Destinations Magazine

Nourlangie: An Amazing Australian Rock Art Site

By Monkeys And Mountains Adventure @Laurel_Robbins

Nourlangie Rock Art Site in Kakadu National Park is some of the most amazing rock art I’ve ever seen.  And yet I don’t understand most of it.  Nor am I supposed to.  Most non-Aboriginals see Aboriginal art work through the eyes of the child, only grasping the meaning at a very high level, not understanding all the depths and insights it provides into Aboriginal culture.  Aboriginals are reluctant to share the meaning, it’s a respect that has to be earned.  Something that is not possible during an hour-long tour.  So with my child-like eyes I show you Aboriginal Rock Art from Nourlangie:
Nourlangie Rock Art SiteThis is one of the most famous rock art paintings at Nourlangie.  The guy in the middle is the Creation Ancestor Namonjok.  The guy on the right is Ancestor Namarrgon – the Lightening Man.

Nourlangie Rock Art Site

Even with my very limited knowledge about Aboriginal Art, it was clear to see whether a male or female was depicted in the paintings.

Mourlangie Rock Art Site
Wallabies and kangaroos are also featured prominently in the art work.  And while I assumed the above 2 paintings were part of the same story, they were painted years apart.
Nourlangie Rock Art Site
My favorites were of the kangaroos and wallabies.  At least I knew what the story was about – even if it was only on a very surface level.

It was fascinating to get a glimpse into a world that I don’t understand, nor am I intended to understand.  In a world where a quick search in Google can help us understand so much, perhaps that’s the lesson that non-Aboriginals are supposed to gain from visiting Nourlangie – You will never understand everything, nor are you intended to.

Know Before You Got to Nourlangie Rock Art Site:

  • Nourlangie Rock Art Site is located ~250km east of Darwin
  • It’s open from 8:00 am – sunset
  • Guided ranger talks are available April – October (which I would highly recommend – you’ll get a lot more out of it)
  • Self guided tours are available all year long
  • The path is 1.5km long and takes about an hour
  • Contact Tourism Northern Territory for further info


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