Territory Dreaming

Mike and I were last in the Territory in 2002. It was all very rushed as we were running low on funds, and only got to do the major stuff. Now we are back, and very happy that we are finally able to see it at a relaxed pace.Into the Territory

First stop was Gregory National Park, one of the littler known NT treasures. It’s around 13,000 square km, and the Victoria River flows through it enroute to the Kimberly, and is supposedly one of the best places to catch Barramundi. We camped at Big Horse Creek camp, where Mike had a go at catching dinner. Alas, it was sausages again.

We also took the time to visit the Bullita Homestead. It was abandoned years ago after a massive flood destroyed almost everything, but the remains of the homestead, as well as a history from the owners makes for an interesting visit. We also did the Limestone walk, to look at the calcite flows, rock that looks like white water.

Bullita Homestead Boab Tree - Gregory NPOnward to Katherine Gorge or Nitmiluk (the traditional Aboriginal name). This place has really changed since the last time we visited.Katherine 2nd Gorge The campground has a fabulous pool area, and we all had fun swimming and relaxing before we did our afternoon gorge cruise. The water is still quite high this late in the season, and the views are just breathtaking.

One thing that hasn’t changed though is the number of bats in the area. Thousands of bats surrounded the campground and recreational areas, hanging from trees and making heaps of noise. They were a ‘great’ alarm clock the following morning.

We then made our way up to the big one, Kakadu. We missed so much of it last time, as we were travelling in a ford falcon station wagon and couldn’t go down most of the tracks. It was a different story this time in our 4WD, and all the roads were open. Our first night we camped at Gunlom, and visited the plunge pool and rock pools on the escarpment. The plunge pool was used for a scene in Crocodile Dundee, where Mick spears a barra for dinner.Gunlom Pool - Kakadu NP

Nourlangie Rock ArtJim Jim Billabong campground was our base for the rest of our stay in Kakadu. The campground had a boat ramp, where the resident 5 meter croc could regularly be seen swimming up and down the river. Mike cautiously had another go at fishing, but didn’t even get a nibble. Some fellow campers with a boat managed to snare a 60 cm barra after a few minutes trying, so at least the kids have seen what one looks like.

We got up early to visit Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls. The walk in to Jim Jim was only 900 metres, but took us just on 90 minutes, as we had to clamber over some pretty big rocks most of the way. The kids did exceptionally well, and managed the entire return journey without so much as a whimper of complaint, and again the view was worth it. We weren’t game enough to go swimming though as it was deep and cold.

Jim Jim FallsTo get to Twin Falls, you have to take a transfer by boat and then walk around 200 metres in the gorge. There is absolutely no swimming here, as they were trying to trap a 1.5 metre salty that had made its way into the river.Twin Falls Pool

One of the great things about Kakadu is the Aboriginal Culture. Many clans and communities here still live a traditional lifestyle. The cultural centres give great information about Kakadu, and the communities that live here, but the kids can’t read and so they don’t really get much out of it.

We wanted a more personal experience of the traditional aboriginal lifestyle here it Kakadu. Something that was interactive, so we could all learn and get what we wanted out of it. We decided to spend the day with Animal Tracks on their much recommended Safari. Our aboriginal guide, Patsy, and our guide/driver, Sean, took us into beautiful wetlands not accessible by any other means than participating in this tour. We spent the day gathering and tasting bush foods, learning about different trees and their uses, making rope from pandanus leaves, and cooking dinner in the traditional aboriginal way. It was an experience that excited all the senses. Coby especially really got into the spirit of things, trying all the bush foods offered to her, including green ants.

Everyone on the tour, including the kids, was captivated all day. By the end of the tour we felt we had learned more about aboriginal culture than we could from a museum or display. It was fantastic. To read more about our awesome day with Patsy and Sean, click here.

Male Jabiru - Corroboree BillabongSaltwater Croc - Corroboreee BillabongWe left Kakadu early and moved on to the Mary River area for a cruise on the Corroboree Billabong. Like most of the wetlands in the area, it is teaming with fish, birds and crocodiles. We saw our first Jabiru in the first 10 minutes, and he was happy to pose for photos. Our cruise included a trip up Lilly Alley, which was in full flower. Most importantly, we saw heaps of saltwater crocs. The last time we were in Kakadu, we only saw freshies, so were keen to see the salties up close in their natural habitat. We weren’t disappointed.

Onto Darwin, to catch up on some chores, pick up some mail and shop. I can’t wait to see the big changes in the city since we were last there.

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One Response

  1. Still lovi ng reading about your trip. Sounds so amazing and Coby and Rhys having an amazing experience too. When we finally get a place and ourselves sorted enough to have a holiday I will be using your blog as a reference point of what to do…..

    Coby’s birthday soon…. have you made plans?
    xxxx

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