Exploring Aboriginal Rock Art at Kakadu

The ancient land of Kakadu brings thousands of years of history to the modern day with its natural scenery and eclectic collection of centuries-old rock art. It is one of the most impressive spots to see rock art in Australia, and the artwork has helped it become a World Heritage site.

Some paintings date back 20,000 years, providing one of the longest historical records of any group of people in the entire world.

The most prominent galleries where you can still witness rock art are at Ubirr, Nourlangie, and Nanguluwur. At these spots, there are plenty of pieces to discover and explore, taking you back in time and giving you an insight into how the local indigenous people have lived and evolved over the years.

Though these three sites are the most popular, there are thought to be around 5,000 Aboriginal sites in Kakadu, consisting of shelters complete with stone tools, grindstones, and ceremonial ochre.

What Rock Art Can You See at Kakadu?

The rock shelters around Kakadu provided homes for hundreds of Aboriginal families throughout history, and today you can see etchings of their lives on the walls. Expect to see drawings of the fish and animals that the tribes hunted, including Barramundi, catfish, mullet, turtles, possums, and wallabies.

There’s also plenty of unique X-ray art on show, where you can see animal bones and organs on their exteriors. Elsewhere, you can examine works that show contact with the first buffalo hunters in the 1880s, as well as paintings of the well-known Namarrgarn Sisters – two cunning spirits who are believed to live in the stars and make people sick.

Explore further, and you’ll discover a picture of the Rainbow Serpent that dates back more than 23,000 years, and depicts the powerful “Boss Lady” known to the local Gagudju tribe as Garranga’rrelito.

Kakadu is a haven of history, bringing together centuries upon centuries of local Aboriginal life all in one spot. As you wander around the breath-taking scenery, you’ll get to dig deeper and deeper into the fascinating past that imbues the region, learning more about the traditions of the local tribes, and discovering how life has evolved for them over the centuries.

Keep your eyes peeled for some of the major paintings that flank the sandstone walls of the region as you explore the various different ways of life that characterised the region over time.

Explore the Aboriginal Rock Art on our Kakadu Tour.

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