We felt an unrivalled serenity as soon as we entered Kakadu National Park. At the end of the wet season, vast expanses of water cover the flood plains, so still that they reflect a perfect mirror image of the trees and sky.
Our home for the week was the campground at Cooinda Lodge, which we had to ourselves. Well, except for the cute little green tree-frogs which live almost everywhere – toilets, bins, sinks, on our tent, our damp clothes. “Frog-checks” became a necessary part of our day – to ensure we didn’t put any into the car, or through the laundry.
We’d already been travelling the Northern territory for a few weeks, scanning every creek or river we drove past, hoping to spot a crocodile. Maybe they were watching us this whole time, but so far, we were yet to lay eyes on the stealthy “Big Boss” of the waterways. Our anticipation was building.
We spent our first morning on a sunrise cruise of Ngurrungurrudjba / Yellow Water Billabong. It was so peaceful on the water, cruising through ancient forest, with lily pads sending up purple and white flowers into the green, watery wilderness. Floating grasses formed a platform for the “Jesus Bird” or crested Jacana, which appears to walk on water.
Then, hidden under branches, we finally saw a yellow eye and a toothy face that was almost grinning at us. I could feel the adrenalin in my veins as I stared at the 4m crocodile, aware of its immense power. The fact that it lay so still, not moving a muscle except opening & closing its eye to look at us, only added to the awe. No doubt it was saving all its energy for its next ambush.
What a start to Kakadu! For the rest of the week, when we weren’t cruising the billabong, we were driving around spotting brolgas, photographing frogs, and Scott even took a fascination to the armies of green ants marching in lines all over our campground.
Thank you to the Mungguy/Bininj people for welcoming us to, and teaching us about their country
Photo by Scott Portelli & Rosie Leaney using
Olympus OMD cameras.