Tuesday 19th June, 2018. Jabiru to Katherine 304 kms
Settled into Riverview Tourist Village CP. Lucky we booked as many were being turned away. Obviously the Grey Nomads surge is happening. Nice shady site.
Our Caravan park is within walking distance of the Hot Springs. Quite warm but very soothing after a long drive.
We booked a dawn cruise to Katherine Gorge while in Jabiru as we only had one day (Wed) we could do it. Just as well as the cruise was full. (about 50)
You hear about the wonders of Katherine Gorge. Having been there everyone should have it on their bucket list. Our driver guide, Tom, was very informative about the Gorge and took his time exploring. He was very good at spotting salt water crocs from a distance.
Saltwater Croc cage and Nesting area.
Red floats to attract crocs. Crocs are inquisitive and apparently like bright colours. If the buoy is damaged in any way the rangers know there is a croc around somewhere.
Katherine Gorge, now called Nitmiluk, is probably one of the most favourite NP in the NT. As you can see by the photos the scenery is absolutely stunning. Photos don’t do the morning colours justice. Our boat ride wound our way through sandstone cliffs up to 70 metres high. Apparently it has taken 23 million years to form this natural wonder. Our cruise took us to the 2nd gorge, which included a 400 metre walk in between Gorge 1 and 2.
Our dawn cruise started off a bit chilly but soon warmed up. First jacket on since we left Bendigo 2 months ago.
Long John, resident artist at the Katherine Gorge Visitor Centre. He is quite well known and one of his paintings hangs in the Lounge Room of Parliament House in Darwin.
Thursday 21st June. Katherine to Victoria River Roadhouse. 197 kms
Filled up with Diesel at Katherine. 155.7cL Av economy = 13.34L/100km. Distance travelled 8,550km
At last we are finally heading west. By Saturday week Broome will be our home for the next 6 weeks. Arrived Victoria River Roadhouse pretty early. Only a few vans in the park. By 4.00pm it had filled up. Met a young couple, Tash, Geoff and their three kids, Flynn (7), Kensee(5) and Poppy (2) from Karratha. On their way to Darwin to meet up with Geoff’s parents. Kids took a liking to Marg so she got her Granny fix for the day. Tash and Geoff gave us some useful tips for travelling West.
We decided to explore the area and found there were a couple of things to do.
1. Visit the Victoria River Gorge and Boat Ramp
Got there and the river bed was dry on one side and water on the other. Where my car is would normally be under water so boats could launch. This place would be spectacular in the wet season.
2. The Old Victoria River Crossing.
This required some easy 4WDing. Marg wasn’t impressed.
3. Escarpment walk.
A 3 km walk to the top of the escarpment or an easier 1 km walk to the first lookout. I did the 1 km and Marg took one for the team and did the lot. She told me that the view from my lookout was probably better than the top.
Friday 21st June, 2018. Victoria River Roadhouse to Lake Argyle. (Western Australia) 304 kms.
After a quick walk to the river with our new adopted grandchildren we made headway for Lake Argyle. As soon as we got reception (have been off grid for two days} I rang Lake Argyle Tourist Village to make a booking. I was told first come first serve basis atm. I figured we were only 200kms away by that stage and as it was 10.00am NT time by the time we arrived minus the 90 minutes WA time change we should almost arrive before we leave. As it was we pulled in 11.30am and there were plenty of sites available. This park is a little gem set in the most beautiful surroundings you would not believe unless you saw it. The lake itself is blue as blue. And guess what….no reception. Off the grid again for two days The reception area has wifi available from 4.30-6.30pm but there were so many trying to log on messages wouldn’t go.Tried to send Kirsten a birthday message but looks like she will get it in a few days time.
On the way we crossed into Western Australia…That’s 4 states in 2 months. We had heard so much about the Quarantine Station at the border that Marg had been planning for days what we had and couldn’t have. Other than putting the van up the whole experience took no more than 5 minutes. The guy was thorough but obviously we didn’t have anything we shouldn’t have. Ironically, again, as happened at Pinaroo, we got down the road and we realised he hadn’t looked in the Engel in the car. Nothing there anyway other than cans of drink.
Quarantine station in the background. Expected the border sign to be a bit more impressive.
We had the afternoon to explore:
1. The Infinity Pool at the Resort. Looks amazing with spectacular views. Although anyone swimming said it was Bloody cold. Might save our swim until tomorrow.
The Ord River Dam project was completed in 1972. It opened up 1000’s of hectares of successful farming through irrigation. The map may be a bit small but if enlarged you can see the extent of the project. At the moment we are right down the bottom at Lake Argyle. The Dam wall separates the Lake from The Ord River. Photos above show the Lake on the left and the river on the right.
3. The Argyle Homestead and Museum. On the shores of the Lake. This was the first station in the area built by Patsy Durack and later managed by his two sons after he died, aged 50. Originally on the shores of the river it was moved by the Historical society to higher ground when the Ord River scheme was proposed. Otherwise the homestead and outbuildings would still be under water. Reminded me of out time in Egypt and going to see Abu Simbel on the Nile.
Apparently the Homestead and headstones were used in making Mystery Road.
Saturday 22nd June, 2018. Booked to go on a morning cruise of Lake Argle. Marg set the alarm for 7.00am as we had to catch the shuttle bus at reception at 7.50am. Had a quick cuppa, got dressed, made the bed and I looked at my watch and it said 5.35am. Somehow Marg’s iphone didn’t change to WA time and we managed to get up 90 minutes before we should have. So 2 hours to fill in. Apparently there were a few others on NT time as many were walking around the park at a very early hour. It was bright daylight at 5.30am.
Finally, We got to explore the rugged north of the Lake and learn about the history and development of the Lake and Ord River Irrigation scheme. Again, many animals (crocs) and some birds. We fed the catfish and spitting Archer fish some bread. Would you believe we met a young family who now live in Darwin, but he came from Bendigo.(Tom Prew?) Went to Eaglehawk SC until 1998. Played cricket for Sandhurst and footy for Marong.
Spectacular scenery from the Lake. Was a bit windy at times….hence Marg rugged up.
The Boab Tree is a very common tree in this area. In fact the only place in the world to find the unusual boab tree is in the Kimberleys. We saw clusters of these trees ranging from small to absolutely huge. I believe that all the way from Victoria River to Broome boabs are a common sight. Some trees are 1500 years old, which makes them the oldest living beings in Australia, and puts them amongst the oldest in the world. Aboriginals used the trees as shelter, food and medicine. White settlers used them to serve as recognisable land marks and meeting points as well as impromptu prison cells. There are ones near Wyndham and Derby that were used as prison cells
4. Afternoon drinks by the pool and watching the sun go down….again. Or listening to Steve Case, resident musician over drinks and nibbles.