how exciting one 
of the more strange days we shared down under.

The magic bus appeared early morning at our crocodile hotel in the Kakadu (more on that another time!) 
with Miss Leah at the wheel......and just four more 
crazy tourists hopped aboard with us.

Above, Cahill's Crossing on the Alligator River (but 
remember, there are no alligators in Australia, 
only crocodiles).

First stop, the Border Store for the outdoor bathroom 
break, snacks and cold drinks...............

.............and to watch this little Aboriginal boy 
fascinated by a faux crocodile swimming in in a large pot!

Of course the crocs rule here...........warning signs 
are everywhere and being close to water is somewhat
    nerve wracking.....................

..........which is why I'm scoffing down my lunch 
on the billabong beach where Leah said to stay 
waaaaay back from the water!

While eating, we were suddenly joined by several 
decrepit vehicles speeding through the sand within inches 
of us. Overloaded with Aboriginals, these cars were 
heading to a funeral in a nearby village. We and our 
food were soon coated in sand........hardly a 
bucolic country picnic.

The Arnhem Land Region's population is 16,230 and it  
has been occupied by Indigenous people for tens of 
thousands of years. It is the location of the 
oldest-known stone axe, which scholars believe to be 
35,000 years old.

The climate here is tropical monsoon with a wet and a dry season.  
Temperatures do not fluctuate widely throughout the year, it's always hot.

Declared an Aboriginal Reserve in 1931, it 
remains one of the largest in Australia 
and is best known for its isolation, the 
art of its people, and the strong continuing 
traditions of its Indigenous inhabitants.

Some areas of deep cultural significance to the 
Indigenous inhabitants are off-limits even to those 
with permission to travel across Arnhem Land.

The land is beautiful in a rather melancholy way......silence 
is pervasive. Lots of birdlife, especially around the 
wetland areas - the billibongs - which are small, stagnant 
lakes adjacent to, or cut off from, a river or creek, and 
often dry up completely in the dry season. We were visiting 
at the very end of the dry, the wet coming hot our trail 
we were told.

Arnhem Land Region - northeastern corner of the 
Northern Territory, Australia..........a spectacular 
and diverse landscape, a different place where the culture 
and art of the Indigenous people remains strong.


  1. Cahill's Crossing is notorious for crocodile attacks. Looks perfect to me. Lush country. Great presence. Alive, not empty. This is life at the sharp end. No need for extreme sports. Maybe you were not in the right place at the right time. Soon the weather will become hot and humid. Sorry, but you experienced our version of a lovely day. Maybe if we went to your part of the world we would find it less than easy and comfortable though.

  2. Lovely post Mary, whenever I hear/see anything about Arnhem Land I automatically recall those great Bush Tucker Man programs with Les Hiddins :o)
    I REALLY wouldn't fancy being near those crocodiles!
    Rose H

  3. Beautiful photos of the landscape Mary.

    Sft x

  4. What a wonderful area to visit. And lovely that the indigenous people are still there and are protected. Except for the sand in your lunch, looks like it was a very exciting, interesting day. Best wishes to you, Tammy

  5. That must have been some experience, Mary. The pictures you paint of Australia with your words make me wish more than ever to experience some of that vastness.

  6. The art on the rocks would totally fascinate me. Not good sand in food and 100+ weather though. What beautiful country though.

  7. I currently live in Nhulunbuy and conduct IT service's with laynhapuy homelands most homelands areas in Arnhem land.

  8. Looks perfect to me. Great presence. Alive, not empty. It seems so in balance. Great photos, and thanks for sharing.

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