Week Five of the Adventure

Trip Start Jun 27, 2010
Trip End Oct 01, 2010

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Tumbling Waters

Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Saturday, July 31, 2010

Week Five of the Flood Family Adventure

Day 29 – Moved camp from Gunlom to Cooinda, near Yellow Water, and revelled in the lagoon-style pool (definitely no crocs here) as a relief from the heat.

Day 30 – We awake before the sun and dress quickly, drive down to the dock of the Yellow Water Billabong and board a flat bottomed boat for a sunrise cruise through the billabong and out onto the South Alligator River. The bird life is incredible – massing brown Whistling Ducks carpeting the banks, the surprising Jacana which appears to walk on water and so is nicknamed the Jesus bird, the enormous white-bellied Sea Eagle, the tiny Azure Kingfisher and more.  Love the beautiful pink and white water lilies and the Jabiru's nest the size of a Mini Minor.  A four metre long salt water crocodile, dubbed Wartus by our guide, glided along by our side of the boat for ages giving us a ringside seat, his enormous head and jaws only a metre away from us.  After the cruise we return to Cooinda and the breakfast buffet included in the price of our cruise.  Surprisingly this appears to be the boys first ever experience of a hotel-style breakfast buffet, their eyes widen considerably and each foray out and back to the table is accompanied with questions from the rest "where did you get the yoghurt", “where did you get the croissant”.  Suffice to say, some serious eating went on.   So impressed by the cruise we re-upped for the Sunset Cruise.  Shared a drink at the end of the day with a lovely couple from NSW.

Day 31 – We pack up and head off to Nourlangie where we are stunned by the amazingly detailed rock art set amongst the shady caves and overhangs, gorgeous area, incredible experience.  Head to Jabiru, the administrative centre of Kakadu to check it out, then out along the Arnhem Highway to Mary River where we camp in a lovely shady spot .

Day 32 – We head off to a weeklong camp based at Tumbling Waters, Berry Springs (about 40 minutes out of Darwin).  Enjoy barra and chips and the Berry Springs nature park and its wonderful shady, pandanus lined freshwater springs.  (Chris less impressed by the tiny fish that nibble on any scars on your legs).  That night we enjoy deckchair cinema at Tumbling Waters.

Day 33 – We head into Darwin.  Along the way on the Stuart Highway we pass several WWII airstrips.  Visit the Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery filled with wonderful natural history exhibits (including a massive preserved saltie called Sweetheart), a great Cyclone Tracey exhibit.  Wander around after lunch, Declan and Suzanne visit the State Library housed in the same building as the NT Parliament and that night enjoy the culinary delights of the Mindil Beach Night markets as the sun sets over the Darwin harbour.

Day 34 – Rest, swim and launder!

Day 35 – Today we visit the nearby Territory Wildlife Park, and even though it’s the Saturday of a Long Weekend there are very few people.  Great birds of prey show and Keir and Conor get to have a Ruffous Owl perch on their hand.  In the aquarium giant freshwater whip rays and a saltie glide over our heads.  Keir loved the nocturnal house and Conor spotted catfish swimming beneath the platform at the lagoon.  Great day.

Next week – Litchfield National Park, Nitmiluk Gorge and we head West!

For the dedicated reader, this week’s essay explores the “Camping Tribes of Northern and Central Australia”:

Scientific name Greyus Nomadus.  The Grey Nomads migrate north in large numbers annually, most commonly in pairs.  They are highly prepared travellers, often in vans equipped to accommodate a large family and capable of counteracting every climatic condition.  They eat just prior to sunset and can be seen in small flocks enjoying a “happy hour” whilst the Familia parentus are still hard at work rebuilding their detailed nest.  Some Greyus Nomadus are attracted to the young of the La Familia species and welcome interaction (having left the young of their own species down South), but the majority visibly shudder at the sight of La Familia entering their nesting area or swimming pond.  Greyus nomadus can also be seen in front of Familia parentus (female) in the queue to wash their outer garments.

Scientific La Familia Australus (remotely related to La Familia Nederlandus, a hearty group, and various other continental variants).  This is a slightly rarer species – the parentus of the species often look harried and overworked with domestic tasks and from separating the squabbling young of the species.   Occasionally the parentus can be observed in quiet reflection at the stunning scenery surrounding them.  The young of species can be observed hunched over small colourful boxes and frequently make excessive noise early in the morning.

Scientific name Campervanus Explorer – this species in particularly prevalent in Central Australia and the Top End.  Sub-species include the daringly plumed Wicked, several from across the Tasman including the Maui, the more conservatively plumed Apollo and the rugged looking Britz.  This species tends to travel light in pairs or threes, and only close observation and long study will provide any sight of a Campervanus Explorer young.

Scientific name Byronus Bay Shagg – this is a rarely sighted species, but a rewarding one nevertheless with its interesting twisted and dreadlocked plumage and pungent odour.  Metal rings often adorned the body and face.  The Byronus Bay Shagg often travels with two male and one female of the species and always appears blissful.

Suzanne’s Bush Camping Beauty tip –  Never Give Up Hope.  Expensive product (oh and I should fess up, only expensive by my thrifty standards!) thought to be lost last week has reappeared – it must have fallen into the towel bag!  It’s like I say to Chris “nothing is really lost it’s just misplaced (well except for that bag of shoes we lost in Week One, oh and wait 'til you see what we lose next week)”.
Slideshow Report as Spam


The HR team Melbourne on

We are in BIG trouble! Nothing unusal about that.
We have been a busy little team and we miss you! We have all booked holidays and can't wait for your return so we can go - ehehe.
Still getting over the 1 July madness, Carola is recruiting, Grad recruitment madness this week. Kate is off to NZ for her dad's 80th b'day. Carola is still flat hunting, Tania is counting down to her US adventure in 3 weeks and Rach and Camilla will go on holidays soon. We are counting down the weeks till you get back (6 to go). Also Jan has tried to email you, not sure if you got it but she says hello. From the very incompetent blogging HR team!

1642 on


Sounds like a fabulous trip. I am envious but not too much because we will be flying to Canada next Wednesday for 4.5 weeks. Looking forward to that. Tania sent me the link to your Blog as I'd like to briefly let people know how you are in the upcoming edition of Foxtales (hope that's OK). See you when you get back. Don Warner

Mum on

I just love your "scientific" observations of the tribes of central and western Aus. Barb has just returned from 10 weeks around the same area and confirms many of your observations. She could not get over the increased size of the vans. From Broome they came down a little further inland as it was less crowded than the coast. All is going along much the same here, you know the theatre, lunches and so on, but you dont want to hear about those things, do you? Enjoy the luxuries that Broome has to offer, take a big breath and enjoy the second half of your adventure. Jasper sends a big tailwag to all.

Ali & family on

Hi guys,
We are loving reading your stories and look forward to them. I belly laughed reading your defintion of grey nomads. It sounds like you are all having a great time and Gerard thinks that if the Levings family enbarge on a simialr adventure will have to take Suz along so our blog can be entertaining. Take care and love to all.

Caro on

Very amusing Suz........must line up an agent and a publisher for your return! Good stuff.
All good at home. Freezing couple of days and heaps of rain. Off to Melina's 21st next weekend. Should be a hoot!
Isabella was very envious of Keir and his owl experience. We saw a bird show at Taronga Zoo (we went to Sydney last weekend) and she remarked that 'no-one let us hold any of the birds!' I'm thoroughly enjoying hearing about your adventures. Lots of love to all. xxx

5K on

Hi Flood Family,
Thank you for the photos of the crocodiles they were awesome but at the same time they looked scary. We were just wondering, how big was the biggest one you saw? How cool would it have been to have a ride on one and let it eat your head off, so you can walk around like a headless chicken. You should try and find a boy and girl crocodile so you can take home a little baby one. Keir, was the owl really heavy. We're curious to know, did the owl's eyes looks scary when it looked at you?

We are really lucky to have an extra teacher this week called Mr Harris. We made up some new stick figure ideas in drawing. We are really unlucky because Mrs Smith isn't here. Don't forget Sammy Sprinkler says hi. Don't forget to say goodbye to the elephants. Also, don't forget to say goodbye to the crocos and say g'day mate.
sammy sprinkler can't wait to see you.

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