DAY 28 - Merl Campground to Cooinda (101 kms)

Quick stop at Jaburi to visit the post office, which we found this time, and some supplies at the supermarket. Corey came out with a crocodile toy he has named 'Scotty' after the big jumping croc we saw. We originally intended to stop the night at a campground but decided the Cooinda Caravan Park and their pool seemed to inviting so headed there. Got the last powered site which happened to be right next to the fish cleaning table but the smell wasn't too bad so we took it. Glenda ran off to book a cruise on Yellow Waters billabong. The 4:30pm cruise was recommended by the C.P. manager as the birds are more active which sounded feasable to us.

The cruise was very entertaining and in minutes we were parked next to a large croc sunning itself. We were dubious about it's authenticty as it repeataly opened it's mouth and blinked it's eyes. We thought the boat driver/guide had a remote control unit until the croc decided to go for a swim! He was definently real! Later we saw many birds, more crocs and enjoyed the sunset floating back to the dock.

yawn swimming
Cormorant Heron Jaburi
Paper Bark trees sunset

DAY 29 - Nourlangie Rock and Culture Tour (60 kms)

Drove to Nourlangie Rock and viewed the rock art. Some of this rock art was a lot younger than others, just 'thousands' of years old. Some was quite vibrant. Listened to a ranger, Russell, give a talk about one scene and a explaination about Aboriginal skin names and family relationships. Quite complex and the concept of multiple aunts, nephews, etc of all different ages and the implications was daunting. He also mentioned you could end up with multiple mother-in-laws! Walked up to a lookout and saw the rock that was in his story about the painting. Raced back to the camper for a light lunch then went over to the Cooinda Lodge Bar for some hot chips (very nice but very expensive) to round out lunch. Corey was chomping away when he lost his 1st tooth. Mum was able to capture it before it went the way of the chips and the tooth fairy eventually found the offering.

Corey looses 1st tooth

After lunch we had booked on a 'cultual tour' to go out and spend the afternoon and evening with an aboriginal lady, Patsy, to learn about some of the traditional ways of food gathering and cooking. It was a long day and in summary we, gathered sheets of paper bark, dug for freshwater mussels, ate wild figs and dried wild bananas, ate green tree ants, plucked a magpie goose and watched Patsy dig for yams (hard work!). Along the way to the cooking site, we gathered wood for the fire and palm fronds for making string. Once the fires were well underway, Patsy prepared the various items for cooking. We had billy tea and the women (and Corey) learnt how to make string out of the palm leaves while the others tried to throw a spear with a woomera. The food was cooked and we sampled the Magpie Goose, Barramundi, Crocodile, Buffalo, Wild pig, Yams, damper and some potatoes. We only found 4 of the mussels and let those with the desire to try them have them... we weren't keen. We were nearly finished eating when a herd of water buffalo came past quite nearby and we were ushered into the vehicle. Patsy and the guide were quite serious and concerned about them. Overall a facinating and memorable experience.

finding freshwater mussels tasing wild figs
plucking the Magpie goose eating Green tree ants digging up a yam
throwing spear making string preparing food eating

on to UPDATE 6 - Days 30 to 34