Aussie Adventures 2015-The Top End

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 21:07

Member - Muncey 72

Friday 15th May only 110kms today, a nice short drive and we arrive in Katherine staying at the Boab caravan park where funnily enough we see our first Boab tree. The park is quite small and we have a small site in the back corner of the park. In the house behind us outside the park, the cops and ambulances were regular visitors. Chose this park via the comments on Wiki Camps!
Whilst staying in Katherine we visited the museum which was really good, they had a really interesting video on the floods in Katherine in 1998. The river peaked at 20 metres. We went and watched the Katherine Crocs v Cops rugby game at a local sporting club which was a laugh. On the Sunday we went on the 3 gorge tour up the Katherine River. As you hop on board you get a bottle of water, a cookie and some banana bread bonus. Saw our first Freshwater Croc which was exciting they just looked like logs sat there. The tour itself takes you up stream, you change boats twice as you go further into the gorges. We saw some Jawoyn (Aboriginal) rock paintings believed to be 10,000 plus years old. The actual paintings were very good and our guide Dan was a wealth of knowledge. The rock formations as we travelled through the gorge were fascinating. After we got to the 3 gorge we hopped out the boat and done a short walk the swimming hole called the lily ponds. Here we had a swim and stood under the waterfall it was very refreshing and the ambience was unreal. We ended up seeing 6 Freshwater crocs at the end of the day and would definitely recommend this tour.
After the tour we cooled off in the park swimming pool and had lunch. Woke next day to find the car covered in bat poo those bats must have been having there AGM in the tree above the car. Packed up and done the short drive to Edith Falls 60 kms up the road. $30 a night no power here but BBQ’s and hot showers. Got set up then walked down to the falls, wow they were beautiful had a swim the done the walk up to the lookout and the upper pool. This was even better, crystal clear water with a number of different pools to cool off in and the waterfall was awesome. There were a few Mozzies about but nothing too serious.
Packed up and headed off early aiming for Litchfield National Park stopping a Hayes Creek for a cuppa then into the National Park. Found probably the last spot at Wangi falls campground. There are 33 spots to camp here with hot showers and BBQ’s dotted around the place. Got set up and walked down to Wangi Falls, oh they were even more spectacular than Edith falls. A lot bigger with to waterfalls coming down into 1 large water hole. After a swim we dried off then done the walk up to the lookout and through the bush which brings you back out at the bottom of the waterhole. Had to go for another swim because we were sweating. The temperature and humidity has risen heaps since leaving Katherine. The Mozzies were out in force tonight, but with rid and a mozzie coil they disappeared. The worst place for them was in the toilets where they attacked whilst you tried to get any sort of pressure or heat out of the shower head. Oh you also only had 2 minutes until the light timer went off!
Got up early and drove out to Buley Rock hole for a swim. This place was great, a series of large waterholes that cascade down into one another. The kids had a ball jumping off the ledges into the deep pools. Next we drove to Florence Falls and this was equally as beautiful as Wangi Falls, huge rocks littered the waterhole floor on which you could stand. Using our goggles we swam around with heaps of fish and dived down looking at all the different rocks. It was so cool we even found some small bits of Zebra Rock. Had a drive out to the lost city which is pretty cool. Amazing how over time the weather has eroded the rocks to form these amazing structures. Headed back to camp and then hopped into Wangi falls again, this we climbed up parts of the falls and jumped into the water only about 2 metres high but still good fun.
It was so hot last night trying to sleep was impossible, got up and packed up and headed out to the Tolmer Falls lookout which was pretty spectacular and then we stopped to have a look at the Termite Mounds. Some of these were estimated to be 50 yrs old. There were 2 different types of mounds the magnetic north mounds and the cathedral mounds both great feats from an ant. Continued out of Litchfield heading for Batchelor, little did everyone know that the fuel gauge was reading zero and we were coasting on fumes! Made it to the servo and filled up $1:50 it took 73 litres which I think is the tank capacity. Drove on and turned onto the Arnhem Highway and stopped at Fogg Dam. This is a huge wetlands reserve with all kinds of birds and both types of Crocs. You drive across the wetlands via a road which is just above the water level. As we started driving across there was a Freshwater Croc just lying on the roadside. Saw heaps of birds and beautiful coloured lily flowers. After Fogg dam we continued down the road a bit to the Adelaide River where we joined the Jumping Crocodile Tour. The boat was pretty full which made it more exciting as we sat lower in the water. As soon as we hopped on there was a monster of a Saltie that just surfaced next to the boat “That’s Dominator” said the captain “5metres long and counting” He was huge. The captain had buffalo meat on a stick that the Croc would jump up and try and eat, his jaws as they snapped shut made the loudest noise. The tour was great we saw about 8 crocs in all even the famous 3 legged, 5.5metres long male called Brutus. The story goes he lost his front right leg to a bull shark many yrs ago, he would eat Bull sharks now as a snack. The captain enjoyed driving into the river bank where it was shallower so the Crocs would get right up out the water. The tides here change from low to high up too 6metres and when we done the tour it was high tide.
After the tour we headed into Darwin, we are booked into the Free spirit Caravan Park which is about 20kms out of town $160 for 3 nights unpowered. Not cheap but they are all about the same up here. This place has 3 pools which are great and good showers. Got set up and headed into the city centre for a look around and some tea. The Waterfront area is pretty cool and modern lots of places to eat, shop and chill out. There is a large enclosed Lagoon you can swim in and a Wave pool which unfortunately in down for maintenance. One lady told us that 2 days ago a saltie was removed from the harbour hence the reason why nobody swims in the ocean here.
Went to the War Museum today at East Point, the kids loved it. It is very modern and interactive a lot of touch screens and media. The 13 minute movie on the bombing of Darwin is very good, all the lights go out and you here the planes flying in to bomb and then the noise of the explosions. It’s very well done. So much history in the Museum they cover the WW11 and the Vietnam War, heaps of real photos and memorabilia. Even though most of the Museum was air conditioned we still wanted to cool off so we drove out to the Lennar Recreational waterpark. This is a free water park with a large pool, waterslides, café etc. The big and little kids had a ball, the slides were great fun especially one in which you go down on a large 2 persons inflatable tube and the actual slide is pitch black all the way down. Dropped into a tyre place next to the camp site to get one of the tyres checked out as in the last few days have noticed it losing a bit of pressure, sure enough they pulled out a small drill bit from the tyre. 15 Minutes later it was all repaired.
Headed into town again tonight to meet up with a mate who now lives in Darwin, we went to the old Stokes Hill Warf which is a very cool and popular place judging by the amount of people and cars about. Heaps of places to eat and a great view of the harbour and city.
Saturday 23rd May Maz dropped me and the kids at the other water park in Palmerston while she headed into the city. This park was even better than the one we went to yesterday, the slide was bigger with 6 lanes so we raced each other for hours hardly anyone here and again it’s all free. Will be leaving Darwin tomorrow and heading back south, then turning to the western border. Travelled 8900kms.
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