Australian Adventure Week Eleven!

Trip Start Oct 28, 2009
Trip End Oct 03, 2010

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Merl Campground

Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Tuesday, June 1, 2010

After spending a day relaxing in the lovely Holiday Park in Alice Springs, we headed into the centre of Alice Springs for the day.

We handed Brucie in for his 10,000 km service and went to visit the Royal Flying Doctors' Base. We joined a guided tour where we were able to see an operational office with up-to-date flight status shown on a board.  It was interesting to find out about the work of the Royal Flying Doctors.

Next we went to visit the Alice Springs School of the Air.  This school has 133 pupils covering an area of 1.3 million sq km!  The children used to have their lessons via radio link but in the past few years they have all been provided with the necessary equipment to learn via the internet.  We were lucky to see a live lesson in process and found it all very fascinating.

Back at the Holiday Park Dave got chatting to a nice couple, Margaret and Mike, who invited us to watch the 'State of Origin’ rugby match between New South Wales and Queensland with them.  This is a big game in Australia and Dave enjoyed it.

Soon after leaving Alice Springs we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn line and Dave insisted on taking some photos!

Our next fuel stop was in a town called Wycliffe Well.  This was a strange place that claims to have regular UFO sightings!!  Even the petrol station was covered with alien paintings and there were alien models outside!  Bizarre!

We arrived at the Devils Marbles where we planned to camp for the night.  We went for a walk around some of the strange boulders that are made from eroded granite and watched the sunset.  In the morning walked around some more of the boulders.  It was an interesting place.

We continued up the Stuart Highway and stopped at Daly Waters to visit the famous Daly Waters pub that we had heard a lot about.  There are bras, knickers, signed t-shirts, business cards, number plates and anything else worth putting up to leave your mark!

We drove on to Elsey National Park and on the way there were many huge termite mounds along the sides of the road.  We camped for the night and in the morning went to the Mataranka thermal pool where Dave went for a relaxing swim in the hot water surrounded by the rainforest.  Nat sat at the side and bathed her feet!

We drove on to Katherine and checked into the campground by Katherine Gorge.  We went for a walk up the hill to a lookout over the entrance to the gorge.  It was a beautiful place with stunning views.  We were glad that it was only a short walk as the sun was so hot!  Once we had walked back down we sat in a park where there were loads of wallabies, including a mother with a joey in her pouch!

The next day we drove to Kakadu National Park which is somewhere that we had been looking forward to visiting.  After checking in at the visitor centre we went to a lookout with views over the southern area of the park and then continued to Cooinda where we booked onto a boat cruise on Yellow Water.

The boat cruise was awesome!  We cruised down Yellow Water and onto the South Alligator River.  Soon after starting the tour we saw our first crocodile named ‘Waters’ – he was huge!!  Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and told us lots of information about the wildlife in the wetlands.  We saw many birds, including a sea eagle which is the second largest bird of prey in Australia, and in total we saw eight crocodiles!  We watched sunset over the wetlands just before the tour ended.  It was another highlight of Australia for us.

The next day we went to the Warradjan Cultural Centre where we learnt about the Aboriginal beliefs about Kakadu.  We did a short walk in baking heat to see ancient rock art in Nourlangie.  We drove on to Ubirr where we did another short walk around some more Aboriginal rock art sights and then climbed up to a look out where we listened to a ranger talk.  He informed us about the Nadab floodplains that we were looking out to and explained why we could see burning in process.  We sat and watched sunset over the wetlands.  That night we stayed in a campground where there were tons of mosquitoes!

The next morning we went to Mamukala and sat in a bird hide watching birds over the wetlands.  It was a very peaceful experience.

We thoroughly enjoyed Kakadu National Park (despite leaving with a few mosquito bites!) and were pleased that we were able to spend a few days there.  The wet season has continued a little longer than usual meaning that certain areas, especially around billabongs, are still flooded.  This meant that some walks were still closed but in the heat we wouldn’t have fancied walking too far anyway!  It is a beautiful place.
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