Thursday, 16 June 2016

Episode 50 - Road Trip Part 3 - Northern Territory

Lorelei’s Sailing Outback Adventures

Welcome to Episode 50


We are having a short break from Sailing for 8 weeks and are on a Road Trip across Australia with Paul’s parents George and Chez.
During episodes 48 and 49 we had travelled over 5500 km from Sydney, through NSW, South Australia and into the Northern Territory and Central Australia.
At the end of Episode 49 we were in Alice Springs.
We had already been in Alice for 4 days and had done a series of walks at the East & West Macdonald Ranges and done some excellent 4WDing at Palm Valley.

Our route for this Episode of the Blog.

For our last 3 days in Alice Springs we did some different activities from the ever popular walks in the Macdonald Ranges.

We spent one morning looking around the town centre, visiting art galleries and Todd Mall.

Anzac Hill has some fantastic views over the town and the ranges.

One day we went to the Alice Springs Desert Park.
The idea was to spend the morning there and do something else in the afternoon.
Well that didn’t happen and at 4pm we finally walked out after an excellent day of activities.

The highlight for Paul was the Bird Show. It is on twice daily and Paul went to both the morning and afternoon show!
It featured a series of Australian Outback Birds and the mountain ranges in the background were perfect for natural photos.

We also paid a little extra for the private Wedgetail Eagle experience.
We had seen a few in the wild (mainly on the side of the road eating road kill) so it was great to get up close and learn about these huge birds.

The Nocturnal House is the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere and was Lisa’s highlight for the day.
We were able to watch a Death Adder Snake being fed a mouse.
They only feed them about once every 3 weeks so it was great timing.

 Going, Going, Almost, Gone…..

There were lots of other exhibits that we visited and the large walk through bird aviaries were a highlight.

Our last activity in Alice Springs was to do an afternoon walk out at Trephena Gorge.
We did a walk around the rim before walking back to the car park via the gorge floor.

Paul’s version of a selfie – A silhouette selfie!!

Trephina is home to the largest Ghost Gum Tree in Australia and it estimated to be over 300 years old and stands over 35 meters high.
It is heritage listed!!

It was nearly sunset when we left and the 100km run back to Alice Springs was a cautious one with lots of livestock on the roadside.

We left Alice Springs after a great week and were restocked, refueled, recuperated and ready to tackle the next leg north which was going to be go, go, go.

We passed Aileron Station which is an Aboriginal Community on the way north.
It had 2 huge statues of an Aboriginal man and a woman & child.

We stopped at Barrow Creek for morning tea and to have a look at the Historic Telegraph Station which was built in 1872.

Wycliffe Wells was unusual to say the least.
Its claim to fame is it is the UFO capital of Australia and the locals firmly believe the area is subject to Extra Terrestrial Activity.
The whole place centres around it and everything is painted accordingly.

The most unusual Australia Post Mail Box we have seen….

We were pretty excited about visiting The Devils Marbles and it far exceeded any expectations we had.
It was certainly a highlight of the entire trip.

The camping area was right at the base of one of the main areas of round marble shaped rocks.

On the first afternoon we walked up into the rocky areas to get certain rock formations with the afternoon sun setting on them.

George and Chez in the foreground gives you some idea of the balancing rocks immense size.

Post sunset looked great from the rocks with the blue and pink glow on the horizon behind the camping area.

It was an exceptionally clear night and Paul was able to do a series of night and star trail photos.

Paul wasn’t in bed for long before he was amongst the rocks again in the dark and well before daylight.
It was the time of the full moon and the glow made for some great time exposure photos and some fun light painting of the rocks.

Lisa decided to join Paul for a walk after sunrise and they took some fun photos around the rocks.

We continued further north and broke the long drive up by stopping at some heritage sites.

We had a look at a series of wells built in the later 1800’s and The Glenn Maggie Homestead which was a store to cater for drovers and gold miners in the remote area.

We stopped for lunch at the well-known Threeways intersection.
It is the major intersection for vehicles wanting to leave the Stuart Highway and head east to Queensland.
The roadhouse had the best Hamburgers we have had in a very long time.

There was a clever mural on the side wall of the roadhouse with a real bull bar attached to the wall.

Outside we saw a great road train.
We had seen hundreds of them as long as 4 trailers and 54m/180ft in length but this one was immaculate and had great murals of horses on the side with wild red eyes. Hence the rig’s name “Crazy Horse”.
Guess he was a Neil Young fan…..

We were planning to go on to Elliott but the night before George and Chez spoke to their friends Dennis & Barb on the phone and they recommended a spot out from Elliott called Longreach Lagoon.
After all the rain it was well stocked with water and had the promise of lots of birdlife and free camping on the water’s edge.

Despite it being on private property, a dirt road in and not an advertised tourist area, it was busy with about 30 caravans and motorhomes spaced out around the lagoon.
Fortunately the young and noisy backpackers in Wicked Campers and European hired Britz motorhomes didn’t know about it and the Aussie Grey Nomads had the place clean, quiet, respectful and all to themselves.

It was a little unnerving getting the caravan through the tight spaces amongst the trees on the waters edge.

The evening was super still with no wind which created some nice reflections around sunset.

That night we had lots of wildlife around the tent from small marsupials to birds, lizards and frogs.

The next morning we woke to lots of birds around the lake including some noisy Galahs in the trees overhead.
The full moon was behind them still despite being 10am.

There were a lot of eagles and water birds hunting around the waters edge.

We pushed off again for another long drive north and stopped at the iconic Daly Waters Pub.
Inside the pub has loads of interesting memorabilia.

The servo (gas station) across the road is owned by the pub and is just as eccentric.

Daly Waters also has an old airstrip that has a lot of interesting history both pre and post WW2.
The Aircraft Hanger is the oldest hanger in the Northern Territory.

We then drove to Mataranka.
It was the last big single day of travelling (380km) as we were only 450km from Darwin and with 2 weeks of travelling still to go we could do smaller single day runs of around 100km or less before arriving in Darwin.

Mataranka has 2 claims to fame.
The oldest one is from a famous Australian book written about the area in 1902 called We of the Never Never.
It was later turned into a movie in 1985 and the replica Homestead built for the movie is an interesting tourist attraction.
Many of the streets, businesses and landmarks are named around the books characters, author, etc…

The second and more popular attraction are the Thermal Springs.
There are a few different spring systems in the area with the thermal ones (that are around 34 degrees C) being the most popular for swimming.

After a few recommendations George and Chez decided on booking into the Bitter Springs Caravan Park as it was walking distance to the Bitter Spring Thermal Pools.

The pools have a slight current running through them and you are able to drift through a narrow creek with natural banks, trees and wildlife before exiting at the end, walking back up the trail and drifting back down stream again.
Many people used pool noodles to keep buoyant in the crystal clear fresh water.

The start point for the drift down the creek

The beautiful finishing point - note the crystal clear water

The first swim we did there was a Sunday arvo and the local indigenous kids were there having fun.
We played with them and they thought it was great.

We visited Mataranka Pools and it was completely different!
It is a very structured thermal pool with rock and sandstone edging, in water seating and easy to stand depths.
Whilst we didn’t think too much of it, it was much more popular with the older grey nomads and those who were not confident swimmers.

Around Mataranka there are loads of Termite Mounds.
They range from grey to rich red colours and are up to 4m/13ft tall.

We found a small creek with some glassy water and the sun behind us. It allowed us to take a cool photo of the 4 of us on the bridge in shadow.

Mataranka has a large Indigenous population.
Prior to 2pm each day we would see the adult aborigines starting to gather in the park opposite the bottle shop.
They were quiet and everything was fine.
At 4pm it was a completely different scene. The bottle shop opens at 2pm and in they go for their daily dose of alcohol.
By 4pm they were obnoxious drunks in the park creating one hell of a scene.
It was just terrible!
We noticed lots of makeshift campsites around the park perimeter.

One quiet afternoon we headed to Bitter Springs Pool with Lisa’s new toy – Cassie the Caterpillar.
For those that have followed our overseas sailing adventures, you would know of Nessie the Loch Ness Monster – our huge inflatable toy that has entertained scores of children in the Pacific and Asian Countries.

Sadly we could not take her on this trip so our sister-in-law Hayley brought Lisa Cassie for this adventure and to be a friend for Nessie when returning to Lorelei.

We received some funny looks when walking down to the springs with Cassie but we didn’t care.
George and Lisa had a blast floating down the quiet springs.

Meanwhile Paul snorkelled under the banks with a dive torch looking for Turtles.
He found many and we took turns looking for them.

Not the best photo but with a point-and-shoot UW camera and a torch in very low light but it’s the best we got…

The photo below gives an indication of how clear the water was.

We found some nice Water Lilies still out despite it getting dark.

Lisa at the finish point - well after sunset and the only ones left swimming

On our last morning we headed to Territory Manor to watch the Barramundi Feeding Show which is on twice daily.

Lisa was very keen to feed one and she got her chance.

They are so quick to take the food it was hard to get a photo.
Ironically Paul had a camera set manually on 16 frames a second, high ISO speed, etc, etc… and took over 350 photos during the session.
Lisa had another camera set on auto and only took 6 photos.
She took the best photo of the day…..

The small dam had loads of beautiful Water Lillies that were an unusual colour to the more popular purple and white ones we have seen in the NT.

There were many Peacocks roaming around the area after the feeding show.

From Mataranka we headed north and stopped at the Cutta Cutta Caves to do a tour through the amazing Limestone caves.
We drove in at 9:52am, booked on for the 10am tour which took 75 minutes and were on the road again by 11:30am.
Talk about good timing!
The caves were incredible with lots of stalactites, stalagmites, columns and crystal that with the light shining on it created thousands of light points like stars.
Cutta Cutta in the local aboriginal language translates to “many stars”.
Michael the guide was excellent and let Paul lag behind the group with his camera, tripod and light painting torch to get the photos he wanted.

This section was called The Whales Belly

We stopped for lunch and re-provisioning at Katherine and by mid-afternoon were set up at Katherine Gorge which is located within the Nitmiluk National Park.
The campsite is run by the NT National Parks on behalf of the Jawoyn Aboriginal People and it has a relaxed feel to it.
It was 38 degrees C and we spent much of the afternoon and evening in the pool and photographing the wildlife around the park.

On dusk we had lots of birds and bats feeding overhead and Agile Wallabies coming in very close to our campsite.
Paul was in the tent typing this blog with a Wallaby only 1 meter away looking at him through the fly screen.

On our first full day we did a boat tour on Katherine Gorge.
Originally we really wanted to do a full day kayak tour but there was issues with the water levels and Estuarine (Saltwater) Crocodiles in the gorge so the kayaking was indefinitely suspended until the water levels changed and the croc issue was under control.

We had to walk through a park to get to the boat dock.
The trees in the park were full of sleeping bats.

One large 2.5m long Olive Python had climbed the tree and caught one of the bats.
The bat let go and they both fell to the ground.
The snake then constricted the bat until it was dead and then ate it.
It was great to watch and it took about 30 minutes to completely swallow it.

There were also Kookaburras feeding at the park.

The boat tour was excellent.
We booked onto a 3 gorge tour which was 3.5 hours and included swimming.

The tour involved a boat ride on the first gorge to the end and then we had to disembark and walk over the rocks to gorge 2 to join the next boat.

On the walk we had a look at a series of large Aboriginal paintings that were a long way up the cliff face.

It was the same for the 2nd gorge – a boat ride followed by a walk.
The gorge was narrower and much nicer with the famous Jedda Rock along the way.

Gorge 3 was only 1km long so it was a quick 3rd boat ride.

The walk up to the swimming hole at the end of gorge 3 gave us some nice views over the gorge.

The swimming hole was very refreshing as it was a very hot 38 degrees C.

There was a waterfall at the end of the waterhole and a cave behind it that was filled with lots of dragonflies.

On the way home we spotted a few smaller crocodiles.

For our last full day, just the 2 of us got up early to tackle a long walk to Jedda Rock.
It was about a 10km round trip but with the uneven rocky walking conditions and the maximum daily temperature of 38 degrees, it was going to be a challenge.

We stopped at the first lookout to see the gorge tourist boats leaving for the morning tours.

The next stop was Pat’s Lookout which was 4km from the start.
It had terrific views over the end of the first gorge.

The last stop was at the top of Jedda Rock.
The track was well worn to Pat’s Lookout but not very well used and difficult to spot from Pat’s to Jedda Rock.
It seems the further the trails are from the Information Centre Base, the less they are used.

On the way home we saw some nice Red Gum Trees.
After seeing loads of the amazing Ghost Gums further south, it was a nice change.

We also saw our first 2 Boab Trees.
The trees are Endemic to Western Australia’s Kimberly Region but over time they have spread a little and these are at the extent of that radius.

On our last night we had a great dinner around the pool.
The meals at the poolside restaurant were excellent.

From Katherine we ventured just 1 hours’ drive north to Edith Falls.
Like Katherine Gorge, Edith Falls is part of the Nitmiluk National Park.

The camp site was cheap but excellent with lush grass and private roomy sites.

Edith Falls has 2 swimming areas – the larger lower pool and the upper pools.
For the first day we went to the lower pool for a refreshing swim.

There were a lot of fish in the pool that would nibble on your feet.

By 2pm it was over 40 degrees C!
Everyone was crashed out and lying somewhere in the shade to escape the extreme heat.
The camp sites were unpowered so the larger caravans that had air-conditioning could not use them.

Despite the heat, Paul decided to tackle the 2.7km round loop walk up to the top pools at around 4pm.
The view from the first lookout was stunning.

He had a great swim and a look around the top pools before returning to camp, raving about the top pool and insisting we stay another day to explore the top area.

So the next morning the 4 of us were up early to beat the heat and off we headed towards the top pool.
We did the reverse direction to Paul’s walk the arvo before and had a look at some other lookouts.

When swimming in the top pools we found a sinkhole that had water running into it.
After a little searching with a mask and snorkel, Paul found an underwater tunnel linking the main pool to the sink hole.
He was able to freedive through it and up into the sinkhole.
George was up the top and looking down with the camera.

We also had a swim at one of the waterfalls and after a little searching, realised you could get in behind it with the water cascading over you.
It was a hard swim to get in behind it though.

Looking back out from behind the waterfall

We took some more shots on the way back down looking over the campground, flood plain and the ranges in the background.

By the time we got back to camp it was well over 40 degrees again.
All we could see across the camp ground was people sleeping under trees and hiding in the shade.
It was simply too hot to do anything else.

Ironically it was also the first day of Winter!
It was so unseasonably hot it was ridiculous.
We were calling friends in Darwin who were saying it was hotter than a normal peak summers day.
Those feeling it the worst were the Grey Nomads (older retired travellers in caravans or motorhomes).
A large percentage were from the southern states and just not used to the searing heat.
Many were turning around and heading south to escape the extreme conditions and virtually everyone was talking about it.

We drove north early the next day and stopped at Pine Creek to have a look.
They had an unusual Resort Complex that was built in the shape of a train and station.
The interior was very well done and the Mango smoothies were a cold welcome treat.

We then went to the world renowned Kakadu National Park.
Kakadu is run by the federal government unlike most other parks in the northern NT area that are state run.
It showed in the prices which were frightfully expensive.
Ironically we went to the information centre at 11am to find the place closed.
We didn’t get tickets but it also meant we could not find out info about the road conditions within the park.
Many roads are dirt, some are 4WD only and some were even closed still since the summer months due to high water levels and crocodiles.
We were not happy….

So we entered the park and took our chances with the roads.

The first stop was Gunlom falls.
The traditional owners – The Jawoyn Aboriginal People, call Gunlom and the surrounding area “Sickness Country” due to its high levels of Uranium, Arsenic, Mercury and Lead.

It was 37km of dirt road and in some spots it was heavily corrugated.
It was very dusty from the heat but still there were water crossings.

Sometimes the road was narrow and we had to wait to for cars coming in the opposite direction.

We could stop on the small bridges and take in scenery of the creeks and rivers.

It took 1.5 hours to transit the 37km and we found a few broken drinking glasses and displaced shelves in the caravan upon arrival.
The camp grounds were basic but very expensive and cost more for the unpowered dusty camp spot than it did at a 4 star caravan park site anywhere else.

The upside was the delightful swimming holes both at camp level and up above the waterfalls.

The lower one was fantastic for families with great views of the large waterfall on the other side.

The day use area had some great looking Redgum trees.

The top pools were only a 1km walk but it was a steep scramble up a goat track that was very rocky.

The reward was a series of pools, waterfalls and stunning scenery and an infinity pool overlooking the campground and lower pool.

At the infinity pool we witnessed our first major accident of the trip.
A young lady in a bikini was walking along the lip of the infinity pool when she slipped and fell.
By chance the 4 of us were right on the edge of the pool and less than a meter from her when she slipped.
Lisa desperately tried to lunge out and grab her but she landed in the rushing water and went over the waterfall.
The noise when she hit the rocks below was terrible.
Paul was the first to look over and was horrified to find her with red marks and blood all over with the worst part being her face.

Thankfully there were a few medically trained people on hand as well as a guide with a sat phone and a decent first aid kit.

They were able to assist her back up for treatment and 40 minutes later a helicopter arrived to pick her up.

At the infinity pool ledge just minutes before the fall

George had his camera sitting on a rock near the edge of the infinity pool.
When Lisa lunged, she pushed a wave of water right over the camera.
Fortunately it was fresh water and in the extreme heat it dried out.
It’s still working – so far…..

On the way down we could see a large Termite mound down on the valley floor so we went into the bush land to have a look.

Just before sunset, Paul went back up on his own to photograph the sunset from the pools.
He was the only one up there and was able to get some great photos.

Using the timer and tripod, Paul was able to put himself into some of the photos.

Going back down in pitch blackness was a little daunting.
Paul had his powerful light painting torch but it was the only one with no back up so he switched it to 40% power to conserve batteries.
George, Chez and Lisa said they could see the flashes and light painting at the top from the campsite and Pauls light as he transited back down the steep trail.

The first night in the campground was so busy but the next night it was virtually empty so Paul took some time exposure shots of George, Chez and Lisa at the campsite with the stars and Milky Way above.

From there we went deeper into Kakadu and stopped at Cooinda.
We had heard reports about the resort/caravan park being expensive, crowded with tiny sites and a quick walk around confirmed this.
So we had a walk around the billabong before moving on.

 We went onto Jabiru where it was much better at The Aurora Lodge so we booked in for a week and used it as a base to explore in all directions.

Early one morning we went and did a ranger guided walk at the Nanguluwur Rock Art Site.
It was a 4km hike into the rock areas and Christian our guide was fantastic.

The Aboriginal Rock Artworks were much better than we had anticipated.
It was incredible to see artwork stretching from 40 000 years ago right up until the 1960’s.

Christian with his timeline scroll explaining the history of the paintings
Note the amazing rock art behind him

We were able to get very close to view and photograph the paintings.

Lisa underneath the large overhanging rock ledge that protects the paintings

We went up to Ubirr which is the extreme east side of the park and shares a border with Arnhem Land.
The most exciting place there for the tourists is Cahills Crossing.
This is a weir across the East Alligator River that separates Kakadu from Arnhem Land.
The weir has a huge amount of water flowing back and forwards over it depending on the tide.
The best time to visit is 1 hour before high tide and stay for the tide turn.

The water was screaming over the crossing when we arrived.

The crocodiles were patrolling the river but were also getting tossed about in the fast flowing water.

As the tide started to slow, vehicles turned up on both sides of the river waiting for the right moment to cross.

The first to cross was a large 4WD tourist bus that had very high clearance.
There were still crocodiles on the weir as the truck came through.

George took this photo – note the Crocodile in the path of the truck

Then the larger 4WD’s proceeded to cross from both sides.

This 4WD had a lady driving and no passengers – she got a lot of cheers and thumbs up from the female tourists watching from the bank

Then the action went up a notch when a 2WD Toyota Camry station wagon full of Aborigines turn up to cross. They had water well over the bonnet.

We went to the border store for a look before heading to the walking trail to do the Ubirr rock art walk and floodplain sunset.
There were lots of Screw Palms on the side of the tracks.

The rock art was very extensive with some sections having a large amount of artwork.

One rock overhang was huge and was packed with art of all sizes.

These are the 2 paintings that have experts stumped.
One is a Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) which has been extinct from the area for a very, very long time and the second is an Emu style bird that is painted on the right of the second photo.
It has been extinct for an estimated 38 000 years. The oldest rock art in the world is in Africa and is estimated at 42 000 years old.
This artwork could possibly have been created around this time or even before!

As we walked up the path to the lookout Paul found a rock art site with holes within the rock that had the sun shining through it if you got the angles just right.
Many people were walking straight past as they couldn’t see it.

The lookout from the top was simply amazing.
Dad and Chez had been there before but didn’t say too much to spoil the surprise.
We were not exactly sure what to expect – but we didn’t except that!!!
It was like looking over the African Savannah.
Everybody within earshot was saying the same thing.

We watched the sunset over the savannah plain.

The highlight for George was taking us to his favourite place in Kakadu, The Billabong at Cooinda where we did the Yellow Water Sunset Cruise.

It was glassy flat when we boarded the boat.

The tour took us along parts of the billabong and the West Alligator River.
We saw some big crocs and loads of birdlife.

George took this awesome shot of a large Crocodile stalking a Jabiru

Above and below are an adult and baby Jacana Bird.
They have huge feet to stand on the lily pads.

The sun set over the billabong whilst we were still on the boat.
We had a great view through the trees and over the water.

Paul’s favourite shot of the day was the last one he took…..

We did one last guided tour of the Nourlangie Rock Art.
Christian (The excellent guide from the previous tour) was supposed to do it but we were disappointed to hear he was ill and had a replacement who was not nearly as good. Additionally there were 36 people so after 20 frustrating minutes we veered left when the rest of the group went right and did the walk ourselves in the opposite direction.

In the centre of Jabiru is the famous Crocodile Hotel presently run by the Mecure Group.
It is hard to envisage the shape from the ground due to its immense size, but an aerial photo shows the unique shape.
We took some funny photos of us being inside the mouth with the eye in the background.

Inside the foyer are Aboriginal Artists painting artworks that are for sale.

There is a lot of amazing artworks on the walls and the foyer has some other interesting features.

On our last afternoon in Kakadu we took a trip out to a bird hide at a Billabong.
It was late in the afternoon and the time and sun location was perfect for photos.
The only issue was there were hardly any birds.
If there were as many birds as flies and mosquitos then it would have been awesome…..

On the way home from the bird hide we spotted a Dingo running across the road in front of the car with what looked like a large white bird in its mouth.

Paul gave chase on foot into the bushland and found it but it had hidden its meal from him.

Being the dry season, the National Park Rangers had started a burning program that is very beneficial for the park. They create small spot fires with many being along the road side.

As we neared Jabiru, we could see the sun setting along the road behind the car.
The road was lit up bright red.
We found the arrows on the road glowed white from the camera flash which certainly made for an alternate sunset photo – particularly when cars roared past at 100km per hour.

For our last stop before reaching our final destination of Darwin, we stopped for 2 days at the Corroboree Billabong.

On the way from Kakadu to Corroboree we stopped into Bark Hut to have something to eat at the Iconic Bark Hut Inn.

The Corroboree Pub and Caravan Park has a large 5m Crocodile called Brutus.
Every time we have been there he has been hiding in his water hole so we were excited to see him one morning out on the grass.

We did a sunset cruise on the Corroboree Billabong that was fantastic.
It was half the price of the one we did in Kakadu and just as good.
The boat was able to go into tight areas full of lilies with lots of birds and other wildlife.

The billabong has the highest concentration of Crocodiles per square kilometre anywhere in the world.
We saw some sunning themselves on the banks and were able to get very close.

The area is very popular with anglers catching Barramundi and Saratoga.

The sunset photo opportunities were actually better than the Kakadu cruise!!

On the way home we had a sad experience and hit a Wallaby that bounded across in front of the car.
It came out of nowhere in the dark and we didn’t even have time to brake before hitting it.
Fortunately we broke its neck and it died instantly.
George and Lisa pulled it off the road and Paul inspected the car for damage only to find a bent number plate giving a good indication that it went straight under the centre of the car.
We were a little less concerned to find it was a male and didn’t have a pouch with a baby joey as we had seen many females with joeys in the past few weeks.

The lights of the car illuminating the road gave an unusual view over the last remaining glow of the day.

That night we were in the Corroboree Pub having dinner (and watching the Wallabies playing England in the Rugby) when Clint and Jackson our friends who own Marrakai Station walked in.
It was great to catch up and they offered us a trip to visit the station the following day which we gladly accepted.

As we drove back into the camping area (which is behind the pub) we were amazed to see 100’s of Wallabies grazing on the lush green grass of the campsites.
There were dozens of very tiny ones only 30-50cm tall.

It certainly had been a mixed afternoon and evening of Wallabies!!

Marrakai Station backs onto the Corroboree Lagoon and is a huge property of over 550 square kilometres. It has the largest wetland of any private property in the Northern Territory.
We had been there before but it was a first for George and Chez.
It was very different from our first experience there 9 weeks ago.
The water had receded a lot since the wet season and due to the hot conditions.
Once again we took Jackson’s super fun old-school landcruiser to bash around the property.

Clint also took the quad bike.
Paul stole it for most of the day, but we all got to ride it.

MA-Rated Termite Mound……

Clint and Lisa even went chasing Water Buffalo on it.
We could hear the hoots and hollers from the landcruiser!

Some of the male Water Buffalo were fighting with each other.

The biggest highlight was the thousands of birds down at the wetland area.
There were large flocks of Burdekin Ducks, Whistling Ducks and Magpie Geese.

The dry cracked land on the wetlands was a stark contrast to when we were there last.

The wetlands are beautiful down on the water’s edge.

There were loads of cattle grazing both in the forested areas and down near the wetlands.

All through the long grass were Grasshoppers and Dragonflies.

We got back to the Pub at 8pm after a full on day at the Station.
We were nearly falling asleep in our dinner plates.

On the 13th June we finally arrived in Darwin and back on-board Lorelei by the afternoon.

Overall it was a sensational trip and even more special to share it with family.
We drove almost 8000km through the 3 states of NSW, SA and NT in 7 weeks.
Paul took over 225000 photos and it has covered 3 blog posts.
Overall (besides hitting the Wallaby on the 3rd last day and watching the girl go over the waterfall) it was an incident free trip and the Toyota Prado and Caravan never missed a beat.
George’s OZ Tent which we slept in was excellent and very quick to set-up.

Whilst it is the end of the road trip, it is only half way through our time with Paul’s parents George and Chez.

It is going to be a busy week of setting Lorelei up for the 4 of us to move
on-board and do the massive re-provision for the 3-4 months we are going to be in The Kimberly region in the remote NW of Australia.
George and Chez are on-board for 6 weeks of that time for a one-way trip from Darwin to Broome through The Kimberly.

So that’s it for our 3rd and last Road Trip post.
It’s been a special 50th Episode and we return to Sailing for the 51st Episode which will be from Broome in around 6-7 weeks’ time.

There is no telephone or internet in The Kimberly (it is very remote) so we will all be out of contact until early August.
Cool Huh!!!!

Paul and Lisa Hogger
George and Chez Hogger – now on-board Lorelei and breaking out the seasick tablets……..

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