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Learn from the Land in Kakadu

Bush tucker and ancient Indigenous rock art are often the hero of a trip to the Top End. In World Heritage Kakadu National Park, be inspired by the land.

In Kakadu, time stands still. With your feet on ancient land, you'll realise you’re standing amongst millions of years of history. The land speaks to us, just as it’s always done. If we listen, inspiration is sure to follow.

The traditional Aboriginal land owners of Kakadu in the Northern Territory have kept their ear to the ground, so to speak, forging a deep connection with the land. This is evident through the stories painted on Ubirr’s rock walls, some dating as far back as 50,000 years.


What’s more, the land offers its inhabitants everything they could possibly need in terms of sustenance. For over 60,000 years, Indigenous Australians have made use of ingredients found right here in Kakadu. Yet it is only recently that bush tucker, or bushfood, has started to make waves in the contemporary Australian food scene.

Indigenous rock art ubirr kakady nt

More Than Meets the Eye

Looking out at Kakadu’s rugged natural beauty, some might just take its waterfalls, lush rainforests, rocky gorges and crocodile-filled billabongs at face value, but to the trained eye, there is a wealth of native ingredients available. When visiting Australia's Top End, know that you’re not simply walking through weathered bush landscapes, you’re walking through nature’s pantry.


yellow water cruise kakadu national park nt

Bush Tucker throughout the Ages

Indigenous Australians have been cooking with native flora and fauna for thousands of years. Water lilies with stalks are as fresh and crunchy as celery. Blackcurrants are picked straight from wild shrubs, their vibrant purple hue is also used to dye baskets. Then there's Native Lasiandra or Blue Tongue which thrives here and across northern Australia, whose sweet blue-black berries live up to their name when eaten. 

Blue tongue melastoma affine bush tucker nt

You'll also find Lemon Myrtle that adds an intense flavour to any dish and whole barramundi caught fresh and slowly cooked over hot coals. And some of these ingredients are now increasingly at home on the Australian restaurant scene too. Recently, there has been a real push to embrace Australia’s native ingredients in cooking and incorporating bushfood into contemporary cooking. 


closeup of barramundi fishing catch australia

Ubirr’s Ancient Rock Galleries

In Kakadu it is, of course, the 50,000 years of history splashed upon cave walls that now draws in so many of us. Noted as one of the world’s most spectacular art galleries, Ubirr was home for generations of the Bininj/Mungguyj people. We can learn a great deal from the Indigenous rock art, which depicts scenes from everyday life. On our 17 Day Kimberley and The Top End tour, explore the galleries of this sacred site.


Indigenous rock art turtle ubirr nt

The Lightning Man of Nourlangie Rock

Some of Kakadu National Park’s most famous rock art is located at Nourlangie Rock. There are rock art paintings which have been created as recently as the 1960s, including work by an Indigenous artist, Nayombolmi, also known as Barramundi Charlie. Nayombolmi painted the story of Namarrgon (Lightning Man), the creation ancestor responsible for the lightning storms which hit Kakadu every summer.

Indigenous rock art figure ubirr kakadu nt

Ubirr Lookout
Follow the path beyond Ubirr’s galleries to Ubirr Lookout. Here, gaze over a patchwork of floodplains, woodlands and rainforests. As you look on this ancient land, hear the laughter of the blue-winged kookaburra which locals refer to as “the call of Kakadu”. Ancient history is embedded in Kakadu's landscape. Whether you’re inspired to fill your pantry with native ingredients or search for age-old Indigenous rock art, make the trip to Kakadu with APT

sunrise in kakadu water lillies nt

Need to Know

As part of a remote journey through northern Australia, explore Ubirr’s rock art galleries against the backdrop of Kakadu's timeless landscapes, on the 17 Day Kimberley and the Top End tour. An adventure that takes you from the former pearling capital of Broome, through Kimberley wilderness country and Kakadu National Park, to Darwin.

Stay - Base yourself at three of APT’s exclusive wilderness lodges to experience fully the natural wonders of the Top End. Each lodge is located in seclusion with incredible views, while in Broome, the luxurious Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa plays host.

Cruise - A highlight has to be the short cruises you board across some of the Top End’s most iconic stretches of water. Discover the music, stories and customs of the local Jawoyn people during a Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge Cruise. Keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife and watch landscapes unfold on a Yellow Water Billabong cruise. On day 12, see the sunset over glorious Lake Kununurra and enjoy a barbecue prepared on board.

Do - View Australia’s final frontier from every aspect by air, land and water. A birds-eye view of Mitchell Falls on a helicopter flight is unforgettable. Pull on your boots for a hike to Purnululu National Park’s Echidna Chasm. Journey along the famed Gibb River Road, then wade through cool waters in Dimalurru Tunnel Creek National Park. Last but not least, soak in the thermal hot pools of El Questro’s Zebedee Springs – a natural spa quite unlike any other.