DAY 21 - Nitmiluk National Park (0 kms)

Had to be at the boat dock at 8:45am so had a medium slow "get ready". Glenda put her washing out and we were ready for our 10min walk down to the boat. Our guide was an informative and funny fellow, balancing the jokes with the facts nicely. The 1st gorge was nice enough but not spectacular. We had to walk from the 1st gorge to the 2nd and another boat. The 2nd gorge was a lot more spectacular. The afternoon was spent cleaning some red dust out of the 'kitchen' cupboards and plugging the hole where it got in. Late in the afternoon we walked up to a lookout, stopping along the way to view a bridal party arriving by boat. Looked like there was another party setting off as well, it must be a popular way of having a wedding. Tea was Chicken snitszels, gravy and usual vegies.

Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge

DAY 22 - Nitmiluk National Park to Wangi Falls in Litchfield N.P. (337 kms)

Whilst packing up got talking to the couple in a "Mr Bean" camper. They had previously taken it to Cairns & Tasmania and where on a similar trek to us so we may see them again. We'll certainly recognise their 'rig'

Mr Bean camper

Once we got to Katerine we stopped at an internet cafe/art gallery but the connection was so slow gave up trying to upload additional files (pictures). Glenda did some shopping with Corey's 'help' as there was a possibility there might have been a dinosaur in the shop. He came back with a monster truck and one for Brendan. As if we need more junk in the camper! Power has stayed on for two nights but as it's been so warm, it may not actually be fixed. Stopped for lunch at Pine Creek. food was very nice from the cafe which we devoured in the nearby shady park. We had nuggets & chips for the boys, a hamburger with the lot for Glenda and Barra and chips for Nige.

Continued on and found the Wangi Falls campground. Setup camp and went for a swim. The water was 'refreshing' but very nice. Went back to camper and had burgers for tea. The bugs moved in and straight through our flyscreens. As it was still 25C we decided to leave the windows down, turn the lights off and jump into bed... at 8:15pm. A very early night.

Wangi Falls Wangi falls close-up

DAY 23 - Litchfield N.P. (106 kms)

First stop for the days sight seeing was the Lost City. 10kms of 4WDing to get there but well worth it as the area was formations of sandstone rocks that resembled a ruined city. Many rocks looked like common objects. Next stop was the Magnetic Termite mounds but we thought the boardwalk used to view them wasn't much good. The only mound you could take a 'sideways' picture of had the boardwalk in the background. It was interesting seeing them and reading about why they build them in the North-South orientation (to control the temperature inside). Across the road was a huge 'normal' mound 4-5 metres high. Ate lunch in the shade by the side of the road. Nige decided to 'fix' the sub-quality photos of the magnetic termite mounds by bushwhacking the bush and long grass to some in the distance. This was accomplished with no injury to photographer or wildlife.

The Lost City The Lost City Corey thought this one was a robot
Magnetic termite mounds Magnetic termite mounds

Florence Falls was the next sight to see. It was very busy and we couldn't park in the main carpark although this ended up being a good thing as we parked in the picnic area and took the Sandy Creek Walk down to the falls. This walk took us through some woodlands and then along a creek with several little bridges. Very pleasant. Enjoyed a swim in the plunge pool at the base of the falls. It seemed a little warmer than Wangi Falls but the fish were a bit of a worry nipping at your legs occasionally. Later a girl threw some bread in and there were at least 50 milling around for a morsel. The walk back to the car was back up 135 steps. We thought there were some very unlikely looking people making their way down the steps, we wondered if they had thought about the climb back up again. Taking the Sandy Creek Walk back would have been easier but still mostly uphill.
Florence Falls Playing in pools The falls from a lookout

A little further back up the road was Buley Rockhole, a series of cascades that you could lounge in. Some sections were quite deep and people were jumping into them. Sitting near one sunning himself was a water monitor, not too fazed by all these people in his habitat. After staying long enough to have wrinkly hands and feet, we headed for home, stopping at Tolmer Falls for a quick look. This falls was quite high but not much water running and for a decent photo we would have needed to be there a bit earlier so the sunlight was shinning right down into the pool at the bottom. Back home for a simple sausage in bread and steak sandwich tea. Straight to bed to hide from the bugs again.

Boys lazing in the water Mum and boys in a faster section Buley cascades Water Monitor

DAY 24 - Wangi Falls to Darwin (235 kms)

Woke early but didn't want to turn on lights because of the bugs. Waited to about 7am when there was enough light to have breakfast and pack up. Found our way out to Lee Point Caravan Park. Apparently you can't book a site and this seems feasible as there didn't seem to be any system in place. They did have good bays for bus's and big 5th Wheelers. We got possibly the last powered site and it was very nice, under a big shady tree. The extra power cable we had bought when searching for a solution to our power problem came in handy as our power point was miles away. There were 6 water hoses coming off the one supply using a variety of plumbing solutions. After getting organised we went in search of the Casarina Shopping Centre as we'd promised Corey MacDonalds but we were keen on something else ourselves and a "food court" seemed a good thing. Brendan and Corey got their Maccas (and the all important toy), and we had something a little healthier.

Nige was keen to go to the Aviation Museum to see the B52 aeroplane on display. Wandered around looking as various exhibits and watched a video about the B52 sitting underneath it. Glenda, not a plane person at all, even enjoyed it. $30 (family) to get in though is a bit stiff. Back at the park we tested out the swimming pool. It was refreshing (a bit on the cold side) so enjoyed it since we were all pretty hot. For tea Nige had leftover (from lunch) noodles, Brendan and Corey had 2 minute noodles and Glenda pasta & sauce noodles. Noodles all round!

Mirage jet fighter B52 bomber B52 tail The cockpit

DAY 25 - Darwin (75 kms)

Went to feed the fish at Aquascene. For many years someone had been feeding the fish at this spot and now they've made it into a tourist trap. Only $22 for the family to get in. They had bread which you held in the water and the fish would eat it from your fingers. Despite the $22 it was a good activity. A bit of a drive around town to see the wharf area and main CBD. Bought some barra and chips for lunch which we had at a lovely park we'd spied up the road. thought about going back for the rest of our $3 chips that they obviously forgot to put in our package... there weren't many chips for $3! The boys had a good play on the playground. A Corey in a playground is a happy Corey!

Fish feeding

Back at the caravan park, Glenda and the boys had a swim while Nige tried to update this website. It has proven difficult to get quality internet that's suitable to upload files (photos). Most won't allow you to plug the laptop in and some won't even allow putting a USB key in. This C.P. was one of them. There's a separate Tour Office which did allow laptops but they were shutting in a few minutes which wasn't much use. Headed off to try to find an Internet cafe. Ended up in the library but their firewall didn't allow me to log onto my sites admin area. Took 1/2hr to find a way to do it and then the final upload of files crashed and failed to upload with minutes of my time left. Walked away grumpy and vowed not to update the website unless had laptop plugged into a good broadband connection.

After an evening meal of Stroganoff & vegies, we trooped of to see a digjeridu demonstration. The man showed and explained how they made them. After much discussion we selected two to buy. Being different lengths, they make different sounds. Now all we have to do is learn how to play them.

Making a didjeridu Finishing the woodwork by shaping the mouthpiece How much fun is this

DAY 26 - Darwin (65 kms)

Quiet morning, lunch and a swim before heading into the Mindil Beach Sunset Market. It was very popluar and car parking was being directed by people. We liked how they lined up the rows, with big gaps between them. At Melbourne events they would have had an extra 2 rows of cars in the gaps!

Since we were going to have tea here, were wandered up and down the food vendors. There was a wide selection of cusines but a lot of Asian varieties. We selected some Thai noodles, satay chicken sticks, hot chips, spicy battered squid and rice, washed down with some Coke. It was quite expensive, that lot adding up to about $45 and it wasn't as if we had any leftovers. We wandered around watching some of the buskers then watched the sun set over the water. Corey had a long awaited ride on a pony. The contraption the ponies were walking around could have been called a clothes horse as it looked a bit lick a "Hills Hoist" clothes line. We watched a man 'paint' using spray cans and bits of torn paper as masks. Decided to buy one of his works depicting Australia, Uluru, kangaroos and a few other things.

Pony ride Singer Army Band
Spray can artist Sunset

DAY 27 - Darwin to Merl Campground near Ubirr ( kms)

Had booked a "Jumping crocodiles" tour and were told to allow 1 & 1/2 hrs but it took about 45minutes so we had awhile to wait. A goanna wandered by and a tree frog amused everyone.

Goanna Frog

Boarded the boat and it was minutes when we had our first crocodile along side ready to jump for his snack of buffalo. The 2nd croc was called Tripod because he had lost a leg in a fight. Each of the crocs must have known they were going to get two morsels each as after they had done their jumping act on each side of the boat, they swam away. Scotty at 5m was the biggest croc in this part of the river and he did look big. The guide threw some meat cubes into the water and the Whistling Kites swooped in for a clean pickup. Some caught them mid-air, seagull and hot chip style.

Big guy Little guy doing a high jump 5M long Scotty

Stopped for lunch at Fogg Dam which was a dam made to water rice growing. It was covered in birds. Saw a bush fire along the way to Jaburi. Lots of Kites and Hawks were 'shopping' for lunch along the edges where little animals must have been running from the fire. Glenda took an amusing photo of some "Britz's", a popular campervan. Some campgrounds are full of the things. We went in search of the post office but couldn't see any signs so drove on to the Merl campgrounds near Ubirr.

Fogg Dam Water bird 5M long Scotty

After setting up camp we drove down to Cahill's Crossing, the river crossing into Arnham Land. Was hoping a car would cross for a photo but one zoomed across while extracting the camera from the bag and the photo was missed. Didn't have time to wait around for another as it was approaching sunset and we wanted to view the rock art at Ubirr first. The rock art was interesting but not as vivid as photo's seen in books or on TV. Guess it's been there long enough to fade a bit, although it's lasted a bit longer than the average inkjet print! For the sunset, we sat at the top of Ubirr with lots of other people. It was plesant enough but our stomachs were talking so we rushed back to camp for a quick snag fest and oranges for desert. There was a major bug problem so we kept the lights off and dived into bed as 8:15pm

Awaiting sunset Roack formation on Ubirr Sunset over floodplains

on to UPDATE 5 - Days 28 to 29