Our 2 ½ hourLunch billabong cruise wasawesome. We saw our first real crocs in their natural habitat today. Corroboree Billabong is part of the Mary River Wetlands which are teeming with birds and also the largest concentration of saltwater crocodiles in the world. The bird life is fantastic with many different species.
We saw Jabiru, Ibis, Brolgas, Jacana, Egrets, Bee Eaters, Kites, Sea Eagles , Whistling Ducks, Magpie Geese and more. We also saw a number of crocodiles in their natural environment in a very picturesque billabong. Chrissy was a great guide as she told us about the wildlife on the billabong. It was a little frightening to be so close to such enormously powerful ‘pre historic’ animals.
Some of the crocodiles we saw in the Billabong. I think all of these are Saltwater Crocs as they have a broad powerful looking snout with an uneven jawline whereas Freshwater Crocs have longer and thinner snouts with a straight jawline and all their teeth nearly equal in size. So the most easily noticed difference between the two is the shape of the head and teeth.
In all a great cruise on the Billabong. There are many crocodile cruises to choose from leaving from various places within short distances from Darwin as well as those in Kakadu NP. It’s hard to choose one and we tended to go on recommendations and what suited us at the time. We’re glad we did the one we did as I tend to think the “Jumping Crocodile” advertised tours could be more for entertainment and you don’t see them in their natural habitat. Besides encouraging crocs to jump out of the water for their eats isn’t my cuppa tea. Who knows next time they see a boat they might think….ahhh …”supper” They are known to jump 2/3rd of their body length out of the water.
Jan and Rae arrived Tuesday to begin their Darwin to Broome experience with Scenic Tours. It was great to catch up with them and go out for Dinner at the Trailer Boat Club. Another beautiful sunset.
Our last night in Darwin (Thursday) and we went to Mindil Market again. We picked Jan and Rae up from Darwin Hilton and got there in time to have a good look around before getting some tea and sitting on the beach to watch the sunset. This weekend the V8 SuperCars are at Hidden Valley so there was a special appearance at the market where fans could get posters etc signed by all the 26 drivers. It certainly added to the excitement as well as make the market very crowded. In all a great night. We both bought some Slappers at the market. Meant to be great for your feet.
PS. I said hello to Felix again.
Friday 15th June. Howard Springs to KAKADU NATIONAL PARK. 234kms.
Filled up with Diesel. Seems ages since we did that. Three weeks in Darwin and we didn’t have to go to the Station. $153.9cL at Howard Springs PUMA. Running around town we were using 12.13L/100km.
Arrived before lunch and booked into Kakadu Lodge. We thought the park would be pretty crowded but we were surprised at how few vans there were in the park. Admittedly by 5.00pm there were a lot more as they steadily came in throughout the afternoon but there were still plenty of sites free.
After setting up we made a quick visit to the BOWALI Visitor Centre as we had to get a Park Pass. $30 each concession. That enables us to drive throughout the park and go to the Ranger talks and guided walks. The Visitor centre was interesting as we got a feel for the area and were able to get any info needed for the park. Having a look at what was on we were a bit surprised and disappointed that not much was happening at the weekend. The Rock Art talks we wanted to go to only take place on week days so we have to stay until Tuesday morning to fit them in. We could have taken a day tour of Arnhem Land ($234 each) or a 30 minute flight over Kakadu ($ ) but have decided to save our $ so we can go to the Horizontal Falls when we get to Broome. ($850 each…I think)
PLAN for Saturday. 16/06/2018
A big day today as Billy’s Birthday. 8 years old. Skyped at night as they were very busy all day. Lovely to talk to them and see them to say hello.
Drive to Nangulumur art site walk. A 3.4 km return walk through woodlands leading to a Aboriginal rock art site.
ACTUAL. We drove to Nourlangie region and found the track to Nangulumurr, The 1.7km walk in was dead flat except for the last 70metres. The rock art didn’t disappoint as it was amazing. The walk in and out was interesting as we started to recognise various trees and plants that the aborigines value. It is often said that when you look at the bushlands….whiteman sees trees, bushes and dirt….but the blackman sees Coles, Woolies and Bunnings. Then we had to walk 1.7km out.
As we had plenty of time we decided to go and check out the Nourlangie Rock art scheduled for Tuesday morning, where a ranger does a guided tour of the various galleries. We decided to do it ourselves and with the explanations at each site we feel we were able to get as much as we could from our visit rather than have to detour on Tuesday on our way to Katherine. -This Aboriginal Rock Art site is certainly popular as there were lots of tourists passing through where as we were the only ones at Nangulumur. PS.Lucky we went on Sat as the next day (Sunday) they were doing a burn and the whole area was covered in smoke and parts of the trail was closed. Jan and Rae were visiting Sunday and they were very disappointed.
PLAN for Sunday. 17/06/18 Church and ???? Bike ride from Crocodile Hotel to the Bowali Visitors Centre.
ACTUAL. Marg went to Church…St Peter’s (just behind the Croc hotel).She left and was back in 10 minutes. No church despite the web page saying there was.
We are starting to understand what NT stands for….as well as Northern Territory the locals say it also means NOT Today, NOT tomorrow and NOT Tuesday or Thursday next week either. A bit harsh but we understand why???
We decided to forgo the bike ride and drive back to Nourlangie region and walk the Anbangbang Billabong trail, visit the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre and walk the boardwalk at Yellow River. As you can see our original plans didn’t last 24 hours without throwing them out the window.
The Anbangbang trail was closed due to seasonal conditions. Although we did see quite a lot of birds from the car parking spots scattered along the way.
The Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre was fantastic and well worth the 50 km to get there. So much information about Aboriginal life, law and culture. I found their calendar depicting the various seasons explained their life very clearly. If you can enlarge the photo below and have a good look.
The Boardwalk Billabong we hoped to walk along was closed and has been under water for two years. Again the pamphlets didn’t tell us that. The receptionist at Cooinda Lodge was very helpful and suggested we have a look at the Mardugal Billabong about 5 kms away. Off we went expecting…. I’m not sure. Good news the Campsite where the Billabong is had a nice picnic area for lunch. The camps site manager caught up with us and walked along as she had just arrived a few days ago to take over from the current manager and hadn’t had time to have a look. She and partner came from Mansfield and were going to be there 24/7 until mid Sept with a 30 day option to extend. The walk was only 500 metres but took us to a nice picnic spot overlooking the Billabong. Sadly there was no bird life at all. BUT we spotted the biggest croc ever casually swimming along on the far side of the water. If you look closely at the photo below you can see him in the water.
Our last catch up with Jan and Rae at the Mecure Crocodile Hotel in Jabiru.
PLAN forMonday.18/06/2018. Trip to Ubirr. A 1.5 km circular track that takes you past several fascinating Aboriginal rock art sites. We plan to leave early and spend some time sitting and watching the crocs crossing at Cahills Crossing during high tide, then go to the rangers talk at 4.00- 6.00pm at Ubirr and after watch the sunset. Meant to be amazing. How many more sunsets can we see???? Pack up ready to leave early next morning
ACTUAL. Guess what….we actually did what we thought we’d do except we left early to do a couple of walks…..The Mangarre walk …CLOSED and the Bardedjiligji Sandstone walk. A 2.5 km walk though spectacular sandstone formations…Guess what…OPEN. Hurray, at last.
We did go straight to Cahills crossing….about 11.00am and it was low tide.
Note the 2 cars. By high tide they had gone under.
It is said that the crocs come in droves at high tide to catch the fish swimming upstream. Well, if TWO crocs is what they mean by droves then that’s it. A bit disappointing but “ It is what it is and you don’t get upset”
The UBIRR Rock Art talk by Kyle, the “Ranger Interpreter.” The rock art wasn’t as clear as Nourlangie but as Kyle pointed out, “It is 4000+ years old” Seeping water and the weather has affected the art work so measures are being taken to minimise any further damage.
Tuesday. Leave early and drive to Nourlangie Region in time for the Rangers Rock art talk from 9-11am.(DONE) This is a 1.5km circular walk that takes you past an ancient Aboriginal shelter and several art sites. Visit the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre (DONE) and then off to Katherine Riverview Tourist Park for 2 nights. We’ve already booked our dawn Katherine Gorge cruise for Wednesday. Looking forward to that.
ACTUAL. Drive straight to Katherine. 304kms from Jabiru.