A Travellerspoint blog

Day 32 Kakadu to Adelaide River

sunny 31 °C

Day 32
After leaving our campspot for the past 2 nights at Malabanjbanjdju we drove to the Jabiru turnoff where we waited till Pommy Bob went into town to refuel.
We drove on till we reached South Alligator River Roadhouse where we had morning tea and a walk to have a look at the local billabong. There were many birds on the water and on the viewing platform was a water monitor.
Onwards to The Bark Hut Inn on the Mary River. We had lunch here and a look around the shop etc.
The next stop was at The Adelaide River, Jumping Croc centre. No-one wanted to go on a river cruise which is just as well as the boat left 15 minutes before we arrived here.
Just a few km down the road is a very good interpretive centre – The Windows on the Wetlands. We spent some time here looking out across the landscape and enjoying the air-conditioning. There were many birds in the water including some Jabiru which we haven’t seen before on this trip.
We continued on for another 1 km to our home for the night, A rest area called Beatrice Hill.

Posted by Hiroes 23:46 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 31 In Kakadu National Park including Ubirr

sunny 33 °C

Day 31
This morning there were 2 young ladies camped not very far from us. I suggested to Pommy Bob he might go over and ask if one of them would like to join him in his travels. Well, as it happens, one of the ladies was Dutch and was going home in 2 weeks time; the other wasn’t Dutch and was looking for a travelling companion. Bob said that she would scare off wild pigs so he did a quick exit and that was the end of that adventure.
We travelled back out to Nourlangie Rock to have a further look. There were more Rock Art paintings to look at as well as a lookout (Gun-warddehwardde), where the feather of Namanjolg can be seen. The story goes that Namanjolg and his sister spent the night high up on the cliff top. This was against custom (brothers and sisters), and in the morning, the sister ripped the feather out of Namanjolg’s hair (a sign of his manhood), and threw it off the clifftop to indicate that he had done something wrong. This feather landed half way down the cliff on a ledge and can now be seen by everyone as a reminder of what is right and wrong.
While we were walking around we saw a black rock wallaby and he posed for us.
While we were walking, a tour bus operator was explaining about the dangerous spirit “Nabulwinjbulwin” who eats women after striking them with a yam.2012_Aug_1..in_sign.jpg
We returned to the vans for morning tea and to charge up batteries.
After lunch we drove out to Ubirr, (pronounced oobeer), where there is another lot of rock art. We stopped at the Border Store and had an icecream each before going to look at the art. We also had a brief stop at the East Alligator River where there were fishermen trying to catch barramundi.
The rock art here at Ubirr is pretty similar to that at Nourlangie except that there is much more. We climbed up to the top of a lookout to view the magnificent, breathtaking views across the wetland.
After descending from our climb we went to listen to a ranger speak about the Rainbow Serpent and about laws. It was most interesting even though it is hard to comprehend all of the fact. The laws relating to who each person can marry are most complicated and we can understand to some degree why they are necessary in small clan groups of people.
We returned to the vans for “Happy Hour” and dinner.

Posted by Hiroes 23:37 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 30 Pine Creek to Kakadu National Park

sunny 32 °C

Day 30

A big day today. Pommy Bob slept in and had to miss out on breakfast. Out first activity was to unhook our van and drive up to a lookout to see what was, the Pine Creek Gold Mine. It is now a huge hole filled with water 135 metres deep. This mine began as a shaft in 1906 and continued this way until 1985 when it became an open cut mine, the results of which can be seen today. During the lifetime of the Pine Creek goldfields, 764,000 ounces of gold were extracted. Around 1885 there were about 200 Europeans and 4000 Chinese working the goldfields.
We had a look at the old steam engine housed in a shed and then at some very large termite mounds.
We left the Stuart Highway and joined the Kakadu Highway and entered the Kakadu National Park (a World Heritage Area) at Mary River Roadhouse paying our $25 each admission fee. This fee although it might seem rather high isn’t so bad when considered as it gives 14 days access plus free guided walks and as many free Ranger talks as you want to take.
We drove on to Gungural Lookout where someone, (think it must have been Bob), suggested that we climb to the top. It was stinking hot but that didn’t deter us brave souls and we eventually reached the top of the climb. The views were AWESOME.
We continued on the track for a while and came upon the South Alligator River. There was no water and no crocodiles, much to Hiroe’s displeasure.
After having lunch we continued on to the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre and managed to come out without having purchased anything. We drove to Malabanjbanjdju Campground which will be our stopping place for tonight and tomorrow.
We unhooked our car and we drove out to Nourlangie Rock for a talk by a Ranger about law, land and family. She was quite interesting to listen to. Took some photos of some of the stunning rock artwork here.
We then drove to Nawurlandja Lookout for a guided walk of the Anbangbang Billabong; there were a lot of ducks, herons, magpie geese, egrets and ibis feeding in or around the water. The Ranger then took us for a sunset photo shoot of Nourlangie Rock; the climb was a bit exhausting however the views were magnificent. The ranger was very good and explained a lot.
There have been many fires up here in the “Top End” which have been lit to remove all dead grass and to promote new growth when the first rains come. Those in the National Park seem to have been better managed with quite a few green areas already and the bush doesn’t seem to have been fired fiercely.
Kakadu National Park covers an area of about 20,000 square kilometres.
Sorry about all of the almost unpronounceable place names but that’s how it is. They are all Aboriginal names. Don’t know what they mean.

Posted by Hiroes 23:25 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

Days 28 and 29

Day 28

We travelled a distance of 40km to Mataranka and after a little necessary shopping we went out to the Mataranka Homestead and the thermal pools there.
We took the mandatory photos of the Elsie Homestead house2012_Aug_1..Replica.jpg2012_Aug_1..mestead.jpg12012_Aug_1..mestead.jpg
We changed into our swimmers and taking the plunge in the thermal pool. It was wonderful. We all came out of the water an hour or so later about 3 kg lighter after all the grit and grime was washed off our bodies.
We drove another 40 km to the King River Rest Area where we camped for the night. A total of just on 100km today. We were joined at the rest area by a large group of people and we had a good campfire tonight. It was a very pleasant evening.

Day 29

We drove into Katherine and after visiting the information centre we stocked up our fridges and cupboards then visited a Laundromat where lots of clothes, bedding, towels etc were washed and dried.
We had lunch then continued north to Edith Falls. We had intended staying here tonight and having a swim this afternoon but, after testing the water temperature we all chickened out.
We drove on the Pine Creek for the night.

Posted by Hiroes 01:19 Comments (0)

Days 26 & 27. Borroloola to Mataranka

sunny 29 °C

Day 26
A picpure of Hiroe paddling in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Watch out for the crocodiles Hiroe
We left Borroloola reasonably early and headed back to Cape Crawford. You probably won’t find it on your maps as it only consists of The Heartbreak Hotel – Nothing else. Well, there were quite a few different birds here including some honey eaters.
After morning tea we continued on to October Creek Rest Area some 99 km west of Cape Crawford where we had lunch. There were a lot of finches waiting to be fed some of our lunch here.
We drove on to Bullwaddy Rest Area where we had planned to spend the night. Some Oil Exploration teams had taken over the area with many trucks and maybe 50 small vehicles. It being Saturday night we thought that the boys might be partying so we drove on another 40 km and found a good gravel pit to spend the night in.
Cousin Susan in the UK (well According to Family Tree Maker we are Second Cousins, but heck!!), cousin Susan has made a comment that her daughter just spent 2 hours in a traffic jam on the M6. Pommy Bob is rather stressed on this trip because of the lack of vehicles on the road. We travelled 345km today and wouldn’t have seen 20 vehicles on the road.
The road is still mainly single track bitumen but only another 50 km will see us join the Stuart Highway and from there to Darwin will be a good wide road.

Day 27
A very quiet night last night and very dark as well. The moon didn’t rise until almost sunrise.
We drove the 50 km into Daly Waters Pub and refuelled. Bob nearly had a heart attack when he saw how much he had to pay.
We had a look at what is left of the Stuart Tree which John McDouall Stuart is supposed to have carved the letter S in when he did his exploration of the area.
Next stop was at the old airfield here. This was the first international airport in Australia and was used to refuel aircraft coming to Australia from the UK via Singapore. They had to have this stop as they were unable to carry enough fuel to get them all the way to Sydney. The airfield was also used as a staging post during World War 2.
We continued on up the Stuart Highway, calling in to have a look at a memorial to Alexander Forrest who came this way from Western Australia looking for the overland telegraph line.
We stopped at Larrimah for lunch and a look around. This is as far as the Northern territory Rail line from Darwin ever reached. During WW2, Military supplies and men had to rail from Port Augusta in South Australia via a 3’6” line to Alice Springs then offload onto trucks onto the dirt road from there to Larrimar and then back onto a 3’6” line to Darwin. During the wet, the road became a quagmire.
We drove on and turned off the highway just 14 km south of Mataranka to have a look at the Elsie Cemetery where the husband of Jeanie Gunn (she wrote the book ‘ We of The Never never’) is buried.
We have camped for the night about 2 km east of the highway on the cemetery road. It’s nice and quiet again.

Posted by Hiroes 00:10 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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