The Impressive Rock Art at Nourlangie

Kakadu National Park in Northern Australia is a hub of history and nature. Sprawling out in a flurry of greenery, ancient walkways, and incredible views, it is best known for its collection of rock art, which spans back 20,000 years or more.

Throughout the park, there is the opportunity to get up close with centuries-old creative works that are etched on crumbling shelters and soaring rock formations. They each document a different story or era in Aboriginal life. They showcase the evolution of humans and the world around them. Not only that, but they are the longest surviving historical records of any group of people in the world.

Nourlangie is one of the most popular rock art spots in the national park. It is home to hundreds of colourful paintings of animals, people, and weapons. The art here draws out a fascinating narrative from thousands of years ago.

The local Aboriginal people know these artworks as gunbim. To them, the creation of art using natural materials is a great way to express cultural identity. This art helps forge a connection with nature and their surrounds. In fact, the actual act of painting is often considered more important that the resulting artwork itself. You can see this in the way many older paintings have new paintings over them.

Walk Among the Rock Art

At Nourlangie there are a few rock shelters you can explore. Each is home to its own collection of colourful artwork. You can walk the circular route connecting them all up, which is about 1.5km long. Take your time to truly enjoy these fascinating creations.

Many of the paintings here focus on Aboriginal beliefs, an important part of local culture. Many of the stories are only for the initiated and remain sacred for Indigenous people. Nonetheless, you’ll still be able to get a taste for them thanks to the interpretive signage around the art sites.

  • Anbangbang

    The Anbangbang Shelter is home to the most well-known rock paintings in Kakadu. Here, there are ancient pieces, and works as young as 1964. You’ll find plenty of paintings documenting Mimih spirits here, as well as other prominent figures in Aboriginal mythology.

  • Nangawulurr

    Situated to the west of Nourlangie, this shelter is reachable through the wetlands that surround the region. Here, there are plenty of pictures of spirits and animals, created with styled hand stencils.

Explore the Kakadu National Park Tour today.

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