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carmel’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 04 Jun 2006

Location: Katherine, N.T., Australia

Map29/5/06

We are now back at Broome, after a fairly uneventful trip. Barrie took the horror 10kms much easier (it took over ½ an hour) and it was much better.

We had some excitement while we were at Barn Hill, the customs chopper and border control planes passed over (at different times). Admittedly they only do it once a week, but with our enormous coastline, even that’s pretty good.

On the way back, we saw this enormous cat run across the road – I reckoned it was a panther, but I think Barrie was right, it was probably a feral one. AND one good thing happened on the rough road – our cruise control is working again, it must have just needed a good shake up.

30/5/06

I stupidly used sandals instead of getting my track shoes when I went walking with Gaynor this morning, and I now have blisters on both of my feet. Despite that (I’m tough!!), Barrie and I drove to Gantheaume Point to check out the dinosaur footprints. We didn’t get to see the real ones, we would have had to be there at 6.18am this morning for the (very) low tide – they only get them for 3 days a month. We also missed out on the staircase to the moon (the full moon reflecting on the seabed at Roebuck Bay). However we’ve been told we didn’t miss out on much.

We had lunch at the Point, then Barrie drove back to Gaynor’s and I took the car to finish off the tourist bits around town. I must admit we’ve been to lots of places much more interesting than Broome. We are leaving here tomorrow and heading back to Kununurra.

31/5/06

Had a big drive today, over 600kms, but we wanted to get to Mary Pool, the free park we stayed at on the way to Broome. It’s really good driving along, almost everyone, including truckies, waves to each passing vehicle (except rentals, they don’t seem to go for it). It could be a way of keeping awake.

On the way to Mary pool, we stopped off so I could walk across a bridge over the Fitzroy River as I’d been assured you could see crocodiles there, but, hard as I looked, I didn’t see any.

1/6/06

We were on the road by 6.45am this morning, with the temperature a chilly 9.5oC. Being closer to the N.T. border, daylight comes earlier. There was still water over the road near Turkey Creek, but things have definitely dried out. As a matter of fact, some of the areas need rain really badly.

The pass through the mountains was very windy this time.

I love the boab trees. It surprises me how the two types, deciduous and evergreen, grow side by side. Initially I thought the deciduous ones were dead.

We stopped again at the Hidden Valley Caravan Park at Kununurra, however we intend staying for 2 nights this time and get to see everything. On the way into the town, we drove across the weir which separates the Diversion Dam and Lake Kununurra – and the water was flowing through the sluice gates.

2/6/06

Our first outing this morning was to the Mirima National Park where we did a couple of walks in the (so-called) Mini Bungle Bungle – much easier than going into the proper ones. But even so, it was a pretty steep climb in parts – I had to get down one part on my backside – very embarrassing. (I’ll put a sunset photo of the range taken from the caravan park on my photo page.) The other good outing was to the Zebra Rock Gallery. Zebra rock is a very attractive, variegated rock only found at Kununurra (most of it is now under Lake Argyle). Included in the entrance fee to the gallery was the opportunity to feed the fish in the Ord River. There were literally hundreds – mainly horrible catfish (what an ugly fish) but there were also grunters. We also went to the Hoochery where they make rum, but even Barrie reckoned that was a fizzer.

3/6/06

Before we left Kununurra, we went to the Saturday market and were able to buy some grapefruit, papaw and rockmelon. So we are going to be having lots of fruit salad for, at least, a few days.

And we are now back into the Northern Territory. They have some funny signs here, e.g. ‘We like our lizards frilled not grilled’ – don’t ask me what that means. They also have some unusual creek names, e.g. ‘Pint Pot Creek’, followed by ‘Quart Pot Creek’. I didn’t see a ‘Gallon Pot Creek’, but maybe I missed it.

We are back at the Timber Creek Caravan Park, it’s definitely not one of the better ones, but, at least, I should see crocodiles here. (I’ll put a photo of one on Planet Ranger.) And I am sure it is the friendliest park, as far as the caravaners go, we have stayed at. (The people who run it are hopeless, it takes forever to book in – and, each time, have ‘accidentally’ overcharged us. Needless to say they are ‘very apologetic’ when it is pointed out to them, but what if it’s not pointed out???)

4/6/06

240km west of Katherine, we came on an upside down car. It looked as though it hadn’t happened much earlier (Barrie reckons the driver possibly fell asleep as it was on a perfectly straight road.) We got out and Barrie checked the car, but fortunately there was no-one in it, so there must have been people to it before us. (I don’t know what we’d have done if there had been anyone there as, surprise, surprise, our mobile was out of range - again.)

It’s quite nice driving along the Savannagh Way, the land generally is quite parklike with the mountains on either side, the trees not too dense and wildflowers beside the road. This was particularly so driving through the Gregory National Park. The mountains have ridges which look like the Great Wall of China. An added bonus was the road, at times, ran along beside the Victoria River. And this is despite the fact that they are right into controlled burn-offs here in the N.T. I’m guessing the reason is to give the motorist a chance to see any livestock/wildlife before it is too late. Another thing I’ve noticed has been these enormous cobwebs; they look too big for spiders. I reckon they could even trap a small bird.

We stopped off at Victoria River Roadhouse for morning tea. I got some great shots of the Red Valley Gorge. There was also a mob of Brahmin bulls there. (I really like their looks, although I realise it’s an acquired taste, plus they are so placid and friendly.) There were 2 horses with them and a woman went over to pat the horses, and the cattle came over for their pats, too. However one of the horses bit the other one and bared his teeth at the cattle so they all backed off. He wasn’t going to share his pats with anyone.

We are now back at the Riverview caravan park at Katherine (it has wireless internet), however we are staying two nights this time so we can check out what Katherine has to offer.
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