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The hot dry weather is coming to an end and here in Kakadu we are in the pre-monsoon season, called Gunumeleng. It's an exciting time of year, called the 'build up' by the locals. The weather is becoming more and more humid and storm clouds roll across our skies most afternoons, although it doesn’t always mean rain.
In our billabongs and wetlands, you can see the waterbirds starting to spread out again as scattered showers bring new growth and more places for them to drink. Take the opportunity to experience the Yellow Water cruise at sunrise or sunset. It's one of the most popular activities at Kakadu - you'll be rewarded with visions of diving birds, crocodiles lying out in the sun and many more unforgettable sights.
Our famous art sites at Ubirr and Nourlangie are easily accessible at this time of year and offer spectacular views of the park landscape, as well as the evocative rock art that depicts Aboriginal life in Kakadu over thousands of years.
Around 150 people made the walk up to Ubirr last week to view the total solar eclipse over Kakadu. There were locals, international visitors and even visitors who came all the way from Melbourne specifically to experience the event in Kakadu National Park - and it didn't disappoint.
The sun appeared on the horizon as a spectacular black disc framed by an orange-pink glow. The eclipse continued to the sounds of brolga and magpie geese on the foggy floodplains.
After the excitement of the celestial event there was more to experience - two rangers had brought joeys they're currently caring for so visitors were treated to some quality time with an agile wallaby and an antilopine wallaroo. Thanks to everyone who joined us for this special event. We're glad you had a good time!
Head over to our Facebook page for more pics.
Boh Boh to our seasonal rangers
No wonder the rangers will miss Ubirr. Check out that sunset!
Kakadu's free ranger-guided walks and talks have wrapped up for the year, and we have said goodbye to this year's seasonal rangers. Some are returning to homes as far afield as Western Australia and Tasmania, while others are off on new travel adventures. All of them hope to return to Kakadu!
Seasonal ranger Emily was amongst those bidding farewell to their favourite Kakadu spots - saying so long to Yellow Water's giant crocs, cheerio to the barrks (black wallaroos) and goodbye to Ubirr's sunsets.
Boh boh to Emily and all the seasonal rangers. Thank you for all the amazing memories you gave our visitors. The free walks and talks start again in May next year - hope to see you then!
Ranger Gary shows the Junior Rangers how to successfully measure a croc
Kakadu's Junior Rangers are an intrepid group of 11 and 12 year olds from nearby schools who get a hands-on taste of ranger work as part of their school curriculum. These young explorers have just received their certificates after a great year of adventures.
The highlight this term was helping to record and release a cheeky ginga (salt water crocodile) that was taking too much interest in people fishing! Needless to say, the children found it a fascinating learning experience.
The students have also been learning about the preservation of Kakadu's rock art. Looking after paintings made by their direct ancestors represents a continuous and ongoing tradition of about 60,000 years. We're proud to think Kakadu's future is in such good hands.
Hatchlings at Field Island, Kakadu National Park | Photo by Ian Morris
When you think about Kakadu, a sandy island is probably not the first image that pops into your mind! The park stretches right up to the coastline at the top of Australia, and includes the important island of Gardangarl or Field Island. The island is vital nesting habitat for the flatback turtle, a vulnerable species in Australia.
Around August each year we embark on a major survey of flatback turtles on the island, generating important data on the health of the species. Staff and volunteers spend 20 nights on the island, watching quietly in the dark to record the turtles as they make their way out of the ocean and up the beach to lay their eggs.
This year more than 70 per cent of the turtles were seen nesting successfully over the survey period - consistent with results over the last five years. The data we're generating will be pivotal in monitoring flatback turtle populations at a regional and national scale. Read staff member Anja's account of this year's monitoring on our blog.
Video: Watch the team in action on Gardangarl (Field Island)
Avoid the heat of the day when walking
It's hot out there at this time of year! We've seen too many people spoil their trip by getting sunburned or dehydrated and we don't want that to happen to you. No matter how lovely our rangers are, it's not much fun being rescued by one.
In a climate like Kakadu's most people need to drink between four and eight litres of water a day. Take two litres per person for even short walks and make sure the little ones drink plenty too - they're at particular risk of dehydration.
Check out our safety information for tips on how to keep your trip drama-free. Rangers and staff at Bowali will always help you out with info on where to grab a drink or find the nearest hotel for a swim.