Katherine was Gorgeous but Darwin had FreeSpirit

Trip Start Sep 28, 2009
Trip End Apr 22, 2011

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Where I stayed
Darwin FreeSpirit Resort Holtze
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Big4 Catherine Low Level Caravan Park
Big4 Batchelor Resort

Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Saturday, December 11, 2010


Saturday 11th December 2010

Katherine is famous for its large gorges and waterfalls in the surrounding national parks. The best way to see these is by boat or helicopter.  There is also a three day trek you can do that takes you to the top of each gorge.  We did none of the above, there was a simple but tough (well hot and sweaty) walk that took you up to the top of the first gorge and then back through the national park to get down.  Perfect for us, fantastic view from the top and a good bit of exercise which is what we need after hours of sitting in the van.  The only downside were the flies, boy were they annoying and they never let up, buzz, buzz, buzz in your ears, landing on your face trying to get into your eyes, your mouth and even up your nose.....yuk!!

There was no swimming in the river due to rainy season and the presence of crocodiles... no need to tell us twice.  So when we got back to the van from our walk we jumped straight in and powered up the aircon trying to cool down.  We then headed for McDonalds for more A/C and a hearty lunch after our walk.  A top up shop was needed and Katherine has a Woolworth's so we parked up and stocked up. Then went back to the caravan site for another swim in their pool and another thunder storm, this one had louder thunder but not so much rain. 

Sunday 12th December 2010
A slow start for us this morning, I uploaded the blog while Gary packed the van.  Our new destination is Batchelor but first we are stopping at Edith Falls for a swim by the waterfall.  Edith falls was beautiful and it said it was ok for swimming, although there was a sign saying there were saltwater crocs in the river but they didn’t eat people between 7pm and 7am so we were ok.  Gary went in first (well there is no need for us both to get eaten) and I joined him not long after having got too hot sitting on my rock.  The water wasn’t clear like the thermal pool but the temperature was lovely and it was wonderful to swim in.  We spent half an hour splashing around before heading back, amazingly this time with all our possessions intact...Bernie stayed in the van he had heard about us and waterfalls and wasn’t taking any chances.

Distance                               287km
Accommodation                   $31.50
Weather                              Overcast 36 degrees

It was a straight forward journey to Batchelor, our only stop was at a roadhouse for some lunch, Gary when in for pies and came out with a sausage roll, apparently they had run out of everything, still it filled a hole.  We pulled into the small town of Batchelor which consisted of a General store which was the post office and petrol station and an Information Centre.  We booked into the Big4 Caravan site and discovered we were the only people staying here.  We picked a shady pitch, set the van up and then cooked dinner.  At about 7pm there was a great deal of noise coming from outside so we went out to investigate.  It was feeding time for the wild parakeet and cockatoo’s and they were all making a right racket, I grabbed the camera and took some photos.

Monday 13th December 2010

Our campsite is at the gateway to Litchfield Park, so we got up and drove straight there. Our first stop is at the Magnetic Termite Mounds.  These mounds all face the same way as the Termites build them so one wall soaks up the heat of the day and keeps the mound warm in the cold night air. They looked like rows of grave stones stretching for miles.  We then took some pictures next to some of the massive normal termite hills.

Next stop is Florence Falls, which was a short walk to the lookout point in front of the falls.  Wow the falls were really impressive, we stood there for ages watching them, I do love a good waterfall and this one was lovely.  There was a walkway down to the bottom to have a swim but we had heard that the Buley Rockholes were better so we got back in the van and drove over to them.  We had the place to ourselves, only one other couple who left shortly after we got there. The cascades were beautiful, dropping into wonderful deep swimming holes.  It didn’t take us long to climb in the cool clear water it was bliss.  We remembered to take our masks this time and with great visibility we spent nearly an hour chilling in the water and investigating all the nooks and crannies.  Then it started to rain and another family come down and joined us so we picked our damp clothes up and headed back.  It was raining quite heavy by the time we got back to the van, so we put the awnings out to give us some shelter while we changed and had some lunch.  We are driving to Darwin today so we wanted wait for the rain to stop before getting on the road.  We sat and chilled for about an hour before the rain eventually eased and we were able to put our stuff away and hit the Stuart Highway again.

Distance                               174km
Accommodation                    $32
Weather                               Overcast & Rain pm 30 degrees
We had a little trouble finding the campsite we had set our minds on as it had closed down.  There aren’t any campsites in Darwin they are all between 10 km and 20 km outside.  We decided on another one and drove the 16km out to it.  We were rewarded with a lovely campsite, that has a fantastic pool and cheap bar/restaurant that does specials every nights.  Monday is two 4 one steak night, Tuesday Sri Lankan Buffet night, Wednesday Chicken Snitzzel and Quiz night......  We set up the van and then went out to explore the area, the bar was really lovely and we stopped for a couple of drinks.  It was nice to relax and have a rest after all the travelling.

Tuesday 14th December 2010

We have booked in for three nights, today we are doing some laundry and relaxing round the pool all day.  The weather wasn’t sunny but it was still hot and very humid so the cool waters of the swimming pool were very inviting.  We had the pool to ourselves, it is good travelling out of season, yes there is always the chance that the rain might stop you visiting somewhere or keep you rained in for the day but you take your chances and you are usually rewarded with fantastic locations and minimal people.  Our day was interrupted with a sudden rain storm and me rushing back to get the washing off the line before it got soaked again.

Gary’s birthday part II, Gary wanted to have a curry for his birthday but being Outback we didn’t come across many Indian’s so when we saw that Tuesday Night’s special was a Sri Lankan buffet we booked in.  It was nice to have something to dress up for and go out for a meal and a drink, the food was excellent.

Wednesday 15th December 2010

We jumped on a bus to Darwin today for a walk round the city.  Neither of us really remembers very much about Darwin last time we were here so it was going to be all new to us.  The bus only cost us $2 which was really cheap for the distance we had to travel.  The bus was full of Aborigines and they were passing a bottle of rum around during the journey....they didn’t offer us any.

   We had a good walk around Darwin and down to the harbour, there was massive Cruise Ship in dock and there were people everywhere, including a lot of sailors in uniform....Mmmm!!!  Darwin is named after the English naturalist Charles Darwin, and the city has been trampled twice, firstly during WWII, by the Japanese bombing the harbour and reducing the town to rubble.  It was trashed again in the 1970’s when Cyclone Tracey came in and flattened most of it.  It’s a lovely City to walk around and has a cycle track that encircles the whole of Darwin.... not that we have used it but we have a thousand excuses for why not.  We got the bus back to the campsite and hit the showers after a hot sticky day.....did I mention it’s very humid up here.

Thursday 16th December 2010

The news is there’s monsoon rains heading our way, so we have booked in for a few more nights, no point in moving on in bad weather and chances are the National Park we are heading to next will be closed if it floods.  We are really happy here and it’s nice to put roots down for a while.  We had a drive out to the local shopping centre today, to get a few bits and make some plans for Christmas.  The sun is out today and it is hot, the van was 44 degrees when we came back to it after shopping, it took a long time to cool down.  Gary wanted to get back to watch the cricket first day of the third test, England are still doing well.  

Friday 17th December 2010 – Sunday 19th December 2010
We spent the next three days enjoying all that camp life has to offer, swimming in the pool, watching Cricket in the sun and drinking wine.  Then the Cricket went to pot, as the English lost their bottle and the Aussies won a test.  The wine made us pee in the night and the swim pool was invaded by small noisy people...kids I think they a called.  To top it all there was no Monsoon rain...not a drop, just lots of fantastic electrical storms that rock the van when the thunder claps.

Gary gave up on the cricket by Sunday and we had a drive out to the coastal area in Darwin, this is the place to go for your sunsets, their beaches aren’t breathtaking like we have experienced on the Eastern coast but the surrounding parks and walks are lovely and well set out.  There was one spot we stopped at on route that had the strangest coloured rocks going out to sea, they all looked painted....and lots of hermit crabs.

When we got back to the campsite we stopped at the reception, we are planning to stay in a cabin for four nights over Christmas.....Air Con and On-Suit toilet is a must.....so we wanted to check on the availability and prices.  The staff as always couldn’t be more helpful, even took us over in their golf buggy for a tour of the cabins.  The Bar and Restaurant are closed Christmas day but we were planning to have a BBQ anyway so as long as we can get to the pool we’ll be fine.  The camp amenities are great, we used the well stocked camp kitchen last night and cooked a fantastic Rogan Josh curry.  

The humidity is high and so is the air temperature we are always dripping wet and its playing havoc with my hair.  The mozzies are also out in force and have taken a shine to us, I don’t think it helps that we are either in the pool or in the shower cooling off and so relentlessly reapplying repellent. Tomorrow we are heading for Kakadu National Park for three days.....let’s hope the Monsoon stays away.

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