After a long drive and another great workshop in Blackall, we arrived in Kununurra where we left our truck and flew to Darwin to start the Outback workshop with International Artist. Following a couple of days painting in Litchfield National Park we headed out to Kakadu for some painting and exploring. One of the highlights of Kakadu is the Yellow Waters Cruise. We have done it many times and it is always spectacular and always different.

Whistling Ducks  © John Lovett 2019

Whistling Ducks

Jacana Chick  © John Lovett 2019

These Jakana chicks hatch out of the egg with small fluffy bodies and ridiculously over sized feet

Jacana Chick  © John Lovett 2019
Male Jacana  © John Lovett 2019

As they grow the body gets bigger and less fluffy and the legs grow even further out of proportion.

Azure Kingfisher  © John Lovett 2019

Azure Kingfisher

Nankeen Night Heron  © John Lovett 2019

Nankeen Night Heron

Crocodile Smiling  © John Lovett 2019

Deceptively happy looking Crocodile.

Crocodile swimming  © John Lovett 2019

Floating and watching

Crocodile  © John Lovett 2019
Egret  © John Lovett 2019

Large Egret

Egret  © John Lovett 2019
Water Buffalo  © John Lovett 2019

Water Buffalos are starting to breed up again in Kakadu

Yellow Waters © John Lovett 2019

Yellow Waters Sunset

Painting at Anbangbang Billabong
© John Lovett 2019

Painting at Anbangbang Billabong.


We entered Kakadu National Park from the south, via Pine Creek with a 3 day permit to enter Koolpin Gorge. After collecting keys from the ranger station, we bounced our way down the road towards Gunlom. Crossing the South Alligator River, we turned South East to Koolpin.  The road was badly corrugated with some nasty twists and turns.Roll Over - © John Lovett 2015
This poor guy found out the hard way that taking it easy gets you there quicker.

Koolpin - © John Lovett 2015
Koolpin Gorge is a string of waterholes linked by waterfalls in the wet season. The three lower pools are the home to salt water crocodiles, but beyond those it is safe to swim.

Koolpin - © John Lovett 2015
Koolpin - © John Lovett 2015
Walking up through the gorge is spectacular. The track cuts up over the ridge in places with great views of the surrounding country.
Koolpin - © John Lovett 2015

From Koolpin we moved on to Red Lily Billabong. There are no facilities there, and the track in is pretty rough at the moment, so not many people head out that way. We had the place to ourselves. A young couple with a tent called in, and seeing the number of crocs there, decided it wasn’t the place for them.
Red Lilly Billabong - © John Lovett 2015

Red Lilly Billabong - © John Lovett 2015
The billabong is a large expanse of water and covered with huge red water lilies. Lots of bird life and numerous large crocodiles.
Red Lilly Billabong -© John Lovett 2015

Crocodile - © John Lovett 2015

Croc - © John Lovett 2015

Sandy Billabong - © John Lovett 2015
Sandy Billabong is a favourite spot. The early morning light, rising mist and lurking crocodiles make the twisted old paperbarks look kind of creepy .
Sandy Billabong - © John Lovett 2015

Yellow Waters Cruise on Jim Jim Billabong at sunset is one of the highlights of Kakadu. This is the fifth time we have done the cruise and it is always spectacular.
Croc, Jim Jim Creek - © John Lovett 2015

Crocodile - © John Lovett 2015

Sunset - © John Lovett 2015
Afternoon fires turned the setting sun into a glowing red ball.

Sunset Lillies - © John Lovett 2015

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Kakadu Birds                                                 Slide Show Not Working?

Water Buffalo - Kakadu - © John Lovett 2015We saw a number of small herds of water buffalo scattered through Kakadu. They had almost been eliminated but over the past few years are breeding up again.

Bull Catcher - © John Lovett 2015This old landcruiser was used to chase down buffalo back when they were in large numbers.

Kapok Flowers - © John Lovett 2015Kapok Flowers



windjana map

At the southern end of the Gibb River Road is the Napier Range. It is a big chunk of eroded limestone  left over from a, once submerged, coral Reef.


Napier Range at Windjana Gorge


The limestone walls in the gorge have eroded into unusual shaped caves and caverns. There are fossils of ancient marine creatures embedded in many of the limestone walls.



A permanent water course cuts through the Napier Range to form Windjana Gorge. Large drifts of sand, thick vegetation and sheer sided walls make an early morning walk through the gorge pretty spectacular.


Late afternoon is a good time to spot crocodiles. The waterholes are full of reasonably timid fresh water crocs. Occasionally a salty will find it way there after the wet, so swimming is not a good idea.


This old croc lost part of his top jaw in a fight. A common disability with fresh water crocs. We saw the croc below in Kununurra. He has a large piece of his lower jaw missing.




Helpful, informative sign – Windjana National Park.




We arrived back in Darwin, put our vehicle into storage and met Amanda and Gordon, our tour guides, at the Mindil Beach Markets. After wandering  around and watching the sun set into the ocean, we all headed back into the city for dinner.


Monday, the 26 people that form our group got to know each other over drinks on the balmy veranda of the Holiday Inn.


Tuesday, our first painting day,  we headed down to Government House , spread ourselves out on the rolling lawns opposite, and filled in the morning painting under the shade of a banyan tree.


The afternoon was hot, so we found a shady spot opposite our hotel and painted the fringe of vegetation between us and the Arafura Sea


Off to Kakadu and three days at Cooinda Lodge, Our coach driver had a tremendous knowledge of the aboriginal people of the area, having lived and worked with them over the years, He took us around Nourlangie and filled us in on many of the aboriginal customs and beliefs.




Whistling Ducks – Yellow Waters. Except for the fact that these guys are walking around, they are the most artificial looking animal I have ever seen. They don’t  like getting wet either, happy just to stand beside the water.


We watched this Croc cruise past our boat accompanied by a large Barramundi with a death wish.


Red Lillys – It may not look like it, but every bit is edible!


Pair of Jabiru (Male with dark eye)


Cruising Black Cockatoo – they fly slowly in formation like a flock of B52’s on a mission.


Wetland Waterlilies


In the afternoon heat, an old Akubra in front of our lodge was a more comfortable option for a painting subject. Just so things didn’t become too comfortable, we limited ourselves to just two colours.


Home Billabong at Cooinda Lodge was dotted with shady clearings looking across the water – great places to paint.


Home Billabong – Cooinda


If this little fellow hadn’t hopped, we would never have seen him


South Alligator River, meandering across the wetlands


Arnhemland Escarpment


Ranger Uranium Mine


South to Katherine


Gold rush architecture, Pine Creek NT


Another shady Banyan tree, this time in Katherine


Some transparent watercolor washes and a lot of pale Ultramarine Gouache made this demo a lot of fun.


Splashes of Alizarin, ink marks, charcoal pencil lines and fine rigger strokes suggest a lot of complicated detail without being too descriptive.


kakadu map

Random shots of Kakadu National Park taken with Pentax K20D


Rock art – Nourlangie


Kakadu Burn Off – Sigma 10-20mm lens


Under the picturesque backdrop of the Kakadu Escarpment is Ranger Uranium Mine – carefully placed in the middle of a World Heritage National Park


Ranger Uranium Mine –

all very safe, where nothing can go rong wronge ronge wrong


Great Egret – 500mm mirror lens


Nankeen Night Heron – 500mm mirror lens


Jabiru – 18-250 pentax lens


Hovering Egret – 500mm mirror lens


Same Hovering Egret – 500mm mirror lens


White Bellied Sea Eagle full of Barramundi – 18-250 Pentax lens


Cruising Croc  18-250 Pentax Lens


Watching Croc 18-250 Pentax lens


Waiting Croc – 10mm super wide angle just kidding – 500mm mirror Lens


Yellow Waters sunset


Same Yellow Waters Sunset.