Thursday 11th September
We started the next phase of our trip by saying goodbye to Western Australia and at about nine thirty in the morning, and after travelling for about fifty kilometres along the Victoria Highway, we reached the borders of the Northern Territories, we stopped there and took some photos and then carried on to the first Northern Territory town Timber Creek, we went straight into the Gunamu Caravan Park and checked in for the night. After having a cuppa we walked around the town centre which is very small, then we went to the information centre, and then along the new bridge across the Victoria River, which passes the town, and then up to the lookout where we took lots of photos. The caravan park was shady and good enough for a night stay. The town is primitive and inhabited mainly by indigenous people. The next morning we carried on along the Victoria Highway, and arrived at the Victoria Fiver Roadhouse just in time for a drink and a morning snack. The roadhouse was very attractive with a lot of artistic work around the inside walls, the bar and restaurant areas, and had a large front veranda with tables and chairs and big fans overhead, so there is no need to mention the temperature and how many drinks we had. From there we continued our travel for another two hundred kilometres or so, until we arrived Katherine at about two thirty in the afternoon, and after we inspected a couple of caravan parks, we checked in at the River View Tourist Park. The park was a three and half star, was shady, had a nice swimming pool, a clean ablution with good showers, a service station with a general store, a liqueur outlet and backing onto the popular Katherine natural thermal Hot Springs, about two kilometres from the city centre, so you wouldn’t ask any more from a caravan park. We booked for two weeks. The Katherine region, the jewel of the Territory, is where the red of the outback meets the green of the Top End. Katherine has the third largest population (11,500) in the Territory and tourism is one of the largest industry. The first week, we spent our time mainly at the swimming and the Hot Spring, mind you the temperature was in the high thirties but who cares about the weather when you having a good time. The following week we started our tours. One day we spent at Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park , where we took a boat tour through the Katherine gorge, taking pictures of the breathtaking views of mother nature, and after the tour we went through the visitor centre and bought some souvenirs and had some refreshments and a snack, by then it was time to go back. The next day we had rest at the camp, and you know a rest does not mean doing nothing, we spent most of the day around the pool and in the hot spring again, and in the late afternoon, we went for mango picking from around the back of the park, me and Sandra were picking the mango and Mom and Ike were filling them in bags, we picked heaps of very large mangos ( Illegally ? NO NO !!! they were for any resident to pick), and I can say they were delicious and worth all the trouble and the hard work. The next day, we went for a picnic to the popular Edith Falls, we took the Engel full of drinks and our lunch, we spent the whole day swimming at the water hole in the fresh and crispy waters of the Billabong, we all had a great time swimming and relaxing. The following day, we went touring around to the museum and then to Knots Crossing on Gorge road, a river crossing, made famous in Jeannie Gunn's book, " We of the Never Never". A pleasant picnic and swimming spot. We continued on Gorge road for about six km arriving at the popular Kumbidgee Lodge Tea Rooms just in time for dinner. This unique eatery looms out of the bush like an oasis and it is must for every traveller. We visited the Katherine Low Level, a scenic riverfront parkland of Low Level Circuit built by American troops in WWII, and then the Springvale Homestead which is the oldest original station Homestead in the territory. We very much enjoyed our stay in Katherine.
|Edith Falls Katherine||Magnificent Katherine Gorge||Magnificent Katherine Gorge|
|Edith Falls Katherine|
Swimming at Edith Fall Katherine
Knotts Crossing - Katherine
|Didgeridoos on Gorge Rd Katherine||The Sign Says It All Gorge Road||The Lookout Katherine Gorge|
Friday 19th September 2004
We left Katherine in the morning. Our first stop was Pine Creek 90 km North of Katherine, with a population of 800, is the only town left from the old gold rush of 1871, and many of the buildings in the town are from this era. We continued on to Adelaide River where we stopped for lunch, then we went and visited the War Cemetery, a final resting place for hundreds of military personnel and civilians killed during the 1942-1945 raids on Darwin. From here we drove for a 120 km straight through to Darwin arriving at the Palms Village Resort caravan park and checked in for two weeks. This park is the newest Top End 4 star luxury and boasts 35 acres of landscaped gardens with a luxurious salt water swimming pool and a "Bistro Terrace" and bar by the pool. On Christmas Eve 1974 Darwin was devastated by "Cyclone Tracy", Australia's worst natural disaster. Virtually evacuated for a while, it had to be rebuilt from scratch. Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory and is probably the most modern city in Australia. With its close proximity to South East Asia, Darwin is well influenced by its northern neighbours, and by the more than 50 different cultures that lives harmoniously in Darwin. There is a saying that no one leaves Darwin (perhaps this does not apply to us because we have to travel both east and south to see the unique features of the "Top End". During our stay we visited Parliament House and that was a great experience. we also visited Fannie Bay Gaol, now registered historic site endured a series of cyclones and bombings and escapes from 1883-1979. We also toured the wharf with its variety of restaurants, and had the tastiest "Barramundi with a million dollar view. We also visited Cullen Bay Marina, we even went to the popular Mindil Beach night market, bought some souvenirs and had delicious mango pan cakes. We spent a lot of time around the suburbs and the beaches as well as the swimming pool at the resort, and all what we can say is that we loved Darwin and we going back again.
|The Sign Says It All||The Army Bunkers - Darwin||Fannie Bay - Darwin|
|Kalymnos Orthodox Church||Government House Darwin||The Quilt Parliament House|
|NT Parliament House-Darwin||War Memorial Adelaide River||War Memorial Adelaide River|
Friday 3rd October 2003
We left Darwin heading south for about 35 km, via the Stuart Highway then we took the turn off to Kakadu National Park along the Arnhem Highway and travelled for about 220 km until we arrived at Jabiru the main town of the National Park, and checked in at the Aurora Caravan Park which had a much needed swimming pool and a powerful spa, a restaurant, a bar and a green BBQ area all surrounding the pool . The scenery while driving through the National Park was so natural that it makes you feel you are in a different world. Jabiru was a fine base for us. Kakadu National Park is a world heritage area covering 20,000 sq km, rich in natural and cultural Heritage. We spent three days touring the park, we went to the Yellow Water and to the nearby Gagudju Lodge for lunch and refreshments. Another time we went bird watching and witnessed the migration of thousands of birds which from around the world to escape the cold weathers and breed here, and that was spectacular and a must see. One thing while touring the park is to watch out for the salt water crocodile although there many warning signs around the park. We spent half a day at the visitor centre where they had a huge display of aboriginal art and culture. We went to other places too many to mention, enjoying every minute of our tours.
|Jumping Crocodile Kakadu|
At the Bird's watching shelter
|Talking Ducks Jabiru Visitors Centre||Lots Of Bird's - From The Watching Stand Kakadu||National Park Entrance Kakadu|
|At Gagudju Lodge Cooinda Kakadu||A Reflection View From Kakadu||The Aurora Holiday Park Jabiru|
Sunday 5th October 2003
On the road again leaving Jabiru along the Kakadu Highway heading to Katherine. We stopped at the Mary River Visitors Centre for a breather, then to Pine Creek again where we refuelled, and that was the end of the Kakadu NP reserve. We continued our way south along the Stuart Highway arriving Katherine late in the afternoon and checked in for three nights of well deserved rest at the Riverview Caravan Park. We spent most of our time between the swimming pool and the thermal hot water spring.
Wednesday 8th October 2003
We left Katherine early in the morning heading south along the Stuart Highway for the long journey to Tennant Creek. Our first stop was the town of Mataranka. The small town boasts a small number of shops and stores and the Never Never Museum (after Jeannie Gunn's book the Land of the Never Never) which houses a good display of the area's history . We had breakfast at the park took many photos (as you can see below) and continued on to Daly Waters, 3km off the main highway. Daly Waters is no more than a pub, the pub has the distinction of being the oldest hotel in the Territory and was originally a watering hole for the stockmen on the long cattle drive across the Territory from Queensland to the Kimberly in Western Australia. We stopped here for lunch and an icy cold beer and some photographs. Then we continued on passing through the small towns of Dunmarra, Elliot and then Renner Springs Roadhouse when we decided to stay the night at the caravan park behind the roadhouse and have a good rest.
Daly Waters Famous Pub
|Mataranka Land of the Never Never||Mataranka Land of the Never Never||Mataranka Land of the Never Never|
|Pictures we took on the way to Tennant Creek|
|Renner Springs Caravan Park|
Mataranka Jeannie Gun Land of the Never Never
Renner Springs Desert Hotel
Thursday 9th October 2003
In the morning we continued on to Tennant Creek where we checked in for three nights at the Tennant Creek Outback Caravan Park. The park was very clean, spacey with lots of well needed shady trees and a swimming pool, and the hosts were a very pleasant couple. Tennant Creek with a population of about 3,500 is main regional centre for the Barkly Tablelands, and is just over 500 km from Alice Springs. It is the third richest goldfield in Australia, and while mining is still carried out, the boom years have gone. We visited Battery Hill, home of the Tennant Creek gold stamping battery and mining museum. We toured around the Old Overland Telegraph Station and Mary Ann Dam which is a man made lake, and the Pebbles which are an extensive area of granite boulders that are miniatures of the Devils Marbles. We very much enjoyed our stay in this outback town of the Northern Territory. The weather was getting hotter and we all decided not to carry on further south to Alice Springs and opted to head back across the Overlander to Queensland and be there before the cyclonic weather of the north, and we will tour Alice Springs and Uluru (The Red Centre) on another trip.
|Battery Hill Gold Mine||Battery Hill Gold Mine||Old Telegraph Station|
|Pictures we took in and around Tennant Creek|
|Mary Ann Dam|
|Outback Caravan Park||Outback Caravan Park||Tennant Creek Main Street|
and so for now
Goodbye Northern Territory and Hello Queensland