Hello Everybody, we have arrived back in Adelaide and this means the end of the trip for now.
We have had a fantastic time travelling in Victoria, New South Wales and Northern Territory this year and Western Australia last year. We have only scratched the surface as there is still so much more to see.
For now we have to find work, a house and start saving for the next holiday.
Thank you to our families for your help while we have been away.
Thanks to everyone that has followed us on the trip this year and last year.
Hello Everybody, we were going to go to the Daly River but changed our minds and have gone here instead. (Friday 2nd Oct) It is just shy of 200 Kms south of Darwin and about 74 Kms west inland off the Stuart Highway.
We took the tourist route from Adelaide River and that turned out to be a bit of a giggle. By the time we got to the caravan park, the caravan was a little re-arranged inside as the tourist route although bitumen, was bumpy. Not to worry nothing broken.
We went for a drive this afternoon following the Douglas River along until we came to what they call the Arches. A beautiful rock hole to swim in (if you are game) and rock formations.
This morning we rose early to try and dodge as much heat as possible and drove about 24 Kms through National Park and the privately owned Douglas Station. Once there we walked up and around the rocky hill and then descended down a steep hill to the water hole. It amazes me how these waterholes just seem to pop out of the otherwise flat dry landscape. But of course, when the wet season hits, it is a different place to behold. We then had to make our way back up the steep hill and back to the car. Phew!! Nice spot and only freshwater crocs so good for swimming. Oh, and the only butterfly’s I saw were where we parked the car. 4 all up. 😊
You could also walk along the river a little way.
It was very smoky when we were driving through as they were burning off. The fire just trickles along burning all the underbrush.
DOUGLAS DALY RIVER
We then proceeded to follow a mud map that we received from the caravan park. It took us past a research farm and we then found this beautiful river crossing. The water is so clear and was quite warm.
Another place we would love to re-visit in the cooler months.
Hello Everybody, we have driven south west about 153 Kms to this beautiful park. (Monday 28th) 1500 square kilometres of trees, clear running waterholes, creeks, waterfalls, rivers, swamps and walking trails just to name a few things. You can camp here next to cascading creeks or drive in for the day. Home to the Koongurrunkun, Marranuggu, Werat and Warray Aborigninal people, it is not to be missed.
BAMBOO CREEK TIN MINE
We visited the old tin mine that was started around 1905. Small in scale it run to the 1950’s when the seasonal rains became too much to continue. Not a bad run though! You can see the small stone house they lived in and the hole in the side of the hill where they mined the tin from the ironstone. The mine now is home to many bats. You can see the machinery used to separate the tin where it was then bagged and shipped off for selling. Hard Yakka!
This is where you can camp alongside the cascading creeks. There are 7 camping spots in all. You have to walk to the camp sites, no glamping here folks. Swags and tents only. The area can be closed during the wet season due to flooding and friendly crocodiles.
As you descend down the short walk to the falls you come to see a huge cliff face with the Wangi waterfall running into the deep pool below it. The water is cool as you swim out to the waterfall. There is a smaller waterfall also which I presume becomes one when the wet season is full on. A popular place with easy access. There is a café and free Wifi. Chris did the 1.7 Km loop walk up and around the top of the escarpment and back down the other side.
When you think of a swamp you don’t always conjure up the prettiest picture. But this was really pretty. So green and lots of bird life. There is a 39 Kms track you can do over several days in the dry season if you wish. Not for the faint hearted.
We could only imagine how magnificent this would be to see in the wet season. It was pretty cool even now. You get to look way down to the gorge below to see where the falls hit the big pool and flow on down the creek. The gorge is home to a protected and rare species of bat, so you cannot go to the gorge. From here you can also look out and across the national park below.
We took a drive out here to see the ruins of the homestead built in 1929 by the Sergeant Family. They had 14 children and lived here until the mid-1960’s. We didn’t quite make it to the ruins as we came across a river crossing that was probably ok to cross but when you are on your own, not always a good idea. Nice drive though!
An extremely popular spot for locals and tourists. It is school holidays here at the moment, so it was a little busy. You walk down along the hillside for a bit and then make your way down the 135 stairs to the bottom. You make your way along the path till you get to the deep pool. Two waterfalls are running into the pool, keeping it cool and refreshing. There are some large rocks in the pool to sit on or you can just float around enjoying the awesome cliff face and fauna. Sorry no photos.
As the title suggests a series of rock holes as they step down the flowing creek. You have to watch your foot work here as the rocks can get a little slippery. Some of the pools are deep and make it fun for jumping into. An easy walk down from the car park, making it another popular spot. A picnic area is available with shade. Sorry no photos, it is a little hard to look after the camera when you are swimming. Feel free to google.
MAGNETIC TERMITE MOUNDS
The mounds are built north to south. They build their mounds on a north-south axis for maximum solar absorption. The mounds look like giant headstones and are quite extraordinary and haunting like a graveyard. There is also the cathedral mounds that you see dotted around the NT, but these are quite tall.
We could easily come back here to Litchfield and explore lots more, but maybe in the cooler months.
Hello Everybody, now I have internet, we can catch up. We have arrived back in Darwin (Thursday 24th) to have another look around as we did enjoy it the first time around. We chose to stay at Coolalinga Caravan Park this time. New owners have just taken over and although an old park it is huge. Lots of room for potential. It already has a great pool and beautiful trees.
We drove out to Manton Dam. Built in 1942, the dam was a reliable water source for Darwin. Now it is used for recreational purposes such as fishing, boating, jet-skiing and has a large picnic area. It is not advised to swim as yes, the crocodiles like it here too. There are also large flocks of Magpie Geese on and around the water.
We arose earlyish on Saturday 26th and took ourselves off the Parap Markets. Chris enjoyed a nice Pho noodle soup and I had a delicious crepe with apricots and slivered almonds. We washed them down with freshly squeezed fruit juices. Genuinely nice! There is fruit and veg available to buy as well as jewellery, rugs, clothing and the list goes on.
We revisited Nightcliff and found lots more people fishing off the jetty today and successfully. Beautiful spot.
Howard Springs Nature Park has been a recreational venue for the people of Darwin since World War II. Settlement of the suburb began in 1864. In 1939, Howard Springs was the first major water supply area to service Darwin. Later Manton Dam supplied water to Darwin. A popular spot for kids parties as there is a great wading pool and lots of picnic areas. You can follow the track into the rainforests to see the spring that feeds the pool. The pool has turtles and various fish.
We spent our last afternoon in Darwin at the cove. It has many crocodiles obviously but also has Rays and fish. People can hope in a tank and get up close with the crocodiles if they choose. Most of these Crocs have been brought from areas where they were becoming a danger. The Sting Rays were really amazing to watch as they were fed. We both got to hold a 2-year-old crocodile which was really cool. (no photo as this cost $$$) We then had a refreshing brewed beer at the pub across the road.
Hello Everybody, We have driven about 131 Kms west of Darwin to Dundee Beach. It is a well-known fishing spot for the locals and one we would recommend. Beautiful beaches (swimming not recommended) and a lodge that does good meals and friendly service. We relaxed in the pool and went fishing (of course). Chris was lucky enough to catch one. A catfish. Tasted good! You can hire boats and go out by yourself or you can go on a fishing charter. Or you can fish off the shore as we did.
The beach really is nice. Pity about the 3 resident crocodiles. 🙂
When we first arrived, there was a fire, but they soon had it under control. It was not in the park but just behind in some scrub.
We had some thunder and lightning and it made for some spectacular clouds.
I will do a little mention of the March flies and Midges. Be prepared. 😦
Hello Everybody. We have driven about 256 Kms east from Darwin to Jabiru which is in the Kakadu National Park. The town of Jabiru was originally set up back in 1982 as a closed town to house the community living at Jabiru East near the Ranger Uranium Mine eight kilometres away. Kakadu National Park covers an area of 19,804 km². Well known for its wetlands, waterfalls and stunning sandstone cliffs.
Within in the East Alligator region of the Kakadu National Park you will find Ubirr. A rock formation well known for its rock art. The art depicts traditional foods and tells stories about law and creation, some being up to 20,000 years old. It is an easy walk and at the end you get to climb a rock formation which takes you above the wetlands below. It was so green. Stunning.
The rock formations here are beautiful. Layer upon layer upon layer!
Then there came the view. Wow!!
A pleasant if not smelly walk through the mangroves alongside the river. The smelly part is the bats that live in the trees above. There were lots of them but once you got past that part of the walk it was pleasant and shady. There were birds and lizards and viewing platforms to see the river.
This is a road crossing over the Alligator River when the tide is low. When the sea from Van Diemen Gulf reaches high tide, it sends water down the river and with the tide comes the fish. With the fish comes the crocodiles and with the crocodiles come the people. Some people fish while the tide is coming in as the barramundi are plentiful. I counted 34 crocodiles at one point, but they were still coming after that.
There is lots more to Kakadu than what I have shown you but some things are not open due to corona and the time of the year. If you want to come visit, June, July and August are you best months. It has been a constant 38° C here. Love the pool.
Hello Everybody. Yes, we have made it to the top end (Tuesday 8th). Darwin is about 3032 Kms from Adelaide. It is the capital of Northern Territory and situated on the Timor Sea.
We have been checking out the city and surrounds. Darwin waterfront precinct offers views of the sea, restaurants, and hotels. We have been to Cullen Bay, Nightcliff jetty and the Casuarina beach. We were even brave enough to put our feet in the water here.
DARWIN MILITARY MUSEUM
We also went to the East Point Reserve as this is where the Darwin Military Museum is. Darwin was first bombed on the 19th of February 1942 by the Japanese. They were bombed a total of 64 times. It is an interesting way to spend a couple of hours and it has information on other wars as well. You can also go outside to see the big guns, tanks and trucks.
We have been on a boat tour (Friday 11th) on the Adelaide River to see the crocodiles up close as well as some beautiful Black Kites and Whistling Kites. The crocodiles are amazing and beautiful. The two big males are Dominator and Brutus. They are 75 and 80 years in age, respectively. They each have their own territories and will fight other males to keep it. Brutus only has about 2 teeth now, even though crocodiles regenerate teeth. He also has lots of battles scars. The female crocodiles were plentiful but are very wary of the males. It was great to see them so close and hear the thud of their jaws closing as they reach for the food. Lots of photos 🙂
The Black Kites and Whistling Kites are numerous and very precise at picking food out of the water while dodging the crocs. Shaun was our guide and has was informative and obviously loves what he does. Well worth doing if you are ever up this way.
MUSEUM AND ART GALLERY (MAGNT)
To be honest we went here to see Sweetheart. A 5.1 metre crocodile that unfortunately died when they were trying to re-locate him back in the 70’s. He was an amazing size. The rest of the museum and art gallery is very good and diverse in what you can see. I would recommend a visit.
MINDIL BEACH CASINO
After dinner we thought we would go and make our millions. Didn’t quite go to plan be we have some fun and I think we broke even. Lots more people than we expected but still room to move.
Today (Sun 13th) we set off to Berry Springs. It is only about 48 Kms south of Darwin. If you ever decide to come for a visit, take a picnic lunch as there is plenty of green grass and shade. The springs themselves are a refreshing welcome from the heat and with an upper and lower pool, there is lots of room for everyone. The waterfall is small enough to sit under and get a nice shoulder massage. Sorry everyone, no photos but google if you wish.
MINDIL BEACH SUNSET MARKETS
This afternoon we went to the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. If you are hungry this is the place to go! Lots of food from lots of cultures. Crafts, clothing and music to set the scene. As the sun goes down everyone walks onto the shore and watches the sun setting in the distance. The markets start at 4pm and goes to 9pm. Plenty of time to shop or eat. We did both.
GEORGE BROWN DARWIN BOTANIC GARDENS
Today (Mon 14th) we took a stroll around the gardens. The gardens were renamed after George Brown in 2002 in recognition of 32 years’ service. They have a community garden growing fruit and vegetables. There are lots of tropical plants as you would expect and some magnificent trees. One of which houses George the python. We actually walked under this particular tree and did not see him. It wasn’t until Hazel pointed him out to us that we saw him. He lives here all the time and is enormous.
It was really great to catch up with friend and previous work colleague Hazel. Hazel moved to Darwin 10 years ago and we had lots to catch up on. 😊
Hello Everybody. A little oasis in the middle of Australia NT. I am guessing there are a few but this is the first one for me. Edith Falls is a beautiful place for swimming and walking. The surrounds are kept really green and there is lots of shade for camping. Which is good as there is no power so no air conditioning.
There were lots of bird life and Chris captured these 3 birds.
Edith Falls (Leliyn to the Jawoyn people) is about 40 Kms north of Katherine and then 20 Kms east inland. Edith is a sister to Katherine and the daughters of James Chambers as I mentioned in my last blog. It is in the Nitmiluk National Park and consists of beautiful waterfalls and 3 swimming pools/lakes surround by trees and boulders. The Lower Pool is just a short walk from the campgrounds and is huge. Very refreshing, but we did get a nip from an over zealous fish.
The Upper Pool is about a 2 Km climb up a steep rocky hill but really worth it.
We went early in the morning and it was so tranquil.
The third pool is the Sweetwater Pool. We did not go to this one as it was too hot.
Hello Everybody. We arrived in Katherine on Thursday 3rd and found a nice shady caravan park to stay in. Katherine is about 320 Kms south of Darwin. It is quite a big town. I know this because it has a Maccas! A very tidy and friendly town.
John Mcdouall Stuart, (it is the Stuart Highway you travel on from Port Augusta SA to Darwin NT) was best friends with James Chambers who funded 5 of Stuart’s northern expeditions. Katherine is named after one of Chambers daughters. The Jawoyn people call it Nitmiluk. It means Cicada place.
Today (Friday) we set off at 0715 to the Katherine Gorge to have a bit of a walk.
After about an hour we got to Paddy’s Lookout. You can look out over the gorge and down to the water from the rock ledge. Quite breathtaking.
It was pretty warm by now and we headed off for Jedda’s Rock. Another stunning look out and you can see canoes and touring boats in the water below. We then followed the track down and around and ended up going around in circles. They are working on all the trails and the signs are no longer correct, so it got a little tricky. Anyway, with the help of a couple of other walkers we started our journey back
It was really bloody hot by this time and the heat coming off the ground was incredible. After 11 Kms of walking I was feeling a little off, so Christopher, bless his little cotton socks, walked the last 2 Kms and got the ranger to come an collect me in the Land-cruiser. Phew!!
A nice walk on a cooler day maybe…
This morning we went for a walk down to the Katherine River. It is a short walk from the park and really pretty.
We then took another short stroll to the hot springs about 350 meters down the path. These hot springs have little waterfalls and are a little cooler than the ones at Mataranka, especially the refreshing bottom pool. No photos. Peoples privacy. 😊
KATHERINE GORGE BOAT TOUR
Today (actually today!) we went on a boat tour down the Katherine Gorge. It was a two hour journey with a short walk in between two gorges. Many photos to enjoy.
This rock gets its name from a 1955 Australian movie ‘Jedda’. It was the first movie to star two aboriginal people as the leads. The movie is about the life of Jedda as she moves from living with a white family in the NT and then moving back into tribal life for love. And a stunning rock it is too. As I mentioned earlier, we walked here yesterday and had a view from the top down.
More photos of our tour.
The red buoy you see in the photo above is to help detect salt water crocodiles. The crocodiles will bite the buoys to see if they are edible. If the rangers can see teeth marks in a buoy, it is time to catch a crocodile and re-locate. This will occur more in the wet season when they can move more freely from gorge to gorge. In 1998 they had such a good wet season that the town of Katherine was 3 meters deep in water. They found a salt water croc in the butcher shop!
FRESH WATER CROCODILE
Wahoo, our first sighting of a crocodile. We were lucky enough to see a freshwater crocodile sitting on a rock sunning itself as we were leaving to come back to dock. This is actually 3 different photos, but it sat so still like a statue, you would think it is the same photo.
They are very timid and will avoid people when they can. With a smaller narrower jaw, they like to swallow their food whole, so that is all the better for us.
WELCOME BACK WALLABY
This little mum was here to welcome us back when we returned from our tour. She has a joey in her pouch.
Hello Everybody. We arrived here on Sunday 30th of August. (Happy Birthday Zack xx) We have not had the luxury of the internet lately, hence the lateness of the blog.
Mataranka is approx. 360 Kms south of Darwin. It is the traditional country of the Mangarayi and Yangman Aboriginal people. If you know your Aussie movies this is the place where ‘We of the Never Never’ all began. The home of Aeneas and Jeannie Gunn, Jeannie wrote the book from which the film is based. The house we got to see is just a replica of the original.
We have managed to drag ourselves to the local thermal pool on several occasions now. It is clear with a tinge of blue as the water is at a constant 34° C. The pool is fed from Rainbow Springs which produces 30.5 million litres every day. Surrounded by palms it is really nice. There is another pool called ‘Steve’s Pool’ but this is no longer open for swimming and is just over a 1 Km walk from caravan park. You can still picnic there if you wish, but I would keep an eye out for the local crocodiles.
Tonight, we went and listened to a country/old time singer. And then we got to watch Nathan Griggs who is a whip cracker. He is in the Guinness Book of records for the most cracks of a whip in minute. Fairly good and some good entertainment.
ELSEY NATIONAL PARK
Today (1st Sept.) we went into the Elsey National Park. There are a few things to look at along the way, the first being the Aboriginal Army Camp. This was set up by the Native Affairs Branch in Darwin in early 1942. To ensure the natives were safe from Japanese bombings in Darwin, they were moved here. They helped greatly by working on the new airstrip, timber carting and orderly’s in the hospital just to name a few jobs. Not much left now.
There are lots of little stops as you follow along the Roper River. We were lucky enough to not to see any crocs, but we did see a big black pig. We let him have right of way and if your lucky you can spot the back of him in the photo below. The river has a launching area for a boat if you wish to fish and we saw some swimming around.
The next two photos were a beautiful part of the river. You could walk out onto the rocks, whilst keeping a keen eye out!
This afternoon we visited the Bitter Springs. It is another thermal pool just up the road but a lot bigger and very natural. It has quite a strong current and lots of logs. Sorry no photos. On the way home we saw another pig and lots of little piglets. Really!
Here are some photos that Chris took of the birds in the park we were staying at.
CANE TOAD. 😦 they come out at night. Ick!
Man-made this termite mound is found in the town of Mataranka and explains all about the little critters. 🙂