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OUR BIG TRIP



DAY    72       Wednesday   19th   June

 

The Castles left a little earlier than the rest of us as they had some different places on their agenda than the rest.  After breakfast we headed out to the location of the “Lost City” which is a large space filled up with sand stone Lego.  These rocks have been exposed to the elements of rain, wind and time, where the soft sand rock is washed, or blown away, from hard rock surface leaving rocks standing and looking just like buildings of a huge city at dusk, complete with doors and windows in the walls.   Most amazing place.  The track out to the City was marked as 4WD ONLY, but was not too bad in condition for our trip.

Before leaving the car park at the Lost City we had smoko and then proceeded to our next stop,  Florence Falls, which was very busy.  We could hear the sound of water falling a great distance but did not see any sign of the water until we had descended about 160 steps to the bottom of the gorge.  This view was from a movie set, just magic, all these cliffs closing into the water and the twin falls cascading into the plunge pool.  Well Bruce could not contain himself, he just threw off his shirt and in.  We all photographed him before he was ready to come out and then decided to head up a different path instead of climbing all those steps.  This path was some more magic, one moment we were walking in a tropical oasis, the next we were walking in an Aussie bush scene.  We did arrive at the car park and found a table alongside the creek  to have our picnic lunch at before making our way to the next stop of Buley Rockholes, a series of water holes covering about 100 to 200 metres where all could play or swim to cool down.

Next stop was Tolmer Falls, the highest in Litchfield, but they can only be looked at from a viewing platform at the end of a long paved track.  What a view that was though.  It seems that there is no swimming in this particular hole as a couple of colonies of rare and endangered ghost bats and Orange Horshoe bats, have made a cave at the bottom of the falls their home.

Back to camp for Happy Hour before returning to Wangi Falls for a slide presentation and general talk on the Litchfield Park and its environment, plants, animals and the Rangers duties.  Back to camp for tea and bed.  What a big day was had.  Thanks Derek and Bruce for your guiding.

 

DAY     73   Thursday      20th     June

 

Pack up this morning and departed from Litchfield Park at 9.30am and proceeded  to Batchelor for cuppa and leg stretch.  Continued to Adelaide River where we booked into the Mt Bundy Station C/P, a working  cattle station, where after setting up vans and some lunch we went exploring the town.

This town was a very important supply area for the war effort after the bombing of Darwin in 1942. We looked at some old power house foundations and an old dam, a rail bridge and an amazing cemetery where most, if not all the Australians killed at Darwin, were buried.  The Dutch and American casualties were returned to their own countries, so now only Australian, English and Canadian services men and women are still here.

We will continue this walk around Adelaide River tomorrow.  We then returned back to camp for happy hour.  Bruce began chasing up some wood and soon had a beautiful fire burning to cook his steak.     This entry then followed before bed.

 

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DAY   70   Monday    17th   June

 

All up and pack up.  As was said yesterday, today we leave the Darwin area and continue south to the Litchfield National Park.  We left the camp at a few minutes before 10.00am and stopped for a cuppa at Batchelor where we also did our first town walk in some time.  Not a great amount to see village wise, apart from a teaching institute for Aboriginals , and a great park , a pool and skate facilities, football ground, all nicely kept.  However, Bruce did manage to locate a gold box with four kisses on its sides.  Not bad hey?

Continuing into the National Park where we stopped at some Termite mounds.  Gee those little blokes must put in some hours !  Listened to a Park Ranger for a time before heading for the Litchfield Safari Camp and set up camp before eating some lunch.

Next was a drive of about 5 Km to Wangi Falls where we first looked at the swimming hole before heading off on a loop walk up and over the top of the twin falls, not much to see of the falls from there as the forest has grown up to hide any view.  After returning to the water hole, all but Neil went swimming in the very cold but wonderfully refreshing water.  We did, however, see one of the highlights of the trip walk down to this pool.

Headed to the Cascades, but found it a little late to walk the 1 Km + into the pools so left this for tomorrow.  Back to camp for happy hour and tea and type this wonderful story and bed.

 

 

DAY     71      Tuesday    18th   June

 

According to the advertising a Ranger was to be at the Bamboo Creek Tin Mine at 10.00am this morning to give a talk on the history and running of said mine.  Our group and about 10 others were there, but no Ranger, so we all waited another few minutes before deciding to take our own walk through the place and see if we could make a story. The lot of the group did their walk around and some had left, including ours, when the Ranger came down the track. We 3 cars did a 13 point U turn as the track was very narrow and followed Sam back into the car park.  He was very apologetic and told us he was still available if required. All agreed to do another walk around and some of the group had their stories correct.  We all agreed his version sounded the best.

Leaving the mine and turning left for two Km saw us at Walker Creek where we walked into the first of seven camping areas on the Creek. It was decided that as the temperature was again on the rise that we would do the promised visit to Cascades where a walk to the Lower of the Cascades would fill in just nice until lunch. This walk was very popular with our mob and also with a large amount of others who were coming and going all the time. Bruce, Derek and Virginia continued to the Upper Cascades and said it was also very good. Our picnic lunch was had in a sun shelter at the car park at Wongi Falls with a bus group who were having Barbq Buffalo Burgers in rolls with onion and pineapple. Derek wanted some.

Lunch finished it was decided to take the advice of the Ranger from the Tin Mine of this morning and drive a road only re- opened today after repairs caused during the wet. It was Reynolds River 4WD Track to Blyth Homestead.  Reaching this historic corrugated iron homestead entailed three river crossings, one of which was about 100 metre with a bend in the middle. Great fun was had by all the drivers and the photographers.  The homestead was built in 1929 by the Sergeant family and lived in by some of the 10 children who ran the property and also a tin mine just adjacent to the house.  This was called the Mount Tolmer Mine.

Those three river crossings were again the main attraction on the way back to the main road as we had decided to leave a four Km walk until tomorrow morning as the temperature was again above 30 c. This walk will be told about in tomorrow’s exciting episode.

Back to camp where the Castles caravan was sited next to Kollmorgens , but Martin and Rita turned up a few minutes after to re-unite the Gypsybusters and as it was almost happy hour, we sat at the Hales awning and caught up with the Castles travels before tea.   Bed was a little later after the dishes.

 

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OUR BIG TRIP



Day   69       Sunday    16    June

 

Sunday Egg and Bacon breakfast is tradition for some.  We then left the camp and explored where the Kollmorgens had been on Friday.  The Howard Springs Nature Reserve, and on Sunday morning it was full up with little kids, big kids and old kids, but they were all having fun.  Fun on the 2 Flying Fox  (twice as much fun), fun in the 5 or 6 splash pools that meander down from the water wall at the top, fun on the gym equipment, fun on the rock climbing wall, well I think you have the message…  FUN.

Just a few last minute shopping items to pick up on the way back to the camp for lunch.  Then Hales and Clarks set off for the air museum and then to the Mindil Sunset Market on the waterfront at Mindil Beach at dusk.  Kay and Neil decided to look around the beach and Casino area before meeting the rest at the market.  The meeting of groups finished and repeated several times during the evening as group A met and re-met group B before group B left for the return to camp while group A continued to investigate the looks and smells of the markets.  Really is a nice place.  The weather was also kind, not so hot for a change, but still fairly warm.

Car wash was carried out at camp on return and happy hour was late.  That also made tea late, but bed was really appreciated.  Tomorrow we move a little south to Litchfield Safari Camp for a few days.

 

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Day   68     Saturday   15th   June

 

Hales, Kollmorgens and Clarks in usual formation turned South from the van park and drove to Berry Springs.  First look was at Berry Springs Nature Park where we spoke to a man in the canteen regarding what was to do, had a walk down to the swimming holes and looked for the spring, watched lots of small to medium fish in a couple of the other fish holes. 

We had a cuppa at a picnic table in the shade and spoke to quite a lot of other people, some with and some without children.  The place is used by all age groups it seems.  A bush track was found and we all walked the couple of Km before heading back to the cars.  From here we drove to the Lakes Resort, another caravan park which is primarily for speed boat enthusiasts with ski jumps etc. All told not a nice camp.  Next stop was a at a “Farm Shop” called Crazy Acres, where a girl explained to us what  “Rosella “ is?     We thought it was Tomato Sauce, not a berry type fruit.

We then went looking for the Castles camp at Tumbling Waters Holiday Park, but Martin was not home.  I say Martin because Rita had flown to Melbourne during the week to visit with her daughters which left Martin on the loose.  HaHa , but  he was  in Darwin with a mate from Sydney.

Next stop was the Darwin River Dam which is the main water supply for the Darwin area.  A big area  of water to see.  We walked the dam wall from end to end and back and as there was a nice cool breeze blowing off the water, it was quite a nice walk.  Back for lunch at a picnic table, once again with that cool breeze.   Into the cars again and on the way back stopped off at WW11 Strauss Airstrip which runs along the side of the Stuart Highway and had a look see, before going into the supermarket near the caravan park for a last bit of food shopping before we move down south on Monday morning  to a new camp.

Happy hour and tea, watched the TV for some time, then bed.  Have I mentioned I like going to bed?

 

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sounds like you are all having a great time up there
Monday, 17 June 2013 09:56
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OUR BIG TRIP



DAY    67    Friday   14th    June

 

A Lay Day was called for today so we could all visit the air conditioned shopping centres and fill up the pantries and look at the latest styles from the ladies shops.

Hales and Clarks headed for Casuarina , a large shopping centre in the Darwin area, while the Kollmorgens first went to Howard Springs Nature Park and took a walk around a short loop bush track and inspected the area constructed originally for the Service men to have a bit of  R & R, using a weir constructed to supply water to Darwin.  Also here was some great playing equipment for children.  After this the Kolls visited the Palmerston Shopping centre for their food purchases.

It was not quite as hot today, although this may be due to a little less humidity present, so it was a bit easier to cope.  When we had all arrived back at camp all had a cuppa or cold drink which led into Happy Hour and discussion on activities for tomorrow.  Tea was had before bed.

 

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DAY   66   Thursday    13    June

 

The Kollmorgens left the camp a little earlier than the rest to keep an appointment with the Battery Man in Winnellie.  This done, and $ 240.00 missing from Kay’s purse, but all the fridge problems resolved, we telephoned the Hales to find their whereabouts.  This turned out to be the Botanical Gardens in The Gardens and then the Casino followed by the Museum and Art Gallery of NT, also in The Gardens (Suburb of Darwin)

The Museum turned out to be a treasure trove of information and art work of all sorts with an area set aside especially for Cyclone Tracy and another chocked full of Asian style boats of all sorts.

After having seen our fill of art and info we left the lovely cool museum to walk out into the oven to find a suitable location to eat a picnic.  This led us to East Point Reserve which also is where the front line in the defence of Darwin was positioned during the 64 air raid attacks on the city during WW 2.

A rather late lunch was taken before a quick look at the Darwin Military Museum and some photos at the old gun emplacements where 9.2 inch cannons were aimed out over the Timor Sea.  These cannons arrived several months after the last air raid had ended, but that’s normal.

Next was a search for the Fannie Bay Gaol, but it was closed before our arrival, so we went and bought an ice cream instead.  Yum yum,  nice and cold.

On return to the camp, the Clarks had a swim and the Hales went shopping. The Kolls started happy hour and waited for company.  Tea was taken and after this little bit of journalistic genius, my favourite….. Bed.

 

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Alby & Geraldine : s00037
When do you leave Darwin? We leave Adelaide tomorrow heading for Alice and then Darwin probably around first week in July. cheers... Read More
Saturday, 15 June 2013 10:08
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OUR BIG TRIP



DAY    65   Wednesday     12th    June

 

 As stated yesterday the Clarks and the Hales left early to drop their cars at their respective service centres and after they were finished, drove to Cullen and Fannie Bays for look see, lunch at the Irish Pub.   A well earned drink was had on their return to camp and a swim before happy hour.

 Kay was booked into the ladies hairdresses suitably called the Shearing Shed at 10. 30 so we managed a small sleep in before a leisurely breakfast.  After the hair cut was finished we made up some lunch and headed north toward the city.  First stop was BTC, a camping, fishing,  caravan type mans’ shop, where we had purchased a new hose earlier in the week, this we returned as not required.  We had lunch under the shade a big tree and then continued to pick up the Engel at Winnelie.

This was good news as the fridge was all OK, just a service charge for their inspection and off we went to the battery man.   He was very sorry as he still did not have the battery we required, so we arranged to return tomorrow ( Thursday ).

On the way back we visited an Aviation Museum Heritage Centre where we spent a couple of very interesting hours.  This place has the only US  B52 Bomber on display outside America, and it is BIG.

Tea on the barby before working on the photos and then bed.

 

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DAY     63    Monday    10th    June

 

As previously advised, we were leaving the Farm Stay camp today for a caravan park which was to be all of 9 Km in distance, so pack up drive 9 k and set up again.  But we are getting good at it.

With the vans set the group without the Castles as they were going to Berry Springs because they had been to Darwin previously and planned to do some trips in the Berry Springs area. The rest had lunch and then set out for a large shopping mall, but unknown to us the centre was closing at 3.00pm so we were removed earlier than expected.  After all it was a public holiday for the Queen’s Birthday!

On returning to the camp the Hales and Clarks enjoyed a swim before happy hour and tea.  Coffee  was taken fairly early and most were indoors also early.

 

DAY     64      Tuesday    11th   June

 

We had arranged to catch a free trip up to Darwin with the Casino bus, but this proved incorrect as we were required to spend the entire day at the Casino. Not with my money! !

Because no one was very eager to drive into Darwin, it was decided then to drive ourselves North to the Palmerston bus Interchange where we caught a bus into Darwin to the Bus Interchange there and did a town walk just like normal only a little bigger.  As interests were different, couples went their own way to see and do their own thing, until as arranged, we all met at the bus station and travelled back to Palmerston and the cars.

Swimming was the choice of most before happy hour and at 7.00pm two local identities gave the campers a talk on the manufacture and playing of the Didgeridoo, from selecting the correct gum tree that has had the centre eaten out by Termites to the bees wax for a mouth piece and finally the art work and oil.  Most important is the playing and how to make the different haunting sounds that can come out of that hollow piece of gum.  Amazing.

Tea followed and another early night as the Clarks and the Hales have both booked their vehicles into Mitsubishi and Toyota for services early tomorrow in Darwin, so early leave for them.  The Kollmorgens are to have a sleep in.   

 

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DAY    61       Saturday     8th   June

 

Left Jabiru mid -morning for Darwin, with a stop for a break at the Bark Hut and a look at some snakes in captivity and some emus.  Next stop was at Corroboree Park tavern for lunch, which also included some wild life of buffalo, pig, turtles and croc’s.  One fresh, one salt, same teeth though.  

Continued our drive to the Stuart Highway and turned North to ACC members,  Lindsay  and Imelda Davis, FArmSTay  property at Howard Springs just short of Darwin.  Lovely couple who made us feel very welcome to their home and spent Happy hour with us relating some very entertaining stories from his past and present life styles.  He also asked some technical questions from all of us learned caravanners.     Thanks  Lindsay,  Imalda, we do appreciate your generosity.

By this time the biggest meanest bugs in all of N T were out, and as we were the softy Southerners they were after us.  So we all went off to the very hot caravans for tea and bed.

 

 

DAY      62      Sunday    9th    June

 

Left the camp at around 10. 00am and went looking for a van park to move to on Monday morning (tomorrow) then we drove to the wonderfully presented “Windows on the Wetland” where we did see a terrific presentation of the history and the current condition of the wetlands here in the outer Darwin area.  Great show.  Continued further along the road to the Adelaide River and its high kicking Crocodile out front.  Had a good look through the business end of this and then began the trip back to camp.

First stop was to Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve and on the road in we sighted a group of around six Buffalo lounging in a farmers dam.  On arriving at the dam we saw a terrific two story hide with a  lot of explanation posters on the walls.  There were literally thousands of birds, mostly Magpie Geese, but larger and smaller varieties also represented.  We then headed back towards the main entrance, but stopped at a very cool area called Turtle Dreaming for our picnic lunch in a large rotunda before taking a short walk into the forest and the Lilly Fields.   Very nice, but a little warm when no shade was available.

Next stop was the Humpty Doo hotel for a quick one, before some Woolies  shopping, and back to camp for happy hour.  Discussed our stay in Darwin and what we may get up to, what we might see, where we could go, etc .    Tea was next and due to those insects we again migrated indoors before bed time. 

 

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DAY    60      Friday     7th    June

 

No special hurry this morning as we are only driving about 45 Km West to Mamukala, a lovely bird hide with a great lagoon with lots of water, full of birds and fish and a great hiding spot to sit and gaze out on to it all.

Next stop was the Aurora Kakadu Hotel, South Alligator.  Nice place for back packers to work and play, not much else, although quite a nice caravan park is attached which would suit some interested in fishing.

Returned to camp and as has been the norm with the temperature in the mid-thirties, we put in some time around the pool where it was a little cooler.  Happy Hour was next with tea and coffee after the dishes were finished.   Today is our last day here and so tomorrow we head for Darwin via an ACC farm stay at Howard Springs near Palmerston.

 

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DAY    59      Thursday   6th     June

 

Lay day again today.  We are all rather lethargic due to the long day yesterday and the temperature again today, once more up into the low 30s.

Kollmorgens visited the Post Office again just before lunch and at last, “ BINGO”.  The parcel with the new flexible link had arrived from Melbourne after 2 weeks, so after lunch Martin, with assistance from Neil, fitted and wired the link into the fridge circuit.  We now need to wait till we hear from the refrigeration service shop in Darwin to go pick up the Engel complete with new cooler unit assy’. Then all that remains of the electrical saga will be, to perhaps, replace the 100 amp battery under the bonnet.  Very Much More cost ??? 

Some of the group did a small amount of shopping while others paid a visit to the Ranger Mine for a look, from outside the fence only unfortunately. The camp pool was also given some use by some during the afternoon.  Speaking of the pool, last evening the pool area was used as a big screen TV with the first of the State of Origin tests shown to what sounded like quite a few Blues supports.  I suppose the scores would have kept the Queensland mob a little quiet.

Happy hour was held at the Kollmorgen shade tree before an early tea, because a Camp Ranger here at Jabiru camp gave a talk tonight on Rock Art, which did help us to understand the reasons why some of the paintings have been put there.

Coffee was at Hales with a slide show of photos so far taken.  Then bed.

 

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jj Joint muster at Yarrawonga

       Murray River Ramblers joined the Border Hoppers at Yarrawonga for great muster although it rained all day Sat. but the Camp kitchen was fully enclosed & heated had great meal on Sat night & it was special for me as it was my 60th we all shared the big cake. We also played alot of cards & other games . Those of us that stayed Sun. night enjoyed a good Chinese meal at the RSL club. I would like to thank the Border Hoppers for organising the weekend  Well Done Cheers Phil

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neilkay : v00113
Great to hear that you had a good muster. Extremely pleased that you have got together and had a joint muster. Keep up the good ... Read More
Friday, 07 June 2013 15:47
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DAY   58    Wednesday    5th   June

 

A  huge  day  today.  We left from the Caravan Park at 5.15am and headed South approx’ 50 Km  to Gagudju Lodge Cooinda, where we were to board a 60 + person boat for a 2 hour cruise (sounds like Gilligan’s Island) up the Yellow Water Billabong  and on to  the South Alligator River.  Very enjoyable cruise with a very large amount of bird life and also the sighting of 3 Crocodiles.  Exciting stuff.

On leaving the Wharf in darkness, we soon noticed the sky lightening in the East and shortly thereafter a beautiful sunrise hit the water to the ooohs and aahs and clicks of the many Canons.

On returning to the wharf we were taken back to the headquarters of the Yellow Water Company by bus and fed a great spread of food designed to add weight, everywhere to everyone.  But hell somebody has to do it.

As we had also booked a Sunset cruise for today which was due to depart at 4.30pm it was necessary to fill in the day until this time.  First we went to Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre and wandered through a host of artifacts showing how they have lived in this area for all those years.  Next visit was to Jim Jim Billabong , followed by Mirral Lookout, where the group headed up another sheer cliff face in fairly warm conditions to a view through the trees and hardly worth the effort.  A visit to Muirella Park, a camp site on the edge of a Billabong, followed by a 4 wheel drive only track to Sandy Billabong which was our location for lunch.  Not a great amount after the breakfast we had had earlier.

Returning to Gagudju Lodge at Cooinda the remainder of the afternoon was spent relaxing in the dining area while we waited to board the boats again for the sunset trip.  This trip was certainly the highlight of the day, being very well explained by our guide and boat driver, was a multitude of birds of all size and description, a few with chicks that were just 3 to 5 days old, magic reflections on the water for the photographers, and of course some 4 to 5 metre crocodiles who were more than happy to swim alongside the boat and smile for the cameras.  (well almost)

As the sky was beginning to cloud over during the afternoon, by sunset it was very disappointing that no colour was available until a little later when some patches of red appeared.  The return trip in the bus to the Lodge was followed by our return drive to the camp at Jabiru, a very light tea and bed. Such a long day.  Around 14 hours.  DH and Bruce you excelled again.   

 

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DAY    56    Monday    3rd    June

 

After breakfast, washed the car followed by a town walk before trying to collect expected parcels from Post Office.  No luck as yet, so shall try again tomorrow, perhaps using another, more simple name. Next stop was to the local airport for a look see and a drive past the Ranger Mine open cut which was quite impressive.

Lunch was a lovely bread roll purchased from the bakery earlier and then sat and watched the world go slowly by.  Temperature is still quite warm, but a lovely breeze blowing into the awning. 

Happy Hour was a crowded affair with two extra pairs, Rob and Liz whom we had met at Mount Isa and John and Dianne who are employed here at the camp.  Both couples are friend of the Hales from the Sale area in Victoria.

Tea was early as at 7.30 pm, a Kakadu National Park Ranger held a slide show and advised on the role of the rangers within the park.  Really very interesting.  This was, of course, followed by coffee at the Clark camp and bed.

 

DAY    57        Tuesday   4th  June

 

This morning others washed cars and vans so they (most) shone like new.  Kollmorgens again attempted to collect from the Post Office with no luck.  After lunch just sat and waited till it was time to head out to Ubirr .  On route we called in at Cahills Crossing which is the only entry into Arnhem Land from this area, and some other small camping grounds nearby.

The Rock Art at Ubirr is amazing stuff, seeing this on TV and in books does the artists no credit whatsoever, they are incredible considering some have been there for upward of 20, 000 years.  We were lucky to catch the end of a talk by a National Park Ranger at the Gallery.  That man just loves this area and this country!

After viewing the art we continued walking up a sheer cliff and came out on a huge plateau the size of Sydney Harbour, where we listened to the Park Ranger tell of the changes in the outlook in the land we were looking at.  The rock we were standing on was over 1 Billion years old while the flood plain and Billabong are relatively young at 1500 years.  Since the buffalo have been removed from the area the flood plain has turned from dust bowl to green oasis.   Lovely.  All too soon the sun descended over the horizon, cameras were buzzing and we all turned and carefully made our way down the sheer cliff to the car park and home   (Slight exaggeration on the cliff but still very steep)

Drove the 40 odd Km back to Jabiru for tea and bed. 

 

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DAY     53    Friday   31st    May

Kollmorgens left Pine Creek early to travel to Darwin to seek some service on the Engel, while the rest had another day at Pine Creek and intended doing a trip into the southern end of Kakadu National Park.

As we had booked a site at the Oasis C/P in Virginia we first went there and checked in and set up the van, ate some lunch and then said “G’day Neil”.  Parked on the next site was another ACC member in Neil and Barbara McInnes  from Queensland, along with Molly.  After some address advice from Neil we dropped the fridge at a repairer called ROKO Refrigeration and as the cooler assembly was almost past its use by date we were advised to also have auxiliary battery load tested.  This was done and also found to be defunked.

All items will be ready for pick up some time late next week, so we went looking for a fine caravan and camping shop (A REAL mans shop, the BTC parts shop) and spent some time and money in there.  We returned to the Oasis in time to be invited by the McInnes family to a very friendly Happy Hour in the wonderful grassy camp.  Isn’t it beaut to feel grass beneath your feet after all that sand ?   

Had a quick walk around the camp before happy hour and was surprised at the size and number of sites in the park.  However there were no spare sites, we had the last site till September.

Tea was cooked on the camp BBQ and eaten at the van.  It was still very, very, warm and after a shower we attempted to sleep.  This was made harder by the van on the other side running their air conditioner all night.  Most inconsiderate is my thought.  We did however manage to get some  sleep.

 

DAY   54   Saturday    1st    June

 

Said our goodbyes to McInnes family and the Oasis and headed to Jabiru.  Stopped at Mary River rest area for a cuppa before arriving at Kakadu National Park and rang Derek to find their progress.  They were about 5 minutes behind and we then all booked into the Kakadu Lodge C/P at Jabiru.  Set up vans after the ladies of the group spent quite some time trying to decide which 4 sites we should occupy.

After lunch some of our swimmers attacked the pool and then we all had a quiet afternoon as it was quite hot.  After Happy Hour and tea and coffee we all retired to bed.

 

DAY   55      Sunday    2nd    June

Early Sunday morning saw the normal Sunday practice of egg and bacon breakfast by some and some early swimmers at the pool, while a third member washed his car as they tend to become dusty very easy up here.  Next was a drive out to Nourlangie  where the Aboriginal rock paintings are very well presented and Park Rangers give good talks on all aspects of the aboriginal culture and lives.  We were told that the Rock Art is occasionally retouched by any Aboriginal artist so as to keep the originality of these wonderful art form that could be as old as 20,000 years.   We all walked a loop track back to the car park and returned to the Bowali Information Centre where there was a great slide show was presented. Also at the Info centre was a large selection of fossil and present day animal life form.  Very enjoyable.  As the heat was building, we had a very low keyed afternoon back at the vans. 

 

Happy Hour was spent under the Hales awning, tea was prepared and eaten, coffee back at Hales then showers and bed.    

 

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DAY     49       Monday    29   May

Left the camp on foot for a town walk and saw the cast people and animals and also an ant hill.

Checked the fuel prices and bought some tucker and returned to the camp for lunch. This finished we all drove a further 3 to 4 Km to Bitter Springs for a looksee, purchased some diesel after checking with the bank.

Water was reported to be great as members took a noodle into the slow moving current to the next landing, climb out, walk back, and do it all again.

Showers were the order of the day on return to camp before happy hour. Tea and coffee before bed.

 

 

DAY    50      Tuesday    28   May 

 

Left Mataranka at 10.00am and drove in usual formation to Katherine where we first had a cuppa before a visit to the Information Centre for some ideas as we intend to return to Katherine in a few weeks. Then a final, small shop was done at Woolies.  Had lunch and topped up the fuel tanks in the cars before heading to Edith Falls and set up camp in the Nitmiluk National Park, intending to stay for two nights.

Martin and Rita headed for the swimming hole and the falls to cool off as the day was over the 30 mark.  Kay went and took some photos and sat and watched.  The Hales and Clarks had stayed behind in Katherine to purchase some XXXX lollywater after the curfew was lifted at 2.00pm and they arrived also and set up camps before the Clarks went swimming.  Kollmorgens and Hales enjoyed a quiet sit and chat in the cooling evening.

Happy Hour followed after we had all discovered where each was camped, tea and coffee before returning to our vans in the dark, and I mean dark, for bed.

 

DAY     51      Wednesday     29   May

Early rise this morning as longer than normal walk was planned to the top of the Upper falls, however the bridge on the intended walk had been washed away so took another way up.  First   300 mts was fairly steep which had heart rates pumping and also as the temperature was on the way up bodies were also heating . Another fall was found here and Martin wet his head yet again.

After returning from the walk and a drink, another visit to the pool saw lots of people coming and going, including a group of school children who really enjoyed their swim.  After lunch Derek, Martin and Bruce swam out to the base of the falls while the rest sat and rested as the day was quite warm.  After happy hour we again walked to the pool to try for some reflected photos as the sun set.         Tea, coffee and bed.   I always enjoy this time.

DAY    52        Thursday      30th    May

 

Kollmorgens had been having problems with the Engel freezer in the car so it was decided to return to Katherine in the hope of getting some help with this problem.  No luck, so on to Darwin was the call.  Stopped at Pine Creek for the night at the Pussy Cat Flats, which is a caravan park, race course, golf course and restaurant / pub.  Are they busy?    Very nice clean camp though.

During the day the Hales and the Clarks travelled from Edith Falls together while the Castles  made their way slowly while waiting for the Kollmorgens coming through from Katherine.

Did town walk in pairs as not all were set up at the Pussy Flats.  It was later advised that the Hales had had a problem with their awning, but this was soon repaired, and happy hour was held at the bar part of the camp. There are such a lot of things to look at in this small town.

Tea, coffee and bed.

 

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DAY    48    Sunday    26th    May

Day began a little chilly, but soon warmed before we all went to see the Camp Manager feed a stock of Barramundi in the camp dam and then us on our way to Elsey National Park which included the Mataranaka Homestead.  What a wonderful old building now used as accommodation for travellers.

A replica of the original home lived in by Jeannie Gunn, author of the Australian novel “We of the Never Never” had been built to fit the period for the filming of the famous Australian book of the same name.     Nice building though.  Later we went for a walk to the Rainbow Springs and Thermal Pool before walking to Stevie’s Hole and return to the homestead.  A short drive from the car park to 4 Mile Picnic Area and a sausage sizzle on a picnic table there was enjoyed by all.  Continuing after lunch we drove through the camp sites at 12 Mile Yards and Jalmurark Camping Ground.  Quite a lot of camps were set up here so must be very popular.

On our way back we walked into Mulurark, a small beach on the Roper River with white water rapids and lots of rock.  Next stop was an abandoned sheep dip which had been set up in an attempt to get the wool industry operating in the Territory.  Next stop was a WW 2 aircraft engine workshop where quite a lot of indigenous people had worked.  It was called Mataranka Aboriginal Army Camp.  All left was a couple of large slabs of concrete, hand mixed of course.

Returning to the camp we saw a couple of our number take to the camp spa and returned looking slightly blue.  I felt it must have been somewhat cool.  Happy Hour followed before tea and work on this blog before bed.

 

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DAY     43    Tuesday    21     May

 

We had a very lazy morning as still waiting for Hales oven door to arrive.  Should be fitted tomorrow. All the boys had a shopping morning at all the boys shops, great fun.  Rita did some hair dressing and after lunch checked Super Cheap and Autopro for a look see.  Also did a small last effort at Coles.  Arrived back at camp to the news that the oven door had arrived.

After happy hour at which we were joined by Robert and Liz Weatherby of Mafra, went out for diesel, and then had tea and bed.

 

DAY    44     Wednesday  22  May.

 

Hales left the camp just before 8.oo am to have the oven door repair carried out.  They returned to the camp for coffee while awaiting a phone call to advise van was ready.  At around 9.30am the rest left the camp, with the Castles going to the tyre service for 2 new tyres and the Clarks and Kolls headed for the open road in rain, first real rain since Denilequin, 43 days away.  We went to a WW 2 rest area to wait for the other 2 rigs to arrive.

As we were all now ready to travel we headed for Camooweal, where we had intended to stay at budget camp. However we found the road to the camp far too wet to attempt travel so ate lunch (still raining) did town walk with umbrellas and continued on way to Avon Downs, crossing the border into Northern Territory on the way.  Avon Downs is, of course, only a very large flat area where caravans can be parked,  with a Police Station opposite.  As the rain had cleared we had happy hour, again with the company of Bert and Liz, ate tea and sought bed to listen to the road trains thunder past.  I did not hear much!

 

DAY   45     Thursday      23   May

 

All up early and ready to leave.  First stop is Barkly Homestead where we all filled our tanks with liquid gold before discovering that the auxiliary battery in the Prado was not charging.  On inspection found a 50 amp fuse had indeed fused, just one lump.  Martin, our resident sparks, soon found a 20amp replacement circuit breaker in his tool kit but this was not successful because not being high enough in value it continually tripped out.  This, of course, would not let the battery charge.  It was decided to continue to Tennant Creek to attempt to purchase a larger amp breaker.  This done, and after Martin fitted it, we  back peddled to Kunjarra (The Pebbles) budget camp where  we spent the night.  Neil rang his Auto Elec’ and has arranged to have a new type Flexible Link mailed to Jabiru ASAP.  Thanks Alan.  Great fire was created by Bruce and Derek and tea was cooked on this by some.

 

 

DAY    46         Friday   24   May

 

As the Hales and Clarks used the night before fire to have an egg and bacon breakfast we were a little late in leaving the Pebbles park, but not too late.  We put in a big day (for us) with about 400 Km travelled, with a stop at Attack Creek for smoko, where a memorial to Stuart is displayed, Rankin Springs for lunch and a potty stop and continued to Daly Waters where we booked into the camp, got all the info on the nights entertainment and set up in the dust bowl.

Happy hour was spent in the pub and it was decided that tea would be there also (of course) a delightful meal of burgers, steak sangers, beef and burra , lamb.   Great feed.   A continual procession of entertainment complimented the evening, some good singing and even better jokes. Thanks Chilli.  Great night.

 

 

DAY     47        Saturday   25    May

Departed the park after a look around the town?  Had photos taken at the bar along with the largest assortment of things I had ever seen.  Left Daly Waters and looked in on an old war time airport before turning north again and after smoko at the Pink Panther Wayside Inn at Larrimah we continued to Mataranka.  During this time at the Pink Panther we were entertained at the free zoo on offer.  An injured kangaroo (tail broken) will probably never be able to be released because of his inability to jump, stand on tail, fight etc.  We also saw salt and fresh crocodiles, a large variety of birds, emu, parrots and cockatoos,  etc .  Opposite the Inn is a building which during the war housed a very large communications telegraphic establishment, and a display of aircraft engines and parts on the lawn surrounding the old railway yards with some interesting equipment.

Arrived at Mataranka for a late lunch, had Bruce and Derek repair the flue in the Kolls van fridge.  Thanks Fellas.   We then headed into the town for a great Mini Rodeo and cattle draft.  Those kids were terrific.   Very good day in all ways.

 

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DAY   41      Sunday   19  May

A visit to a local craft market was first on the agenda for this morning, but not starting till 10.00am we all started the day a little late.  Next stop was an underground hospital built during the second world war to be able to hide patients in case of a Japanese bombing raid on Mount Isa.

Next trip was to a large hill on the outskirts of the city where Neil thought that we may get some great photos from.  Unfortunately on finding the road we were met with a “Do Not Enter“ sign.

Back to the camp to see the Castles had arrived from Adels Grove and had set up. First night on the trip that we have been sited four in a row.  After some lunch we again headed out to have a look at the Mount Isa railway station. It was quite a long platform.  Parked the cars a took a walk across the Sir James Foot  bridge crossing  the Leichhardt River for a closer look at the mine area and also the aeroplane memorial to John Flynn of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.  Returning to the camp for happy hour, tea and then coffee before bed.

 

 

DAY    42       Monday  20  May

 

Derek had hoped that the caravan oven door damaged on the Adels Grove road would be in todays mail. But alas no door!   Kollmorgens and  Clarks did some shopping while Derek and  Martin spent some time replacing the 9 pin and Anderson plugs between the Hales car and van. All lamps now light and fridge operates on 12 volts, mission successful.  Derek again tried the post office during the latter part of the day, but again no success.

Happy hour again proved popular with a few extra people joining our circle and after tea again at the coffee hour before bed. 

 

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DAY    39    Friday    17th   May

 

The Clarks departed with their van early to go to the refrigeration mechanic.  Kollmorgens went to a camp store in an attempt to fix a problem with a gas stove turning off, then did a small food shop.

Upon the lot of us returning to the camp it was pack cars with picnic baskets and head for a reservoir called Lake Moondarra .  Travelled the tracks, took photos, and eventually found a barbecue and had a snag in bread with a few peacocks pleading for a sample.  No way Peacock, mine!

On our way back we had intended to go and have a look at the airport when the lead car came across a Greyhound coach which was on its way to the Reserve to collect some school children, but the lady driving was having a problem with the gear shift.  We arranged to contact her office, and this done, we all met at the Information centre.  Bruce received a phone call from the people fixing his van fridge and left to collect the van. Meanwhile Derek and Gwen, Kay and I returned to the van park and began the big job of turning red caravans into white caravans.  So much dust:  Unbelievable.

Bruce arrived back with the repaired van and after washing  it ,set up, just in time for  Happy Hour and then tea coffee and bed.

 

Lake Moondarra Reservoir,  water supply for Mount Isa, having some maintenance done at the wall.

 

DAY     40   Saturday     18th   May 

Saturday morning began a little cool with a chance of a shower, this had us all doing our own thing which included food shopping, sightseeing, car washing and more caravan dedusting.  The day turned into another lovely day which made the work of cleaning up almost enjoyable (almost).

As the trip to the airport was cancelled by the bus problem yesterday we decided a trip to the airport would be done again today.  Not so, the airport was closed, as there were no flights scheduled, no doors need to be opened.  Back to C/P for a sit and talk until Happy Hour and tea.  A couple of the group were having baked dinners so we had filled the park with great aromas.

After a lovely leg of lamb and vegie dinner and the dishes were finished, we spent some time over coffee at the Hale camp, before heading to bed. 

 

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