Monday 3 August 2009 DAY 22
Today we left our overnight stay at Bark Hutt and drove on to Kakadu crossing the West Alligator River which is very wide at this bridge. We took the information given to us last night and decided to stay at Merl which is a lovely NP campsite. On looking around we found a nice shady area amongst some lovely trees and scrub and settled ourselves in. It is still quite hot and very little breeze and the horseflies are huge and bite so we didn't sit outside for long.
Tuesday 4 August 2009 DAY 23
We heard lots of animals and birds during the night but it was cooler so we slept well. We drove the short distance to Urbirr to walk around the rocks with aboriginal art . We were able to get lots of information from a NP ranger here which was really good. The rock drawings were amazing and apparently are some of the best there is to see.
We then drove back to Border Store to have morning tea of French pastries and real coffee. Its amazing what you find here when there aren't any other shops for quite a way - our morning tea was really good especially as we have finished the home made biscuits that our good friend Margaret gave us. As the tide was about to turn at Cahill's Crossing we decided to go and have a look as the crocs are regular visitors at the turn of the tide. We stayed for a long time watching one particularly large croc circling around waiting for the barramundi which were jumping the causeway. What a sight! It was the best free entertainment we have had in quite a while. Cahill's Crossing is the entrance to Arnhem Land which requires a permit so this is our stopping point.
We drove back to Jabiru to get some supplies and then on to the Bowali Visitor Centre. This is another good stop to get information but we only wanted to have a look around. We drove to another camp spot at Muirella but thought it was very hot and dusty and decided to go further on and stay at Mardugal. This was a lovely camp spot and we chose a grassy area and got our van set up for the night. We noticed the Bushtracker next to us and realised it was people from the Caravaners Forum so we introduced ourselves and had a good chat. Jim was glad that Ron had his Honda manual for the generator and he and Ron spent some time checking things out. Judy was able to fill us in on some of the local things to see and do.
Wednesday 5 August 2009 DAY 24
We left the van at the campsite and drove to Jim Jim Falls. We knew the track was 4wd only but were surprised at how bad the corrugations were but we made it to the Falls and walked about half way on quite a rough track but as the waterfalls weren't flowing we decided not to go up further. The pool at the bottom was very pretty and we stayed a while before returning to the car. We then drove to Twin Falls, walked a short distance where we caught the shuttle boat to another walk up to the falls. This again was a very rough track and we climbed over rocks and ledges but I decided not to go right up to the falls as the track looked too rough for me. Ron decided he would go on and got to the falls and took some photos but he said it was pretty rough going.
Thursday 6 August 2009 DAY 25
Left Mardugal campsite after saying goodbye to Jim and Judy. We drove to Katherine and stopped on the way at Pine Creek to see the railway museum there and also looked at the water gardens - what a lovely surprise in such a small town. Decided to stay in Katherine to stock up on supplies and to recharge all of our batteries and chargers. Also a bit of housekeeping to get done as the laundry has built up a bit.
Friday 7 August 2009 DAY 26
We had to sort out a problem with our Waeco car fridge this morning before leaving the caravan park but Ron discovered it was the plug connection in the car so we were on the road shortly after 9 am. We got to Victoria Crossing by lunch time but couldn't believe how busy they were there, everyone seemed to arrive at the same time so we decided to keep going and refuelled at Timber Creek (LPG 1.164 cpl). We were planning to stay at East Baines River rest area but when we got there it was so dusty and very little shade so drove on to Saddle Creek rest area. This was much better with plenty of shade and lovely cliffs surrounding the camping area. At sunset the cliffs were ablaze with colour and we had our drinks with the backdrop of the amazing colour as the sun set.
Today we crossed into Western Australia and had the quarantine check at the border. The inspector was a South Aussie so had a bit of a chat to us and inspected the van for any fruit and vegetables but we knew they were very strict so had emptied our fridge and cooked up our potatoes so now I have potato salad for another meal. They also check for honey here. Drove on to Lake Argyle and booked into the caravan park and booked a cruise on the Lake for tomorrow morning.
The Durack Homestead was open and was very interesting and full of information on this early pioneering family. Went for a drive over the dam wall and around to a lovely picnic ground nearby. Back at the caravan Ron fitted an extra fan to the Waeco fridge to help extract the hot air from the back of the fridge and will fit the other fridge in the van with a fan when he can purchase some more cable. It makes a big difference to the temperature in the fridge as it has been struggling to keep things frozen at a low enough temperature.
Sunday 9 August 2009 DAY 28
We went on the cruise on Lake Argyle. It is so huge and although we were on the trip for 2 hours we only saw about 1/4 of the lake.
At its normal full capacity it is 21 times Sydney Harbour and in flood conditions it can hold up to 80 times Sydney Harbour. There are numerous small islands in the lake and we were lucky enough to see some Jabiru nesting and some rock wallabies and a few freshwater crocodiles. The lake is free for anyone to use for any water activities and for fishing. The local fish is silver cobbler.