Over the Top Down Under
On the world radar of superior wilderness areas, the 8,000-square-mile Kakadu National Park is a small but significant blip, still remote and little known despite its use as the outback location for Crocodile Dundee.
For now, its frontier freshness remains intact, and the resident population of 15-foot “saltie” and “freshie” crocodiles (the latter unique to these parts) still laze undisturbed in the shallows of the pristine river and marshland ecosystem.
In 1981 Kakadu received the rare double honor of being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its natural wonders as well as for the 5,000 rock paintings that grace its sandstone caves—“the greatest body of rock art in the world,” according to the local museum.
The paintings can be classified into three distinct periods of Aboriginal history, and date back from 30 to more than 25,000 years. Ubirr, 27 miles north of park headquarters, is one of the most visited outcrops; in its cavelike “galleries,” images record life from the Stone Age to the 20th century.