ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Australia's Top Tourism Treasures - Kakadu National Park & The Kimberley

Updated on March 25, 2010

Kakadu's Aboriginal people rarely paint on rock now, but the sandstone galleries of their forebears constitute one of the world's oldest and best preserved records of human prehistory. Around 5,000 art sites, concentrated along the escarpment, in gorges, and on rock outliers, have been recorded in the park, and an additional 10,000 are thought to exist. Dating back as far as 20,000 years, the paintings are much more than creative expression: they are a visual record depicting the physical, social, and cultural environment of a people who had no written language.

The major sites of Ubirr and Nourlangie allow visitors to appreciate the beauty of the art and, through this, the close links between Aboriginal people, the land, and their spiritual heritage. These links can also be explored at the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre, near Yellow Water, where Kakadu's Bininj owners have created an outstanding display of cultural materials.

The Kimberley, Western Australia

The rugged Kimberley region of northwestern Australia offers endless opportunities for solitary encounters with nature. Indeed the region is so vast, covering 260,400 square miles, it is about half the size of Texas, that finding some space to yourself is seldom a problem, even during the April-to-October tourist season.

Despite its proximity to the populous islands of Indonesia to the north, the Kimberley remains one of the most sparsely inhabited parts of Australia. Aboriginal occupation dates back 40,000 years, and Dutch, English, and French explorers began to investigate the coastline from the 17th century onward, but it was not until the late 1870s that the Kimberley began to be settled by Europeans. This was partly because it was so far from the developing population centers of the southeast coast, such as Sydney and Melbourne, and partly because the rugged terrain posed major obstacles to settlement. Even today, the Kimberley's population is a mere 30,000, most of whom live in the region's few small towns or on vast cattle stations scattered across the plateau.

The Kimberley not only remains undeveloped, it offers glimpses of an almost unimaginably distant past. Some of the region's rocks formed as far back as two billion years ago, and much of the terrain has changed little since it was ground by glaciers during two ice ages 700 and 600 million years ago. The sea has long since retreated from the plateau to create a stunning but treacherous coastline of inlets, channels, and thousands of islands, which, around Derby, is subject to the second-biggest tides in the world. The inland terrain of the Kimberley is no less varied: folded mountains give way to dusty plains; flat-topped plateaus reminiscent of the mesas of the American Southwest rise above vast expanses of savanna grassland; and lush pockets of rain forest thrive beneath lofty escarpments. Although in the dry season, in particular, much of the land appears to be semi-desert, every track you follow seems to lead to another miraculous flow of pristine water, another Eden-like oasis surrounded by hot red rock.

Exploring this remote and rugged land requires careful planning. Road access remains limited: the Great Northern Highway skirts the southern edge of the plateau, but the main route through the heart of the Kimberley, the Gibb River Road, is a dirt track that was once a cattle trail and remains rough going in places.

Continued in: Australia's Top Tourism Treasures - The Kimberley & The Pilbara

Back To Start

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)