Aug 21, 2010

Darwin - Katherine

Left Darwin and for a moment considered travelling into Kakadu, we had been there 10 years ago and the people we have spoken to told us that there was very litle water flowing and not worth visiting. We thought the same thing 10 years ago so gave it a miss. I am sure we will now hear how great it is and what we missed out on.

We camped a night in the bush at Harriet Creek [CAW5 #184] the area was filthy with full bins and rubbish strewn around. Vickie spotted a track on the opposite side so we drove down there and found a lovely spot behind some large rock mounds complete with tropical livingston palms. I soon collected some fire wood and got the Kimble pot fired up, turned up the iPod and settled in to the camp chair listening to some great music.

Later in the afternoon another Van pulled in but they stayed over in the 'dump' area and later on again a motor home also pulled in over that way, that suited us as we had our piece of bush all to ourselves.

We called in at Edith Falls [CAW5 #134] a very nice swimming spot but the campground was another tight dust bowl really only suited to car's or camper's. At $18 to camp we gave it a miss and instead got ripped off $9 for two icecreams at the kiosk.
In the car park was the largest motor home we have seen, a Kenworth with the full pan trailer converted to living space. Some interesting graphics down the side of the rig made it stand out, Bazza's Lifestyle was certainly eye catching, and i think Bazz'a knew that.

Hitting the road we headed down to Katherine Gorge where we camped in the Gorge Camping area, $33 per night with power was better value than Lee Point's $40.The 1st day we spent in and out of the swimming pool, humidity is starting to rise here in the Top End though i'm sure locals would laugh at that suggestion. The walk trails were registering 45 & 50 degree's out in the direct sun so we gave that a miss during the day. The 2nd day we got the Kayak's ready and headed to the Gorge, but 1st we had to pay $5.50 per Kayak to allow us the priviledge. I stuffed up by setting up our Kayak's at camp and walking to the Info Centre as we had to negotiate door's and steps prior to getting the Gorge.

Once on the water it was all worth it, at 1st we had a head wind as we peddled up the river but it eased off as we got around the bend and we just enjoyed ourselves looking around the Gorge. All the relaxation ended though once we got to the end of the 1st section as we had to carry our Kayak's 400mts over rocks to get to the 2nd section. It was hard work and even though we shared carrying each Kayak it involved walking back & forth and the heat & weight was taking it's toll on us. We were both relieved to be back on the water and able to cool off by splashing ourselves. The 2nd Gorge is stunning with high walls and interesting caves, I had bought along my small compact camera and was very disspointed to find the battery was flat and i didn't get to take one single photo of our trip up the Gorge.

We peddled to the end of the 2nd Gorge and thought about tackiling the 3rd section but choose not to as we had more rocks to clamber over and we were not looking forward to tackling them all again on the way back. Instead we turned around and with the wind to our back we peddled and cruised back down the Gorge. Same deal as the 1st time we had to manhandle our Kayak's back over the rocks and narrow walkway, i took a tumble and cut the sole of my foot on some rocks and again it was with great relief we got the kayaks back on the sand and we collapsed into the water exhausted.

On the home stretch back to the boat ramp we passed lots of tourists in the hire canoes and at $75 per canoe someone is making a heap of $$$$, they all seemed amazed at us peddling our Kayaks rather than paddling them, some yelled out other's just looked fish-smacked and you could see them thinking why didn't we get to hire those.

Back on land it was now the hard slog to cart the Kayak's back to the camp, Vickie's knee was playing up again so i had no choice but to pull both of them back, all up hill, it certainly was a work out and the 1st thing i did back at camp was head for the pool and stood under the small waterfall, once i had recovered enough the 2nd thing i did was get a freezing cold Scotch & Coke. The rest of the evening we sat around the pool listening to Greg & Julie Evans the entertainers and chatting to some other camper's. It was a nice end to an energetic day.

Presently at Katherine where we will re-stock and fuel up before heading to Mataranka and the Gulf Savannah. Whilst not looking forward to the heat & humidity I am looking forward to being out 'bush' again and visiting some places we haven't been to before.

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