Travelling Australia - Journal 2013
June 2013

Window on the Wetlands
location map
Window on the Wetlands is a display centre on a hill overlooking the Arnhem Highway between Darwin and Kakadu. The centre, operated by the Northern Territory Government, provides visitors with background explanation of many features of the wetlands.

The centre has large windows looking out onto the Adelaide River floodplain; this is reported to be an outstanding vantage point to watch lightning displays during the wet season. During the cool dry season, when much burning off takes place because the fires are less destructive at this season, the view from the windows is more smoke and haze.
window on the wetlands
Window on the Wetlands centre overlooking the wetlands and the Arnhem Highway

Admission is free. Displays deal with many of features of wetlands life; such as termite mounds, crocodiles, buffalo, the Humpty Doo Rice scheme, and changes in the wetlands.

Among the displays is one explaining recent major changes to the wetlands. The wetlands are nearly flat with salt water from the ocean on one side and fresh water from rivers on the other. Over a period of time natural levees formed to keep the two water bodies apart; paperbark forests and floodplain grasslands trees thrived in the freshwater. When the buffalo was introduced to Australia this changed; large number of feral buffaloes trampled the natural levees and contributed to their destruction. With the natural levees no longer keeping the salt water out, extensive areas of paperbark forest and grassland were killed by saltwater in the Mary River region.

To restore the floodplain, vegetation barrages were built across newly formed tidal channels to stop salt water advancing inland. In the wet season fresh water flows over and around these barrages and into the sea. Feral buffaloes were eradicated as part of the brucellosis and tuberculosis eradication campaign. Now only domesticated buffalo and cattle graze behind fences on the floodplain.

Paperbark forests and grasslands are regrowing.

GPS Position - 12° 38' 58.7"S, 131° 19' 04.6"E