The Road to Kakadu!

Trip Start Jan 23, 2010
Trip End Jan 29, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Thursday, October 28, 2010

The road to Kakadu has been stunning and was enhanced by a reunion with the Flock of Peacocks, the family we spent time with in Coral Bay.  With a bit of juggling we managed to catch up in Katherine.  The children had a ball and it was great to see Steve and Jo again.

But first we left Kununurra towards Katherine, with an overnight stop called Timber Creek, a small town of 70 with just about all of them and their children were at the pub, which was also the caravan park.  The community were getting excited, fairly inebriated and a tad intimidating. We turned up early evening, set up with lightening speed and locked ourselves quickly in the van, not even brave enough to attempt a shower, we didn't realise just how close to the the croc infested creek we were.  At an attempt to cultivate a bit of tourism, they feed the crocodiles here and ensure a plentiful turnout

In the morning, Fabio wandered down to this little creek, only to do a back flip at the abundance of our toothy friends!  With a bridge over the creek, we all cautiously ventured over and were astonished at just how many were just below the surface.  Bubbles the initial clue and then the creepy way they slope into view. 

We stayed at Low Level in Katherine and just like the name suggests it is lower than the rest!  We certainly noticed this after a particular heavy rainfall and the surge of the water near the crossing.  One day, just about everyone (despite the crocodile warnings) was cooling off amongst the rocks, the next the water from Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) was thundering down river - and I mean thundering - very very frightening me (Gallilao, Gallilao, Gallilao Figero....!)

Nitmiluk, as one must call Katherine Gorge was marvellous, especially as the rain has decided to come early this year and thankfully it was raining the day we headed out to climb the gorge.  Lightning all around and the sprinkle of the rain made it beautiful and cool.  Whilst the children we itching to get in for a swim, the presence of a huge crocodile trap opposite the swimming area, did not bode well with this mother of three.  A resounding NO WAY was offered and thankfully accepted.  Whilst still in the mid 30Cs, after experiencing several days in the 40C+ range, it felt ridiculously cool! The gorge was splendid and we enjoyed throwing out our voices to echo back.  (Children threw a few rocks in too, but don't tell anyone!)

Edith Falls and the Hot Springs were other experiences in Katherine, with a terribly nice aboriginal chap from Arnhem Land helping me to get into the springs.  It really is surprising the way they shift from their native tongue to 'fair dinkum' Aussie.  Strangely enough I have to compare the Aboriginal 'just hanging around' the the way the Italians slink around the Piazzas in Italy.  They just lope about and have a yarn with this one then slink over to another and pass the time chatting. They seem to do a fair bit of talking and it all seems very social.  (admitted the Italians were a tad better dressed)  But just hanging about all the same!

We left the Peacocks and headed towards Litchfield National Park, where the word is it is better than Kakadu.  (I have to agree at this moment - but that story is for later!!)  What a fabulous easily accesable Park.  We stayed at a fabulous campsite where you park you van under a shelter!  Book us in Danno! 

First stop Buley Rockholes - well we could have stopped there and left it at that!  What a spot - and despite now being out of season, surprisingly busy!  The water cascades through a series of rock pools, some so deep the children made it a personal challenge to reach the bottom.  Another plus of all the rain, they were fresh and flowing and amazing.  We visited this spot twice.

Florence Falls, Wangi Falls and even the unaccessable Tolmer Falls were all equally splendid!  The climb down to Florence Falls was hot and made the pool at the end even more rewarding.  Wangi Falls whilst promoted as being one of the most popular spots was nice, but whether we are just getting used to the beauty, or whether because it was a short stroll from the car park, and not much effort was needed, was our least favourite  Although the boys manage to find a pool up in the rocks next to the waterfall.  ( I was freaking out!) but anyway!

So we left Litchfield National Park with a heavy heart, but excited to be heading towards a City again in Darwin.  It did not disappoint! What a tropical, multicultural small city.  Heavy with humidity, but with rain every afternoon, it's giving us an insight to the rainy season.  However with this tropical feel comes some very unwanted guests, the mosquito!  Worst attack in 30 years the papers report.  of course it is!  And they love our fresh blood let me tell you!

The city is very child friendly and whilst the children's initial excitement was once again the sight of Mcdonalds!  (AGGHHHH!!)  We've travelled how far??  Anyway Darwin Wharf was clean and welcoming with vibrant colours and the wave pool bang in the middle.  Of course in we went, with memories of Scarborough and surf club, the children were able to boogie board.  Even I had a shot. Then I tried relaxing in one of the huge rings, then after three minutes, I started feeling sea sick!!  Really?? On a wave tube??  This was $12 for a family!

Next stop the Leanyer recreational park, sorry let me clarify, the FREE Leanyer recreational park!  Three slides, a pool and a huge water playground. FUN, fun and more fun.  However, even one of the water slides made me feel a bit peaky!  Maybe I should just let the kids do this and sit like a good mum on the side lines.

Darwin was a surprise and whilst wet, we would actually consider staying here for a season.  It is no more humid that Singapore or Bali and in regards to the latter, in my opinion, a lot safer.  The museum was a treat and we were able to experience the terror of Cyclone Tracey (maybe not so safe after all!)  We managed a 'must do' visit to Mindal markets and the various food stalls had us trying all sorts of treats.  With buskers and quirky market stalls, it was a great last night in Darwin.

So the road to Kakadu continues and will let you know all about it next time.....

Until then...... 
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JoJo Peacock on

Ah Mandy-moo, so good to see your very cool experiences at Litchfield and Darwin. Looks like you guys managed to have more fun than we did at Leanyer! You went on the water slide, you go girl! I'm impressed babe... I did actually do the mother thing and sit on the side-line with the towels - what was I thinking??? We're still at Uluru - it is more amazing than we imagined - and are heading off to S.A. in a couple of days. Love you guys, look after each other xoxoxox

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