The Kakadu National Park is a alive with cultural significance, promising visitors the chance to dive back in time and learn all about the unique Aboriginal history that is imbued in the landscape.
Ubirr Rock is one of the most popular locations because of its extensive collection of centuries-old rock art. Here, you can visit one of the two major rock formations in Kakadu and discover traditional stories to gain an insight into the lives of the local Aboriginal people.
Boasting three prominent galleries, the site is easily reached via a 1-kilometre circular walking track that leads up a modest 250 metre track to an observation point that looks out across the surrounding floodplains. To experience the landscape at its best, visit during the sunset, which bathes the picturesque scenery into a milky glow before darkness falls.
In the Main Gallery, the most popular viewing spot, you’ll be exposed to numerous age-old artistic representations of the animals that the Aboriginal people hunted in a ritual that pays respect to the creatures for giving their lives for future success.
This gallery is also filled with what’s known as “X-ray art”, as well as images of white men and Mimi spirits that are so skinny that they are thought to be able to slip in and out of the cracks in the surrounding rock. There has been much debate about how the artists managed to even get to these parts of the rock to paint the Mimi spirits, but it’s thought that the spirits painted the pictures themselves, bringing the rock down to an accessible ground level to do just that.
At one end of this gallery, you’ll see a painting of a Tasmanian tiger which has been extinct from the region for more than 2,000 years and shows just how old some of the paintings on the rock are.
In the other galleries, you can marvel at important Dreamtime ancestors that have been immortalised on the walls, including the Namarrgarn Sisters and a magnificent Rainbow Serpent.
How to Get to Ubirr
Walking to Ubirr takes around an hour along a pretty 1-kilometre track that takes you directly from the carpark to the rock formation itself. Allow an extra 30 minutes to climb to the lookout – however, if you’re visiting in the summer months, access to this part of the area is restricted. It’s best to check in with the Bowali Visitor Centre for the latest information.