Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Last of the NT

28/07/11 At dawn we, once again, went to the billabong to see the birds, and were disappointed – maybe the crocs in this pool are particularly active, although we didn't actually see any. A wetland walk, Iligadjar Floodplain Walk, was also disappointing as there were only a few ibis, and one blue kingfisher. 

Ubirr is a particularly impressive art site (the most art in one place that we have seen, but some of it fairly damaged), and a wonderful lookout – over a green flood-plain with impressive rocky outcrops. 

 Nearby is Cahill's Crossing, famous for it's crocs – we saw one male with his girlfriend, on the Manngarre walk along the East Alligator River. Camped the night at Aurora at Jabiru, which had quite nice facilities. In the evening we went for a stroll around the park and sat on the lounges around the pool. While there we were surprised to see a dingo trot in, drink from the empty pool (although the bistro and bar were full beside it), and then slip away through the pool fencing.

29/07/11 A two hour drive took us to Gunlom (Waterfall Creek Falls). This is one of the nicest places in Kakadu, but last time we were only here for a swim and the sunset. The birds at the campground were happily chirping. We set up camp, then went on the walk to the billabong and South Alligator River. It was hot and uninteresting, apart from a herd of about 14 horses, and the large stands of bamboo (supposedly a native) along the river. 

A cool swim in the large Gunlom waterhole was really refreshing. The fish were interesting – I saw a school of perhaps 15cm fish, 2 deep, swimming in circles. We had a bit of a lazy afternoon, I read my book, then we cooked a hotpot. With the lack of mosquitoes, and distant neighbouring campers, we sat out star-watching for quite some time.

30/07/11 We walked up to the top of Gunlom waterfall. Last time I could not do this, as I had a migraine, but this time was able to enjoy the refreshing pools at the top, and the view over the plain. Darryl walked back about 5km at the top, through the rock country. This area is known as country, by the aboriginals, and is where there is uranium, lead, arsenic..lots of toxins, but a lovely place (I guess, just don't drink the water). 

Have finally discovered that Jimjim is the aboriginal name for the Pandanus. Being a weekend, the campsite filled up considerably – probably 5 times the number from the previous night, so I went over early to get a hot shower. Darryl made bread in the campfire.

31/07/11 A big black pig on the very corrugated road out of Gunlom. On the road east from Daly Waters 2 huge wedge-tailed eagles on roadkill. A long day of driving. Stopped at a picnic area, caravans and Swiss guy, Donat, in a Landcruiser. Chatted around the fire with Bevan, Cathy & Donat.

01/08/11 9.4oC at 7am – back in the cold again! Woken by 5 dingoes howling. The biggest group of Choughs we have ever seen, possibly more than one family, but around 100. Galahs, Crows, Butcher-birds, as there was a small dam nearby. A group of 4 bustards, a big fat goanna (not a sand goanna like we have), and we think Darryl saw a huge blue-tongue lizard. Another long day of driving. Stopped at a gravel-pit – another night completely alone. A beautiful moonset.

02/08/11 6.1oC at 7am.Back in budgerigar country. More groups of bustards. Fuel $1.96/l at Barkly Homestead. Got fuel in Camooweal, but I was still on the net, so Darryl pulled over in front of a shop and discovered an oil leak. Considering we had just done over 5,000km in the last couple of days, it was very lucky to only just have happened, near a town and in Queensland. RACQ came to the rescue, and the replacement part (oil hose to the alternator) had to be sent from Townsville, so we will be here at least overnight. A bit of a change with a fish Pub meal.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Chris your photos are stunning! Not sure if you've been keeping up with my doings but I'm about to publish my three science fiction novels on amazon which are set in Australia. I'd love to use one or two of your photos as part of the cover montage - would this be okay? I'll give you credit in the books.

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