Week Five of the Adventure
Trip Start Jun 27, 2010
13Trip End Oct 01, 2010
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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
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
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)”.