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 and personal 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, showcasing the evolution of humans and the world around them. Not only that, but they are thought to be one of 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, and is home to hundreds of colourful paintings of animals, people, and weapons, drawing out a fascinating narrative from thousands of years ago.

For the local Aboriginal people who still occupy the area, rock art is known as gunbim. To them, the creation of art using natural materials is a great way to express cultural identity and forge a connection with nature and the surrounding scenery. In fact, the actual act of painting is often considered more important that the resulting artwork itself, which is why many of the ancient pieces have been covered over by newer offerings.

Walk Among the Rock Art

At Nourlangie there are a few rock shelters you can explore, each of which 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 and takes in hundreds of fascinating creations.

Many of the paintings here focus on Aboriginal mythology, an important part of local culture, and their meanings can only be dissected by certain Aboriginal people. Nonetheless, you’ll still be able to get a taste for them thanks to the interpretive signage that’s dotted around the art sites.

  • Anbangbang

    The Anbangbang Shelter is home to the most well-known rock paintings in Kakadu. Here, there are ancient pieces, as well as works that were created as recently 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.

Language »