The Northern Territory is a fabled land full of crocs,
and glorious sunsets.
And a beautiful gorge or two.
We spent our first night at the Victoria River Roadhouse which, as crap as it sounds, was a lovely campsite surrounded by russet red ranges.
They provided us with a much needed beer as we had passed through Kununurra on a Sunday, when no beer is sold so our fridge was still bare!
Just outside of Victoria River is Joe’s Creek Waterhole which is this awesome walk up to the Livingstonian Palm fringed escarpment where you can find some hidden rock art.
It was a fun and challenging walk for the boys, rock hopping their way along. We carried them most of the way back down though.
We set our sights on Katherine. Mostly for the wonderous Woolworths and BWS we knew we would find there.
The Hot Springs was a bonus.
We decided to skip Katherine Gorge, and instead camped at Edith Falls a little further north. The campground was lovely, but the falls were underwhelming after our recent Kimberley experiences.
Litchfield didn’t fail to deliver on granduer. We camped and swam at Florence Falls.
We checked out the amazing Wangi Falls.
This is Tolmer Falls.
The only thing wrong with Litchfield is that it is almost too accessible, and so visiting it on a weekend in the school holidays at an easy 100kms from Darwin, it was packed!
We had originally planned on stopping in Darwin for a few months and working but although Brian’s job offer came through, we changed our minds as we drove into our $60/night caravan park. 7 foot chainlink fences on every residential block does little to promote a place.
The foreshore was nice.
That’s the bit you could swim in. This is the bit you couldn’t:
The markets were like a trip to downtown Bangkok with the most amazing food.
There were some WWII tunnels:
I got way too claustrophobic in there though. There were some idiots letting of fireworks at midnight that sounded to me like psychos with rifles, until they ended up starting a fire in the bush opposite the caravan park and the sirens came. The free waterpark at Leanyer was a hit and Jasper was just tall enough to ride the giant waterslide to his absolute delight. However, we all got a bout of gastro soon after leaving Darwin, and I am tempted to blame the same waterpark….
Out of Darwin we stopped at the Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise. A you do.
We didn’t expect it to be so good! As soon as you’re out on the water, you see these giant crocs making a beeline for the boat and the bait.
Then they jump.
They say it’s a natural behaviour, they are not trained to do it. And looking that wild crocodile in the eye while he launches out of the water is pretty special. They said that for every crocodile you do see here in the Adelaide River, there’s 5 that you don’t see. That is an awful lot. Brian was tempted to get his paddle board wet before this cruise. Not any more!
We spent the night at Mary River Wilderness Lodge which was an absolutely gorgeous green grassy campground on the riverbank. We really appreciate green grass.
Kakadu was awesome. Don’t believe anyone who says “Kakadont”. It really rocks!
The sunset at Ubirr was one of those magic experiences, even though no beer was allowed.
You stroll around, look at the incredible wealth of aboriginal art on the walls,
Then climb this mammoth rock, and watch the wetlands change before your eyes as the sun sinks below the horizon.
Cahill’s Crossing was the way into Arnhem Land and a great place to spot crocodiles.
The next stop was Maguk for a perfect swim.
And Gunlom for nature’s original infinity pool.
You are a couple of hundred metres above the campground in these waterholes.
Daisy also turned one in Kakadu.
Should we really be encouraging her to walk??
For her birthday she got a wetland cruise on Yellow Water.
It was very special indeed. This giant crocodile followed the boat down stream while eyeing us all off.
The wetlands were stunning.
We even saw brumby’s in the distance and a water buffalo!
We visited Nourlangie Rock for some more awesome rock art.
The most enduring art is the stuff painted in ochre and animal blood.
Then it was farewell Kakadu and back on the highway south.
Bitter Springs in Elsey National Park is the best rest stop ever!
A perfect rejuvenating swim in the hot (warm) springs.
Followed by a quick visit to the abandoned Newcastle Waters.
And overnight at the famous Daly Waters pub with about a million grey nomads.
Then the top end becomes Central Australia and our final destination!