An airboat ride & some rock art

An airboat ride & some rock art
Jabiru, Australia

Jabiru, Australia


We wake to a sunny morning and head down to breakfast at the lodge. Today we are taking an airboat ride on the Wildman Home Billabong and wetlands and I cant help but overhear a rucus between some French tourists and the manager about getting bumped from their tour the previous day onto our tour today.

We head off at 9.00 am in a rickety old jeep and drive about 5 minutes to the water where the airboat is moored. I cant help but notice that it has a nice V8 sitting under the cage. We all board and the tour operator starts the engine and by God its loud. The scenery is breathtaking as large flocks of Magpie Geese take flight in V formation and we spot all manner of birdlife.

We soon head out of the billabong into the wetlands and are surrounded by thousands of pink lilies in full bloom. We stop the boat every now and again to listen to the guide as he explains the ecosystem and about the different birds he has spotted. Its not long before a 3 metre croc sticks his head up and crashes into the boat. We spin around and chase it down until it finally dives and disappears.

Back on land we pack the car and head off to Jabaru some 2 hours away. We pull into the South Alligator River Resort to buy some ice then head to the Mamukala observation platform which has a nice view over the wetlands but very similar to the Wildman wetlands. Forever onwards we pull into Jabaru do a quick scout around town then into the Mecure Crocodile Hotel our home for the next two days.

On checking in we find out that no rooms are ready so we decide to have lunch just as an AATKing tour bus arrives then another followed by another. The place is packed but we don’t have a long wait as the tour bus’s have their own buffet of which we are not allowed to partake. With a very lack lustre menu Deb settles on a hamburger and I a pizza. We only hope the dinner menus is better.

The temperature is reaching 35 degrees and we have come to the realisation that you can only partake in activities early in the morning or late at night. so we decide to stay in our room until sunset. At about 5 pm we head toward Ubirr and supposedly some of the best Aboriginal Rock Art in Australia. Its a 40 minute drive and the car park is filling up as we arrive. The walk is signposted as 1.6 km and it is still hot, so we head off with a cold bottle of water each.

Its not long before we spot the first set of paintings and they are much more detailed than the smudged colours we have seen at Ayers Rock. as the path meanders through some spectacular scenery and rock formations the painting seem to improve. On reaching the half way point Deb looks at the steep climb to the lookout and decides to sit it out as I begin the climb. Ten minutes later I reach the summit and the climb was well worth it, but boy am I hot. I think how nice it would be to watch the sun set but that is still 30 minutes off so I return to find Deb sitting in the shade and I am dripping wet. Your mad she said as we head back to the car and some cool air conditioning.

Back at the Hotel we check the menu which is uninspiring so we decide to skip dinner and get in an early night as we have a 5.00 am start in the morning.


Rod Muller