Kimberley Day 79 - Darwin to Kununnurra

Friday, Oct 09, 1998 at 00:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

Mark and Sharon met us at Rosy's house at 8.30am ready to begin the next major leg of our trip. We went via Rosy's work to pick-up some last minute mail that had just arrived (thanks Mum!) and then via the suspension shop for a last minute check of Mark's new springs he had just had fitted. We drove towards Kakadu on the Arnhem Highway and stopped at Fogg Dam and the Jumping Crocodile Cruise at the Adelaide River.

The Adelaide River bridge was closed for repairs after damage caused by the January floods but we were lucky enough to have arrived during a high tide and took a vehicle barge across.

Less than one day out of Darwin and we broke something essential at our lunch stop. In an attempt to keep the car cool we drove it too close to a large Jacaranda tree and a thick branch snapped off our UHF aerial. We would have to purchase one in Katherine before attempting the remote Gibb River Road.

We replenished our water supplies at Jabiru, the centre of Kakadu, and arrived at the East Alligator river around 4pm. Not having a boat, we sat by the boat ramp for a while and talked to the fishermen as they put in their tinnies for an afternoon session. We learned that tomorrow is the biggest tide of the month and the crossing would be the "hot spot". We decided to take a look at this crossing and with envy, watched a few vehicles go over the border into Arnhem Land. We could not attempt the crossing because we did not have a permit to enter the Aboriginal land. Many people seemed to have a permit or maybe they chose to ignore the signs, we weren't sure, but there were plenty of 4WDs from hire companies entering Arnhem land that day.The fishermen had told us there were zillions of big crocs in this river and fishing from the banks is a little scary. Sure enough, we saw plenty. Around 5pm the afternoon rains came down and Sharon and I danced around in the rain with the aborigines - happy for the brief relief from the oppressive heat of Kakadu. It was 36 degrees at 8am that day and it peaked at 42 degrees at midday. The highlight of being near the East Alligator River is a visit to Ubir Rock to view the spectacular sunset views over the floodplains. The area is also rich in Aboriginal rock art, said to be the best of its kind.We camped a few hundred metres from the river at Merl camping ground with about 10 other vehciles, mostly from 4WD hire companies. We seem to be the only Australian travellers. It was too hot to light a camp fire so we cooked on gas. Mark and Sharon cooked a thai green chicken curry with tiny little egglplant balls they had bought from the markets and David and I cooked a campers version of Tom Yum Gong soup for entre and then spicy thai chicken fillets with rice. For desert we all shared a whole watermelon.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!
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