So we finally crossed over the border and into the Northern Territory, ready to start a whole new adventure. Our first stop was Katherine, where initially intended to stay a couple of days to explore the area, but were unable to get a powered site. Being late in the afternoon we opted for a very expensive, unpowered site for one night instead and decided to have a better look around on our way back from Darwin.
The next day we headed north, stopping in at Pine Creek to check out the markets and having a bite for lunch. Then we continued towards Adelaide River where we discovered Mt Bundy Station, just out of town. Originally we only intended to stay a couple of days but we were having so much fun, we stayed for five.
Mt Bundy was a working station, and had loads of horses, buffalo, cows, chooks and peacocks. There were also plenty of tree frogs, cane toads and a big croc that lived in the river, who we didn’t actually see with our own eyes, but we kept our distance, just in case! There was a little tin shack bar called ‘The Old Brumby Moon’, which had a happy hour every evening. We met loads lovely people and the kids befriended a couple of kids that lived at the station. Lockie was in heaven, heading off for fishing trips with his new mate on the quad bike down to the river. Determined to catch a fish, Lockie finally nabbed a Black Brim (or Sooty Grunter) on his last afternoon there! There was plenty of cane toad hunting at night and, not surprisingly, on our last night there seemed to be very few left!
While we were out Mt Bundy we did a couple of day trips to Berry Springs, Litchfield National Park and into the war cemetery at Adelaide River. Litchfield was very beautiful, but also very busy! The war cemetery at Adelaide River was very interesting and we learned lots of information we didn’t know about Northern Australia’s involvement in WW2.
Some of the falls at Litchfield National Park
We finally headed off on our way to Darwin on Territory Day. Territory day is when the NT celebrates becoming self governed, prior to this they were governed as part of South Australia. More importantly though, it is also a day where people are able to buy and set off fireworks between certain hours. It was crazy stuff! We left the trailer at a friends place for a while and headed in to the city, where we treated ourselves to a few nights at a hotel instead. Once settled we made our way to Mindil Beach where there was a concert and fireworks show for Territory day.
After eating yummy food while listening to Kasey Chambers and Cat Empire live, we were then treated to a spectacular fireworks display while we sat on the sand at Mindil Beach! What a great welcome to Darwin. After the official fireworks finished, the unofficial ones started and it was pretty crazy to say the least. Fireworks were being set off left right and centre and all through the night. One went off next to our taxi on the way home, on the medium strip while were stopped at traffic lights! Crazy stuff but lots of fun. For days afterwards we could hear random firecrackers being set off at all hours of the night.
After our few nights at the hotel we checked into an apartment in Parap, as we had our Nan (mum) and our cousin (nephew) visiting us for eight nights from Kalgoorlie. It was so great to catch up with them and we had loads of fun hanging out, going to the croc park, museum, visiting the markets and eating out. We also went to the Darwin Races and hit the wave pool on the Darwin Waterfront ,which was awesome fun and great value for money.
Harrison and Lockie both learned to crack a stockwhip and Lockie bought himself a whip from Mick’s Whips at Mindil Beach. It was certainly hard to say goodbye, the kids really felt it after we’d had such a great time catching up.
After waving off Nan and Harrison we headed off to explore Kakadu. We based ourselves in Jabiru for the first three nights and did day trips to those places that were closest. There are lots of campgrounds but we didn’t fancy having to pack up and set up every day unless we had to. After arriving late in the afternoon on the first night we set off the next day to have a look at the East Alligator Region. After a quick look in the Bowali visitors centre we drove out to Cahills Crossing. This is where you cross the East Alligator River and leave Kakadu to Enter Arnhem Land. This is a tidal river crossing where saltwater crocs lurk at one side of the crossing and wait for the tide come in and feed on the fish that come with it. We saw one big croc while we were there but the tide was low and we didn’t see them come in to feed. After a bit of lunch we decided to drive over the crossing just to say we’d done it! It was shallow but still exciting as the croc we saw earlier cruised around only a few metres from the car as we crossed the river. We also ventured a little way into Arnhem Land which looked to be spectacular from what we could see, but without the proper permits and being on a schedule, we had to put that on the next time list and were not able to go any further.
Afterwards we headed to Ubirr. Ubirr is both a lookout over the floodplains of Kakadu as well as a natural gallery of rock art, many thousands of years old. It was fascinating seeing all the art and reading about it along the way. Would you believe there was even a painting of a Thylacine (Tassie Tiger) on one of the rocks, which dates the painting back to a time when the Thylacine may have actually roamed around in Kakadu.
The next day we arose very early to set off on a morning cruise across the Yellow Water Billabong. We were able to see all sorts of birds including Kingfishers and Jabiru. We also saw lots of crocs, the biggest being Maxie, who is famous for eating the wild horses that come to drink at the billabong. EEEK!
The highlight of the cruise though was when we were all listening to the guide talk about a bird that was perched on a lilypad near us when suddenly a croc came out from underneath, gave an almighty snap tried to eat it! Luckily the bird lived to see another day but the roar from the tourists on the boat could have been heard a mile away I reckon!
After the cruise we jumped back in the car and headed out to see Twin Falls and Jim Jim Falls. On the way to Twin Falls we had to cross another river. This one was so deep the water actually seeped into the bottom of the car as we crossed it. We didn’t see any crocs on the way over this time, however, I have no doubt they were there somewhere!
To get to Twin Falls we had to jump on a boat that took us along the gorge. Then the boat dropped us off to walk the rest of the way to the base of the falls. The boat ride was pretty cool and we were the only people in the boat except the skipper, which made a nice change. Seems like everyone is on holidays sometimes!
After Twin Falls we headed back over the river and flooded the car again, towards Jim Jim Falls. Jim Jim Falls was a longer walk and very rocky. Of course, Lily did it barefoot, the rest of us in thongs! The Falls themselves were not much more than a trickle but the height from which that trickle fell and the beautiful swimming hole at the base of the falls meant it was still spectacular and well worth the walk in .
The next day we packed up camp and headed out to Gunlom Falls. On the way we stopped at Maguk, another waterfall and swimming hole along the way. This was quite an easy walk in compared to Jim Jim, but the falls and swimming hole were just as great.
Then it was off to Gunlom where we wanted to camp the night. We arrived with plenty of time to walk to the top of Gunlom Falls and have a swim at the top. This walk was a class 5, and Lily and Lockie both did it barefoot again! It was very steep and rocky, but luckily not too long. Like all the walks we’ve done so far though, the effort was worth the reward at the end. The swimming hole for Gunlom Falls was at the top of the falls rather than the base, which meant you got to swim and take in the spectacular views at the same time. Simply amazing!
That night we lit a campfire and soaked it all in while we watched dingoes and wild horses wander past our campsite. The next leg of our trip is the Savannah Way which takes us East through the NT and over the border along The Gulf of Carpentaria into Queensland, finishing at Cairns. Stay tuned for the next episode of our adventure which I’ll post in a couple of weeks when we hit phone range again!
The scenery looks amazing! And the kids looked so grown up!
So hard to pick photos, I love them all. As with all scenery, it looks a lot better standing in front of it! The kids are growing up in more ways than one. They are learning so much.