1st Sep 2009
Kakadon¬ít, Kakadoo, Kakadu......
We had heard many different opinions and stories of Kakadu before we headed off from Darwin. Many told us that most people preferred Litchfield National Park over Kakadu, referring to it as Kakadon’t bother. Others complained of the mosquito’s and the dry, while some complained that the falls weren’t flowing. Some thought that it was a great place and worth the visit. Either way, I lowered my expectations of Kakadu, knowing that it was the end of the dry season and the park would be at it’s driest, but determined to enjoy it and perhaps imagine the area filled with water as it would be in the wet season.
I really didn’t need to bother, the scenery was fantastic! We explored all of the tracks and roads in the park (not just sticking to the bitumen) and we found many green lush billabongs, filled with water, and teaming with birdlife and lilies. We saw large crocodiles in the South Alligator River and the rock formations, ranges and waterfalls were breathtaking. We followed one bush track right to the ocean, where the mud flats were a crocodile paradise!
Our favourite spots in the park were;
* Red Lily Billabong and Fogg Dam – both of these wetlands were green and lush with Brolga’s, Jabiru, Red tailed Black Cockatoos, Magpie geese, Pied Cormorats and Azure Kingfisher
* Ubirr Rock – A large rock formation (it reminded me of pride rock from the ‘Lion King’ movie!) looking out over the wetlands near Arnhemland, with stunning views at sunset.
* Nourlangie rock – A very spiritual place with detailed and colourful aboriginal rock paintings
* Maguk falls – A beautiful walk along monsoon forests to a pretty little fall with a swimming hole. The amount of fish swimming in this pool was amazing!
I was surprised to find that Jim Jim falls and Twin falls could only be accessed by 4wd and both of the walks into the falls were REALLY challenging, having to scramble over huge boulders with no clear path at times. The 4wd track was great fun, but not so when you have to share it with the ‘Tour Bus Tools!' Driving Isuzu trucks with passenger trailers these monsters hog the road and often travel at excessive speeds to meet their ridiculous time frames. On a number of occasions Rob had to stop the Landie in the middle of the track, refusing to move over for the big brutes! (What can I say, I guess Rob is missing Melbourne traffic and this is his remote version of road rage!).
Along with the birdlife in Kakadu we came across an oversized Prey Mantis (atleast a foot long!) on our camper door, Frogs in the toilet bowls and showers, Gheckos on the walls of buildings, dingoes howling at night (it still sends a shiver down my spine), and a sunset invasion of Mozzies. We were warned about the mozzies, so we came armed with all manner of repellents – but the outright winners were the Dettol mix and the ‘Locals’ mix. The Dettol mix is a legend passed from traveller to traveller (1/2 baby oil and ½ Dettol with a bit of Tea Tree oil if you have it!) the sticky baby oil literally drowns the mozzies but it leaves you smelling like a hospital! The ‘Locals’ mix is a natural concoction I picked up in Samson’s Point WA, smells quite nice, is natural, but you need 2 applications, 1 before sunset and another after. Forget the RID, Bushmans or Aeroguard – I swear the mozzies are actually attracted to this stuff!
Unfortunately it looks like the wet season is starting a little early as the temperatures and humidity have risen quite dramatically in the last week. We hit 46 degrees at Jim Jim falls and by 9am each morning we have been ready for our second shower of the day, just to remove some of the sweat!
For the Boys:
Rob has been plagued by yet another ‘knocking noise’ since Kununurra. A mechanic in Kununurra and one in Darwin were unsuccessful in locating the noise and just as I was starting to think about carting Rob off to the Loony bin (as he was the only one that could hear it!). He discovered that the culprit was the bushes in the ACE –Automatic cornering enhancement (Sway bars). But....in usual Rob fashion, instead of paying the $28.00 for new bushes, he decided to stuff some rubber he had been carting all around Australia (for just in case!) around the bushes to take up the slack!
It seems to have done the trick, but while I have been amazed and very grateful for my husband’s bush mechanic skills, I am getting a little concerned. A long the way he has removed a number of items from the poor Landie claiming they aren’t needed: an exhaust heat protector, plastic trim from the mudguard, the EGR valve (pollution gear)... the list goes on! I wonder if he is trying to make the Landie a little lighter or if he just enjoys scaring me out of my wits! Either way the Landie has a mind of her own and she has developed yet another mysterious squeak! – This time he’s positive it’s coming from the roof rack........Ahhhhhh, it never ends!! (Someone please tell him he owns a Landrover, its part of the vehicles genetics!!!)
Apologies for running a bit late with the blogs at the moment, I’ll do my best to catch up soon.
Hugs to All.
Therese, Rob, Jack and Alyssa