Darwin Via the Gulf June/July 2013 "Day 17, 18 & 19"

Sunday, Jul 07, 2013 at 20:23

D-Max Dave

Day 17.
Arrived at Kakadu today, nice easy drive from Darwin with a stop at the "Bark Hut
Roadhouse" on the Arnhem Hwy, a good place to have a break and meal, we had
Buffalo pies which were nice.
As we drove through the park on the way to our destination Gagudju Lodge Cooinda
camp grounds we passed some of the places we would visit while staying in the park,
they weren't too far apart so we would have enough time to see them.
On our arrival at Gagudju we were allocated a site r had already booked, we followed
the map to our site to find that once set up the kitchen of our camper trailer would be
basically touching the kitchen of another camper trailer already there, not impressed I
spoke to a worker who was assisting campers find there spots, explaining our situation
he understood our concern and found another spot for us where we had a bit more
Once set up we went over to the bigger of the two pools at the lodge, it was a very
nice pool divided into a few sections including a Spa, the boys were straight in, it took
us a little longer, it was very cold.
That night we relaxed after dinner listening to the music coming from the
entertainment area at the restaurant, so far Cooinda seems very nice, but don't forget
the mozzie spray, there are lots of them.

Day 18.
We were going to get up early and go on a guided tour of Ubir Art Site but both our
boys had become unwell with fevers overnight so the early start was cancelled, once
we got up and going we headed off to explore the park, Ubir our first stop.
The drive to Ubir took about an hour and once there we parked and headed of on a
self guided tour of the art sites and lookout.
The Aboriginal art along the walk was great, well preserved and well marked, and the
walk up to the lookout was pretty easy.
Once at the highest point the vies was sensational, 360 degree views of the wetlands,
and countryside.
Returning from Ubir we stopped in at the border cafe for some lunch and a coffee to
go, it a nice little cafe, they also have some Aboriginal Art for sale, a bit rich for us,
some small paintings selling for $1100.00.
From there we headed to Jabiru for a look, what a disappointment, I guess I was
expecting something entirely different.
Jabiru is pretty much a gas station and bakery, a couple of resorts and a lot of ex
Uranium mine houses, oh and a lake you cant swim in.
On the road again we stopped at the Bowali visitor centre, not a bad spot to learn
about the aboriginal culture, get a drink, and some info about attractions and tours in
the area.
Next stop Nourangie Rock down the road a few kilometres, the walk around the rock
is a couple of kilometres and leads though some interesting and well documented
Aboriginal art to a lookout, from there its a short downhill stroll to the car park.
We had hoped to go to Jim Jim or Twin Falls but unfortunately the road to them was
closed, our last stop for the day was the Warradjin visitor centre only a couple of k
from our campsite, it was also an informative spot to spend a little while in, it is right
next to Yellow Water which we will see tomorrow, along with a waterfall and gorge at
Majuk down the road a few k.
All in all a really nice day, a bit of exercise as well so we should all sleep well tonight.

Day 19.
Headed off this morning to see Maguk (Barramundi gorge) about 40k out of Cooinda
towards Pine Creek, when you turn off the main road onto the track to the gorge it
10k. In.
The track in was pretty rough in parts, some of the worst corrugations we have
experienced this trip, thank goodness it was only a short distance.
Once at the car park you start the walk which takes you along some boardwalks and
sandy tracks through some pretty dense forrest to a rock pool where you can swim ( if
your game), along the path we saw many Croc danger signs, then all of a sudden it
was safe apparently.
Anyway it was a nice spot to visit, and not to hard a walk, except for some spots
where you have to clamber of granite rocks that are coated with fine sand making
them a bit slippery, the return trip took about an hour.
We had a picnic lunch at the car park, there was one picnic table and it a bit close to
the only toilet there which was a bit smelly, but it was in the shade and somewhere to

On our return to Cooinda we stopped in at Yellow Water for a look but unfortunately
there car park was overflowing and there was no where to park, we decided to have a
look later on.
After a rest and a snack at camp we headed back to Yellow Water, got a park this time
and headed off to do the walk along the boardwalk only to find that instead of being
the advertised 1.2kl it had been all but completely closed and was only couple of
hundred meters. It was a nice glimpse of Yellow Water but a shame we could do the
entire walk.
We did see a croc cruising not too far off shore, but after seeing them close up on The
Jumping Croc Cruise it was not too exciting.
We decided to treat ourselves for our last night in Kakadu and have dinner at the
resort restaurant, having looked at the menu earlier it looked really nice.
Dinner turned out to be just OK considering the price, the food was almost all
overcooked, the most disappointing was the entrée taste platter which had Roo,
Buffalo, Barrumundi and Crocodile, it should have been a great experience, instead it
was tough and tasteless.
The other thing that I thought was a little disappointing was the fact that there were
no kids meals listed on the menu which meant that you had to pay $30.00 for a fish
and chip meal for a 9 y/o, if it wasn’t for a bloke in front of me ordering kids meals
telling me that if you don’t ask especially you don’t get them we would have not
All in all we have mixed feeling about Kakadu, it is a little too commercialized, and too
expensive for your average family, mainly because choice is limited I guess.
There are certainly some amazing things to see and do there but for us as a family of
four to do all the tours etc would have blown our budget sky high.
Highlights for us were Ubir Art sites and lookout, and Barrumundi Gorge.
As for Cooinda lodge, it was very busy, expensive, amenities we poorly maintained,
and the restaurant was expensive with limited choice, on the positive side its well
positioned to see most of the sights in the park.
Jabiru township was a surprise, for some reason we expected the town to be more
geared up for tourists, its not, there is nothing there but a bakery and a petrol station,
the lady at one of the visitor centre's in the park told us that lots of people are
shocked when they go there.
Anyway it was good to see it all for ourselves, tomorrow we are off to Katherine Gorge
for a couple of nights.
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