Untold stories in rock art at Ubirr, Kakadu

Ubirr, one of the most famous sites in Kakadu, has an abundance of ancient rock art galleries, evidence of where aboriginal groups camped under Ubirr’s cool rock shelters, and amazing views of the surrounding flood planes in Kakadu.

The painting includes traditional x-ray art from the last 1500 years, naturalistic paintings of animals. and paintings recording the early contact with European people. There is even a painting of a Tasmanian tiger, which have been extinct for 2000-3000 years now.

Going in the wet season just increased the fun, as we had to catch a boat though the paperbark forests to Ubirr, the roadway being flooded for the wet season.

Rapt in the rock art of Nourlangie, Kakadu National Park

Nourlangie Rock is one of the most accessible rock art sites in Kakadu, even in the wet season. It’s an easy 1.5km walk alongside the base of Nourlangie. The Anbangbang gallery of aboriginal rock art is the main attraction, and it holds some very eye-catching drawings. Keep an eye out for the drawing of Namarrgon, the lightening man, so named because a rocky outcrop on Nourlangi was used as a lookout to see the escarpment on the other side of Kakadu, and see when the wet season weather was about to arrive.

In Nourlangie its easy to see some of the steps taken to preserve the unique art from the ever increasing number of interested visitors. Key parts of the path are walkways, so our feet don’t stir up dust to coat the art work, the walkways and hand rails are set back to ensure we can’t touch the artwork or environs, and the rangers can add silicon drip lines around paintings at risk to redirect the water flow away for those parts of the rocks.

Ancient rock art, Nourlangie National Park, Kakadu
Ancient rock art, Nourlangie National Park, Kakadu

Aboriginal people have been coming to Nourlangie to shelter from the wet season for over 6,000 years.

The surrounding flora and landscape is vividly green in the wet season. the Gunwarddehwarde Lookout, an outcrop on the each of Nourlangie, makes a greatpoint for viewing the surrounding landscape. In the dry season there is a great view of Nourlangie from the other side of the Anbangbang billabong, but it’s not possible in the wet season.