Timber Creek and the Victoria River

Trip Start Apr 05, 2011
Trip End Nov 15, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Saturday, July 14, 2012

Leaving Noonamah behind, we ducked back down through Katherine to begin our journey west. We had forgotten just how scenic the drive was, through rugged terracotta ranges rising into the vibrant blue sky, their lower extremities covered in dark green foliage and speckled with the white trunks of ghost gums. 

With the sun slowly descending we pulled into the Victoria River Roadhouse for an overnight stay, along with one hundred other travelers!  Having parted with some cash we found a plot of grass by the banks of the Victoria River and set up camp.  Surrounded by massive escarpments it was a lovely place from which to watch the sun set as the days glow drained from the red rocks and transformed them to soft tones of orange.   

Wanting to stretch our legs prior to driving off the following morning we ventured out across the bridge drinking in our pristine surrounds.  The morning sun was already radiating off the rugged ranges and offered us a different perspective from the previous evening.  The Victoria River below us was smooth and tranquil, with barely a ripple rupturing its surface we were treated to perfect reflections.  Looking directly down from the bridge we spotted a crocodile just sprawled out in the shallows, fish swimming confidently past its nose and around its body.

Dragging ourselves away we rejoined the Victoria Highway and continued on to the tiny township of Timber Creek.  Whilst there were a couple of good options for camping in the town itself we were keen to stay just west of town at the Big Horse Creek campground in the Gregory National Park, the perfect opportunity to try out our new solar panels.  A popular spot, our timing was impeccable for we lucked in with a spacious site surrounded by stunning boab trees, a constant fluttering of birds and warm, friendly neighbours.

With the temperature hitting thirty five in the shade and over forty out in the direct sunlight, it was simply too hot to get enthused about doing much.  Whilst inconvenient it did give us a good excuse to pick up a book and relax in the tranquil surrounds listening to the sound of the whistling kites and keeping an eye out for the great bower bird which swept through on regular reconnaissance flights.

In the early evening we took a short stroll down to the boat ramp into the Victoria River.  Infested with large saltwater crocodiles we kept our distance having seen a sample along the banks earlier.  We watched as the sun set and the sky changed from a deep blue to hues of orange, purple and pink.  As the colours gradually faded a clear bright night sky sprang to life, twinkling stars like diamonds upon black velvet, it was just gorgeous.  Whilst the fire pit by our van beckoned it was simply too hot to light it.

Another hot day greeted us and so we spent the day exploring the Timber Creek area in the comfort of our air conditioned vehicle.  With the Victoria River not being conducive to kayaking we had to resort to taking a commercial cruise in order to get a glimpse of what lay upon its banks.  Conveniently it just happened to depart from the boat ramp at our campground.  Having taken up the offer of sampling the taste of a boab nut (something we don't need to do again) we boarded the M.V. Fleetwing for a journey into the wilderness.

The boat itself was impressive, the power of its outboards had us floating across the top of the river at a fair rate of knots.  Traveling thirty five kilometers along the Victoria River we were treated to some amazing sights as large crocodiles lined the muddy banks, whilst hundreds of euros risked their lives by venturing down to the river to quench their thirst.  Here too there was an abundance of birdlife with the mighty sea eagle taking centre stage (Rod only wishes the rugby league team would do the same!).  Near the junction of the Angilarri River we transferred onto a pontoon where we broke out the bubbly and drank in the views over the majestic Yambarrin Ranges in style.  With the sun now descending, these massive ranges took on deep purple hues that reflected perfectly in the now still waters.

The journey back to base had us all gazing out the back of the boat to witness the sun making its final performance of the day as it disappeared below the horizon and the quintessential outback sunset colours emerged… deep orange blending upward to yellows and blues.  It had been a really good cruise with informative and entertaining commentary along with an extremely comfortable ride and breathtaking scenery.

Along our journey we have acquired some small solar lights that we scatter around our campsite to shed a little light of an evening and to add some ambience…  When we arrived back at our campsite it was rather dark, we assumed that some of the lights had either not got enough sun or were broken.  Well, that was until we glanced over and saw our neighbours tinny all lit up like a Christmas tree!  And so began another wonderful friendship with Gary, Michelle, Eddy and Anne. 

Timber Creek was another little gem of a place that seems so untouched and noncommercial, the mighty Victoria River is so pristine and ruggedly beautiful.  Only later did we hear of one of the local characters whom we are disappointed we didn’t cross paths with… 'The Barra Whisperer’; Duane from all accounts has the magic touch and knows how to reel them in one after the other and when our friends went boating with him they were able to see him in action and are still to this day in awe of his abilities (and yarns!).

Highlights of Timber Creek and the Victoria River:

-          Birdseye view of the crocodile in Victoria River at Victoria River

-          Big Horse Creek Campground

-          Victoria River Cruise

-          Meeting Gary, Michelle, Eddy and Anne
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Val S. on

the great story telling and awsome photos continue.... tks .

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