Be still, my beating heart! As I sit here writing (having just arrived back in Ireland), my mind turns to the beautiful Kakadu National Park as a cyclone sweeps in to the Northern Territory. I was so lucky to visit there on a sunny, still day at the heart of what is usually the wet season.
This visit was a story of wetland birds, nonchalantly sitting atop floating branches or prancing through the shallows, unworried by the presence of so many crocodiles!
There he or she is, lurking under a few bushes! This day was so warm that even the water would have been hot (I understand that reptiles like to bask in the sun if it's the warmest spot – but if the water is warm too…)
The skies above the very flat wetlands remind me of a sunny Spring day in the midlands of Ireland. Just as green…
But this is a very different land, the land of the aboriginal people, a land populated with beasties unfamiliar in Irish landscapes.
I took a tour with AAT Kings which picked us up at unbelievable o'clock, taking about 4.5 hours to reach our furthest point away from Darwin. The first stop was to see the Warradjan Gallery, a place honouring the traditional owners of the land and where photography is not permitted.
Our driver, Ben, had been an adoptee of a Tiwi Islander family and knew that land and this countryside very well.
He did manage to be chirpy for the pick-up!
We had a comfort break before reaching Warradjan… comfort meaning a bacon and egg roll, an extraordinarily expensive cup of tea ($5) and a chance to marvel at the cost of things on the road out to where no other shops exist.
Museum shot – this did not include a picture of people so I think it was okay.
A short drive after Warradjan was the Yellow Water Cruises stop, from where we were to explore the wetlands.
From the outset the beauty of this landscape unfolded.
Nature crafts its own arcs, the branch reflected in the water creating a beautiful circle.
Doesn't this image create a vision of purest beauty? But, like a modern day Jurassic Park, below the water lurk hundreds of crocodiles, lazily whiling away the hours and days until a wrong-footed tourist topples into the pool.
Australia reminds you that its beauty has risks!
As night fell in and we turned back towards Darwin, the soft colours in the sky were betrayed by the multiple forms of sheet and fork lightning that heralded thunder and monsoonal rain, a surprise greeting that erupted as the lights of Darwin hove into view.