Rock art galleries are easily seen from the path. // © 2012 Janeen Christoff
Located within the Alligator River regions of Australia’s Northern Territory, Kakadu National Park offers some of the country’s best Aboriginal rock art galleries. If clients only have a short time in the park, as I did, a great place to get an introduction to the life of the Aboriginal people is the Bowali Visitor Centre. The center is located just outside of Jabiru and features interactive exhibits illustrating Aboriginal life. Everything from cooking utensils to clothing is contained in a variety of displays. The visitor center is also a great spot for a picnic either before or after a hike to Ubirr, which is one of the best places to view Aboriginal cave paintings.
Ubirr is one of Kakadu’s most famous rock galleries and can be seen by following an easy, well-marked walking track that is less than a mile long. Each gallery has a plaque that describes the history and the time period during which the artwork was created. Since the Aboriginal people have occupied the area within the park for more than 40,000 years, artwork spans centuries.
Near the end of the track, a short climb takes visitors to a peak that overlooks the floodplains. One of the best times to visit is before sunset for stunning vistas of the plains and the park.
During the winter dry season, park rangers give free scheduled talks about the ancient rock art, which is a great way to gain more perspective about the life of the people as well as their art. In the summer, which is the wet season, access to the trail is sometimes restricted. The best way to find out about road conditions is to stop at the Bowali Visitor Centre before heading out.