I have to be a bit quicker with these postings today as I need to get ready for the return to school tomorrow! First photo shows us at the Tropic of Capricorn.... a pre sunrise shot at about 7am.
Our driver joked that we were on the "servo tour" to Darwin... ("servo" being the oz word for petrol stations.)
We had some 1500km to cover in 3 days.
These next two shots were taken at "Devil's Marbles". These are old granite rocks that overtime have eroded along cracks.
Banka Banka station was our campsite for Day 6. Big open spaces. Here is a tree at sunset taken at our campsite.
Our campsite outside Katherine on Day 8 felt very remote.... especially when we arrived to find it surrounded by fire!!!! However, it was a 'controlled burn'. We passed many of these over the next few days as we reached the "Top End". Aboriginal people have used fire for tens of thousands of years. Some trees need fire to help their seeds germinate alive. Many trees are fire tolerant. Some non fire-tolerant trees take over if they are not controlled. And a big reason up here for 'spot' burning at this time of year, early in the 'dry season', is that it protects against devastating huge wildfires later in the year. The controlled fires are lit under Aboriginal guidance when the grass etc is at the right point to catch but then burn itself out, as the burn is quite "cold". Later in the year, the fires become much hotter and more engulfing. Anyhow, it was a little strange going to bed knowing there had been fires right close to our campsite during the day.... but all was well.
The last photo here is here just because my mother's maiden name was Lalor!
And I have no photos of the most exciting part of these three days: on Day 9 we had only 300 or so km to get to Darwin.... and we spent three hours in the morning, canoeing on the Katherine Gorge. Wonderful! They had containers for gear that you could take on board the kayak.... but I am such a klutz I fully expected to overturn the kayak at some stage getting in or out of it. The kayak was more stable than a canoe though so I never managed that! I am quite glad I never overturned it: there are freshwater crocs in the Gorge. OK OK I know these ones can't kill us like the salties... but if I accidentally annoyed one.... Katherine Gorge had not been reopened for canoeing that long either. In the wet season there are huge floods in this part of Oz, and the salt water crocs manage to swim into other waterways, as they can actually survive in both salt and very low-salt waters. They do thorough surveys / trapping etc before they reopen Katherine Gorge each year..... but......
Finally we arrived in Darwin to stay at the Cavenagh. My first impression was OMG! The music was rocking, the crowds had been drinking...how on earth was I going to sleep for my next early start!!!!! However, it turned out that the music just rocked until 7pm. The place was very welcoming and I scored a four person bunkroom with a very comfy bed. Also, when I asked about getting an airport shuttle from there on my return from Kakadu, even though I wasn't staying another night, I was assured that was fine... and I could have a shower and store my luggage for free too, until I was ready to go to the airport. Great stuff Cavenagh, thanks!