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Motorhome Travels - August 2007

05/08/2007

We are now well out of WA! In fact as I write this we are just 200km from Darwin. We seem to have been travelling a bit faster of late - there is a lot to see up here and we are a little behind our schedule - the build-up to the wet season is just a couple of months away. Nobody wants to be in the Northern Territory in the wet season.

The dam wall at Kununurra, NT - [Click for a Larger Image]
[Photo Information]
The dam wall at Kununurra, NT

Before crossing the border into NT, we stopped off in Kununurra  (not that you have any choice - that is where the road goes). We stayed in the showgrounds - far nicer than doing a sardine impression in one of the caravan parks). While there we saw the biggest motorhome we have ever seen - it was a huge double-decker Volvo bus. In the evening Tracey went down to the dam wall to take a photo - this is the awesome result.

 

After leaving Kununurra we took a side trip out to Lake Argyle and the dam. The massive man-made lake is very pretty and  the picnic area on the far side of the dam wall is shady and cool. As we drove past the shop/camping ground we saw that massive black Volvo bus again. We tucked away in our secret hideout again for the night and enjoyed a quiet evening.

18 tonns of Big Black Bus stuck in the sand, NT. - [Click for a Larger Image]
[Photo Information]
18 tonns of Big Black Bus stuck in
the sand, NT.

The following morning as we were heading back to the main road East we passed that same giant black bus - they look like they had pulled off the road for the night near a big boab tree. I commented to Tracey that I would like to meet those people if our paths ever crossed. About 1 minute later we had a call on the UHF radio asking if we had a tow rope.  We turned the motorhome around and then got our wish as we met the owners of the big black bus (which was now fairly deep in the soft sand).  Isabelle, Shane and their two girls Natasha and Yasmine had  'involuntarily' spent the night right there.  Some jacking, digging and the release of some air from the tyres saw them back on the hard. Hobohome towed the trailer out and they were all set again.

The Big Black Bus reveals the microlite in the back of the trailer, NT. - [Click for a Larger Image]
[Photo Information]
The Big Black Bus reveals the
microlite in the back of the
trailer, NT.

We were both heading in the same direction so we arranged to meet up the road for a beer that evening.

Shane then showed us what they were carrying in the trailer. Two motorbikes and ... wait for it ... a microlite! Now that's the way to really see Australia.

 

It turns out that Shane is also from NZ - even the right island (he is from Christchurch to be exact). Our paths crossed a few times more over the next week or so, and we were able to share quite a few beers over a campfire.

 

 

 

Katherine Gorge, NT - [Click for a Larger Image]
[Photo Information]
Katherine Gorge, NT

From Katherine we headed out to the spectacular Katherine Gorge. We decided to take a boat trip to see the first 4 of the 8 gorges. This was a leisurely 4 hour boat ride and was well worth the $65 each.

 

We returned to Katherine to find that my new camera (Canon 5D) had finally arrived so I was keen to give it a test drive.

 

Edith falls was the perfect place! What a great place to try out a new camera. The scenery was just fantastic.

Edith Falls, NT - [Click for a Larger Image]
[Photo Information]
Edith Falls, NT

The water was cool and refreshing and a welcome sight after the walk up over the hill from the parking area. With scenery like this, it is no wonder that we are behind schedule - still, it is well worth it.

 

The road out to Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park was awful. We were nearly shaken to bits. The camping area provided is not much and if that had been the reason for travelling out there, we would have been very disappointed.

Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park, NT - [Click for a Larger Image]
[Photo Information]
Umbrawarra Gorge Nature
Park, NT

However - the gorge was really something - I would go so far as to suggest that it is as good as some of the gorges of Karijini. There are towering gorge walls, deep pools of clear flowing water and something new at every turn. Best of all, we were almost the only people there.

From here we will be heading to Darwin via the Litchfield National Park. It seems to be warming up here now with the days getting up to 35 degrees and the evenings are quite warm too. 

The ultimate service station - J.D's on tap!, NT - [Click for a Larger Image]
[Photo Information]
The ultimate service
station - J.D's on
tap!, NT

After much searching ...  all over Australia (and many other country's), I think I have finally discovered the ultimate service station.  Look closely at the photo to the right. The amber liquid this pump claims to dispatch may not be suitable for your car, but if it was actually working I suggest that driving away would be the furtherist thing from my mind! Sadly (or perhaps fortunately) the pump was out of order the day we passed by  - we will be sure to check again the next time we are passing through.

21/08/2007

Well, Darwin was quite interesting - hot and at times humid, with lots of biting things ... but interesting.

We camped at the local greyhound track and show ground. The club makes the ground available to self-contained campers for just $11 per night if you become a social member (cost - $5).  This seems like a good deal - however it gets better ...  it seems to be nobody's job to actually collect the money! So after staying there for a week and waving to the caretaker each day we decided it was one of the better value camps we had stayed at.

Part of a power pole modified by cyclone Tracy, NT. - [Click for a Larger Image]
[Photo Information]
Part of a power pole
modified by cyclone
Tracy, NT.

We did quite a few of the "Darwin-must-do" things. We visited the museum (excellent),  attended the markets (all of them), I went to the aviation museum (fantastic) and we took the ferry across to Mandorah.

We headed south from Darwin to the well reviewed Territory Wildlife Park. This park shares a large chunk of quite spectacular  land with Berry Springs.

 

Berry Springs is a great place for a cooling dip when the Darwin heat and humidity have done their work.

The water is just cool enough to be refreshing and is loaded with fish life (and reportedly the odd freshwater croc). We took our masks and snorkels and were able to see many of the inhabitants of the clear deep water.

A Barking Owl feeds on a mouse, NT. - [Click for a Larger Image]
[Photo Information]
A Barking Owl feeds on a mouse, NT.

 

The Wildlife park itself is one of the better parks we have seen, well designed enclosures and some amazing opportunities to photograph some of the top ends more elusive critters.

The birds of prey presentation was worth the entry price alone. 

A freshwater croc waits for lunch, NT. - [Click for a Larger Image]
[Photo Information]
A freshwater croc waits for lunch,
NT.

We spent the entire day at the park and really enjoyed all of the exhibits - the park is a credit both to those who designed it and those who maintain it.

 

Much is spoken of Kakadu and we have been keen to see it for our selves for quite some time now. 

For the last two days we have visited some amazing aboriginal rock art sites, these are well worth a visit. However, thus far the scenery, while breath taking, is not even close to the grandeur of Karijini. We are a bit disadvantaged by not having access to a 4WD vehicle (the gravel roads here are very corrugated) - and this late in the dry season many of the waterfalls have stopped flowing... so maybe on a different day Kakadu would blow us away - just not today.

The weather is starting to heat up now and it really is time we headed south. We will be back in Katherine in just a few days and from there we will head south and then east into Queensland.

 

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