We drove to Cahill’s crossing first to have a look. The Cahill crossing, at low tide lets you cross the river into Arnhem Land. (If you wish to go to Arnhem Land you will need a permit to enter.) We had been told if you would like to see crocs Cahill crossing is the best place to be. The number could reach up to 30 to 40 at a time. It is where the tide changes. The saltwater will met the fresh water and run across the road giving the crocs an easy way to pass from one to the other.
We searched the water for about half an hour and counted the crocs we saw. The number reached 0. We decided to go on to Ubirr, which has an incredible collection of aboriginal art. The art is an unwritten library of knowledge and spiritual beliefs of the local people. The senior clan member would pass the information down though the generation by the rock painting and story telling along with dance and music. The art at Ubirr is said to be the finest rock paintings in the world.
A commonly asked question is how old is the art? That is hard to answer. The scientists try to link the age to an environment or historical event. The painting of the fish and long neck turtle are freshwater animals they became common in the area during the development of the floodplains about 2,000 years ago. It stands to reason the painting would be less than 2,000 years old. Some of the oldest painting are said to be over 5,000 years. There is even a painting though to be of a white man with his hands in his pockets. Some times the next generation painted over older painting. The different style of painting also helps the art to be dated.
We were blown away with how many rock drawings there were and where they were on the rock wall. Some were placed right in front of you other were high on the rock. It would have been nice to take a tour to hear more about the history of the paintings from someone who knew what they were talking about. Totally, totally amazing, totally lives up to the title of “Finest rock painting in the world.”
There is also a lookout, which gives you a view over the wetlands. Totally, totally amazing, did I already say that? The view and rock art defiantly deserves a double dose of amazing. We are in the dry time of the year so I could only imagine what it would have looked like with the green being blue and the water birds come to play.
It is a very popular spot with several coach tours and a lot of individual groups of people. One family had a young boy who did not stop talking. His voice echoed around the walk. Adrian wisped to me “Oh the serenity of the bush,” it did make me giggle. We tried to get away from him but his voice echoed around. At least he was interested in what he saw.
We went back to the crossing. I was hoping for peak hour crocs crossing. Some patiently waiting for their turn, maybe a bit of road rage with one or two snapping at each other. What did we get? We did get to see two croc or we saw the same one twice, I don’t really know.