The plains of Africa are off the cards, but this NT tour guide is reminding us about the wonder of Kakadu NP
While floating in the middle of a croc-laden river might not be the scenario one associates with care-free serenity, it's bliss for tour guide Dennis Miller.Sitting on his boat in Kakadu's Yellow Water Billabong at sunrise, Dennis is at peace and wondering: could croc country be the safest place in the world right now?
Kakadu National Park has been off-limits since the coronavirus pandemic broke.(ABC Open Contributor Heath Whiley)"Come to the Northern Territory, it's the safest place on earth, we've got everything for you, and we're just waiting," says Dennis, talking to the ABC from his boat.
But while Kakadu National Park remainsclosed to the public until at least June 18 under coronavirus restrictions, and tourists remain locked out of the Northern Territory under strict border controls, Dennis says the lack of tourism means guides, and even the crocs, are getting lonely.
"The crocodiles are smiling, the whistle ducks are whistling, and they're waiting for the tourists to come," he says."We'd love to have you here in this beautiful spot when it ops."'The world wants to come to Kakadu'
LoadingAt this time of year in Kakadu's serene wetlands, Dennis says up to seven cruises a day with groups from all over Australia and across the world would usually depart for the famous Yellow Water Cruise."It's beautiful at all times of the day, but sunrise is special: with the sun coming up behind the escarpment, hitting the water and the colour," Dennis says.
"The sunset, too, when you get the reflections on the trees there and the colour really comes out."In the Northern Territory, the floodplain, the river system, all those ecosystems connected together [you see] on the cruise. It's the only place in the Territory that has all these environments; all the birds and the crocodiles all in one."
But with no tourists to entertain, Dennis, one of the most popular guides on Kakadu's waterways, says he remains hard at work in the park."There's lots to do getting the boats ready and the hotel ready for the tourists when they get here as well," he says.
Stephen Mills, the tours manager at Kakadu Tourism, believes Kakadu will remain well-visited by tourists when border restrictions lift in the Territory."When you have scenery like this, you can understand why the world wants to come to Kakadu," Stephen says.
Read more about coronavirus:A look at what recovery looks like in Australia since we began lifting restrictions"[It's] one of the richest cultural areas in Australia. 65,000 years the Indigenous people have lived here continuously."There are hundreds of crocs, millions of birds, wallabies, the fish life is incredible. It truly is one the wonders of the world."
'Once the borders open, we'll be ready'Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume. Read more: ABC News »
Aust has some amazing tourist spots.
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