Kakadu NP: Injalak Art Centre – Sandy Billabong

Saturday morning we crossed the East Alligator River and entered Arnhem land. As it is Aboriginal land, you need a permit to enter, which we got one day earlier in Jabiru. The landscape is still beautiful. After about 20 minutes drive we arrived in Oenpelli. Contrary to our information the Art Centre was still closed, so we needed to wait another 20 minutes or so. Some indigenous people were around, and we had a short chat with them. But it turned out that they were working somehow for the art centre, but not operating it. So at 9 o’clock a young white woman turned up and opened it. To our surprise it was basically a shop were aboriginal art was sold. The prices for them are pretty high, and depending on the size of the picture, it can easily reach a 4 digit number. We had a short chat with the woman, and asked also, if we could visit the Injalak rock, which is supposed only about 15 minutes away. But she told us, that the families suspended the tours for the time being. She invited us also to have a look at the workshop in the rear part of the building. By chance there was just an organised tourist group arriving, and I listened to the explanation of one of the Aborigines. Surprisingly they got a guide to show them the Injalak rock art. Well that was a bit sad to hear, so we left that place, also as Jakub felt a bit unwell surrounded by all the black people.

We drove back to the Cahill’s crossing and then further on to the Mamukala wetlands about 40 kilometres west of Jabiru. We took a walk, but honestly expect of one dragonfly and a bird of prey there was not much interesting to see for me. OK, there were lots of other birds in wetlands doing their business, but as I’m for sure not a twitcher, this place was not worth to make a detour. We even drove 10 km further to the West to the South Alligator river, which is really massive here, compared to the dried section we crossed the second day. But as you could clearly see it was high tide, and this push backed all the brackish water the other way around. In the afternoon we went to Jabiru to get some groceries. By accident we just entered the supermarket a few minutes before it was closing at 15 o’clock.

In the late afternoon we drove south to Sandy Billabong with a short stop in Djarradjin. The campground in Sandy Billabong is just basic, but the day use area is pretty nice, directly located at the billabong. We went for a short walk along the billabong and Jakub discovered a brownish snake, but it suddenly disappeared before I could spot it. While we were looking for the snake, we heard a noise behind us…a small saltie was gliding into the water, probably just 10 metres behind us. So we stayed a bit apart from the waterline. The billabong is much larger than we anticipated. We parked our car at the day use area, to enjoy our dinner with an awesome view to the billabong. It was so quiet and peaceful, you just heard the sound of nature. While enjoying our meal, we saw again the saltie swimming in the billabong in a distance.

Billabong and Rock from Injalak Art Centre
Some printings of the women in the workshop
A billabong with water lilies in Arnhem land
The fruit of these small trees is similar to charcoal, so it keeps the fire but is not really burning by itself. It was used to carry the fire from one fire pit to the next by indigenous people.
A dragonfly…
…and a bird of prey, not sure if it was an Eagle or a Kite, was the most interesting thing for me…
…in Mamukala wetlands, which is just full of dirty birds.
Brackish water flowing upstream the south alligator river
Djarradjin billabong has clear and calm water, not sure if the water was flowing at all here, as it’s part of the Nourlangie Creek
The saltie just slide into the water…you still can see it’s lane in the grass
Sandy Billabong is so calm…
…and the scenery in the evening is absolutely stunning. Definitely enjoyed it here.

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