North of Australia

Trip Start Oct 16, 2007
Trip End Oct 24, 2007

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Travels to the desert

Having travelled the world rather than my own backyard, I thought it was time I visited the North of Australia (Western Australia and the Northern Territory) after hearing the stories and seeing the images unable to be seen anywhere else in the world. Green, tepid waters invite the unwary traveller to a number of ways to die - sharks, crocodiles, fast-flowing tides and probably a myriad of other organisms waiting for a meal.

Darwin - a day trip from Darwin is Kakadu National Park. Several days are needed here to do it justice. Yellow River is home to numerous crocodiles and thousands of species of birds. Lichfield Park has incomparable waterfalls and freshwater streams, all home to friendly freshies, the crocs that don't eat humans - often. Katherine Gorge exhibits rugged cliff faces of yellow sandstone and rock art high in the cliffs.

Kununurra - an hour's flight to Darwin is the quick way to get here. The township of Kununurra doesn't have much going for it - a Coles, a few restaurants and a pub. It's miles and hours out of Kununurra where the jewels of the desert lie. Lake Argyle is a huge inland sea holding drinkable freshwater three times the size of Sydney Harbour. The Ord River is a picturesque view of the microcosm of organisms found in the area living in a majestic habitat. An expanse of ancient land covered in yellow dust and sandstone 350 million years old greeted me from the doorless cabin of the helicopter flying over the Bungle Bungles (an Aboriginal word meaning sandstone). A tentative hand held the camera close and I didn't even look when I snapped. Not too much can go wrong with a photo of such extraordinarily rugged beauty. 

Broome is a hot town paddling the mostly unswimmable teasing green waters of Cable Beach. Our caravanserai of tourists on camels passed the nude beach and a veritable car park of 4WDs enjoying the sunset. The Horizontal Waterfalls gave us a spectacular seaplane ride to a million dollar houseboat on Lake Talbot. The 20-year-old jet boat driver hurtled us through the adjoining cliffs which caused the world-famous white water rapids. We finished off the day with some fishing, and a lunch of Barramundi atop the houseboat with the red cliffs of the Kimberley behind us.

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