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Katherine to Darwin - the 'long' way

AUSTRALIA | Wednesday, 6 July 2016 | Views [388] | Comments [2]

Florence Falls and the plunge pool - nice spot for a swim!

Florence Falls and the plunge pool - nice spot for a swim!

After a couple of days in Katherine and a really good night catching up with a couple of my cousins from Victoria we headed off for Gunlom Falls in the SW corner of Kakadu NP where we would meet up with the rest of the group again.

On arriving at Gunlom we were disappointed to find that due to the low rainfall through the wet season that there was barely a trickle going over the falls. Even on the way in the water level in the South Alligator River was very low. However the plunge pool was still very inviting for a cooling swim, you had to keep moving in the water as there were small fish who were insistent on nibbling on people in the water.

After departing the next morning for Daly River we came up to a 4WD towing a camper on the dirt road who was doing a good impression of a mobile chicane, when Jenny and I pulled out to pass he moved right across in front of us almost running us off the road! I don’t think he wanted to be overtaken – but he didn’t get his way! We had morning tea in an interesting cafe in Pine Creek before moving on and taking a diversion off the Stuart highway to find the old historic Grove Hill Hotel. This hotel served a mining area in years past but now only serves a very small population. The hotel was very quaint, complete with a museum – and the museum was complete with years of dust and cobwebs. The publican told us there is still one mine in the area where they pour 17kg of gold every week – not a bad earner!

We arrived at the campground in Daly River by mid afternoon and it turned out to be a real oasis, nice manicured grounds, good amenities and just across the road from the mighty Daly River. There were the usual reports of Barra being taken out of the river in the days just before we arrived but no one in our group had any luck. What was obvious on the river was the many large Crocs. One of the nights there we had dinner in the local pub, the menu was extensive but the problem was that most of the items were unavailable – even the Barra! One of the local identities came and sat with us to tell us his life story and stories of his people, it was very interesting to listen to him as he was one of the stolen generation but he has gone on to really make something of his life. While in Daly River we also visited an art gallery where we found some outstanding art pieces, one the artists there was a young guy who showed some incredible talent.

On leaving Daly River to head for Litchfield NP we were forced to go via Adelaide River as the Reynolds River track was closed, this did give us the opportunity to visit the WW2 Cemetery. The War Graves Commission deserves high praise for the way this cemetery is kept. Just on lunchtime we arrived at a very busy campground at Wangi Falls in Litchfield but we were lucky enough to find spots to accommodate us all.

Over the next 3 days we visited most of the highlites of the NP with plenty of opportunities to swim in places like Wangi Falls, Buley Rock Holes and Florence Falls. The eroded formations at the Lost City were spectacular and quite different to many of the other lost cities around the country. The one place we missed out on seeing was the Blythe Family Homestead due to the closure of the Reynolds River Track. One place we did visit which we missed when we were last in Litchfield was the abandoned Bamboo Creek Tin Mine, it was interesting to find that they not only mined the ore but extracted the mineral on site, the mine closed in 1951 due to flooding and problems with workers contracting Silicosis disease. In the 3 days we were in Ltchfield the plunge pool at the bottom of Wangi Falls got a lot of use as the weather was quite hot.

A late departure from Litchfield had us arriving at Berry Springs for lunch on the way to Darwin, this is another spot in the north well worth a visit. We have had 2 days in Darwin to rest, shop and attend to some vehicle maintenance issues before heading off to Mardugal Camp in Kakadu NP for a couple of days before heading off again up to the Coburg Peninsular for 3 days.

More when we are back in Katherine after our trip to the Coburg Peninsular .....



Thanks John for the great reading and photos...

  Rick Jul 7, 2016 10:36 AM


We are thoroughly enjoying reading your blog, together with the pics. Love also the fact there are so many swimming holes/pools to enjoy and refresh in, given the temperatures that your experiencing.

  Barry & Dot Jul 7, 2016 5:29 PM

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