How to Explore the Ancient Art at Ubirr Rock

Ubirr Rock can be found in the North-East section of Kakadu, near the Alligator River. Here, the land encompasses three different habitats, giving it a diverse selection of wildlife and an impressive array of scenery to soak up. But the region is best known for its ancient collection of rock art, which stems back thousands and thousands of years.

When exploring the area, you’ll get to experience some of the most detailed rock art paintings in the country and learn more about the people who made them.

The Rock Art at Ubirr

There are three main galleries of rock art at Ubirr, which showcase a selection of ancient paintings in all different shapes, sizes, and colours. At any of the spots, a ranger (most of which are Aboriginal), will be able to provide you with more information about the artworks and regularly give tours on the history of the paintings.

A lot of the art here depicts native animals, including catfish, long-necked turtles, possums, wallabies, and barramundi. In the main gallery, which also happens to be the most popular, there is a collection of what is known as “X-ray art”, as well as portrayals of white men and Mimi spirits – the latter of which has caused some confusion over the years. The paintings of the Mimi spirits appear to be too high to be able to reach, so it is thought that the Mimi spirits painted the artworks themselves, bringing the rock down to ground level in order to be able to reach that high.

In one corner of the north gallery, there is a depiction of a Tasmanian tiger, an animal that has been extinct in the area for around 2,000, which just shows how old these paintings really are.

Walks at Ubirr

Though the rock art is the main reason visitors head to Ubirr, it’s not the only thing to see in the area. In fact, the surrounding scenery is absolutely stunning, and lends itself to a number of walks that allow you to get up close and personal with the local wildlife.

There is a 1km circular route that begins at Ubirr and takes in the Aboriginal art sites. The walk begins from the carpark and leisurely meanders to the main gallery and the other art sites in the area. A second walk, the Sandstone and River Bushwalk, is longer at around 6.5km. It takes in jaw-dropping views of Cat Fish Creek, the East Alligator River, and the billabongs, rock formations, and floodplains of Kakadu.