Adelaide River and Crocodile Cruise

I started on a bus tour of Litchfield Park at 7.20am and never imagined it could end in such a high note. I had already done a cruise in Kakadu, the Yellow Waters Cruise, the Nitmiluk Cruise of Katherine Gorge. All special cruises with wonderful guides. My photos and videos will show how amazing this Crocodile cruise is. It went for over an hour. Cruise director, Pat in my mind is a real life Crocodile Dundee. He has a wealth of knowledge of the crocodiles, salt water crocodiles in the Adelaide River. On the tour Pat packs a Ruger “in case of an emergency”.

We were carefully seated on the boat to balance it correctly. Pat stressed no limbs or body parts whatsoever past the railings. Only one side to stand at a time.

Then Pat encouraged the crocodiles to come play.

Sneaky getting a snack. 4.6 metres 7 feet of crocodile

Gnasher is a male salt water crocodile and is approximately 4.9 metres metres long 16 feet long and about 50 years old.

Gnasher

Litchfield

I was a little unsure of doing a tour of Litchfield as I am a very independent travellerĀ  and don’t like someone else controlling my trip and worried about the type of people on the bus. Offroad Dreaming has changed my mind. Lyn is a fun informativeĀ  driver and tour guide. With Pat, I will say is a real life ‘Crocodile Dundee’. More on Pat later.

20 people picked up at various hotels around Darwin and my pick up was 7.20am. First stop, cathedral and magnetic termite mounds

Cathedral termite mound
Magnetic termite mounds

Florence Falls has several swimming spots.

Buley Rockhole. We stopped for a dip and delicious lunch prepared by Lyn.

Wangi Falls. No swimming allowed yet as the rangers haven’t found and relocated a crocodile spotted on 19 April 2021. Shame as this spot looks glorious to swim up to the waterfalls.

Introducing Pat. My real life Crocodile Dundee. Complete with a Ruger. In case of emergency. Check my next post for a section devoted to Pat and his Crocodile Cruise.

Pat. Whom I call Crocodile Dundee

I love this weather rock from Humpty Doo

Hot Springs

There are so many beautiful oases to be enjoyed in the Northern Territory of Australia. All free. First is Katherine hot springs

My favourite is Bitter Springs in Elsey

Floating down Bitter Springs

Mataranka Thermal Pool

These signs are everywhere in the Northern Territory

Rainbow Springs Mataranka. You cannot swim in this one

Nitmiluk

Previously named Katherine Gorge, Nitmiluk is 30km from the township of Katherine. It is a 292000 hectares national park owned by the Jawoyn Aboriginal people. You can do various cruises through the Gorge. I did a 2 hour cruise which included walks between gorges.

Nitmiluk cruise

The sandstone cliffs and waterways are spectacular

In the wet season the water rises to the middle of the top cave
Several movies have been filmed here including Top End Wedding

Some of the rock art dates back 10,000 years

The circles are an indicator that there are bush potatoes across the gorge. A bit like a shopping catalogue

One thing I did not like about Nitmiluk is the 200,000 bats who arrive every few years. They were here this visit and the stench is unbearable. It wasn’t until I filled my car with petrol and had a good sniff that I got the disgusting smell out of my nostrils. Not even my perfume or sniffing eucalyptus worked.

Rock Art

Started the day with an 86km trip to Ubirr to see Aboriginal Rock Art. Advice to everyone. Before leaving your hotel in the Northern Territory, check to see if the places you plan to attend are open. As many of the tourist and heritage sites are owned by the indigenous Aboriginals, they observe mourning of elders and close various sites as a sign of respect. This was the case this morning with Ubirr. It was disappointing but when travelling the unexpected occurs and in this instance it is important to follow and respect the traditions. I went to the next stop on my way to Katherine, Nourlangie (Burrungkuy)

There is a track which is well signposted. The Shelter is a little steep but not too difficult. Just make sure to take lots of water for these walks

I was so excited to see sacred rock art and the stories are thousands of years old.

My favourite piece is this which represents singing and dancing

The walk up to the lookout looks more difficult than it is and worth doing.

Kakadu

It is thanks to South Australia once and twice to Tasmania closing their borders in the past year that I am in the Northern Territory. NT have been much more sensible to Covid19 management, much like NSW who did not close their border to everyone for one case. Today I drove the 2.5 hours from Darwin to Kakadu.

Drove from my hotel Mercure Crocodile Hotel to Cooinda Lodge to get the tour for Yellow Waters. These signs deter you from stopping to look for crocodiles? I expect instead of catching lunch you may become dinner.

Yellow Waters Cruise and I recommend the sunset cruise is a must do in Kakadu. Our tour guide was Lily who is very knowledgeable and humorous. She loves what she does. Every time something caught someone’s eye she would steer the boat back for us to get the best vantage point. This is the proof. Thank you Lily.

Darwin 20 May 2021

Aquascene in Doctor’s Gully is a sanctuary for fish. They come in at high tide. You can feed the fish which include barramundi, catfish, mangrove jack, mud crabs, stingrays and others.You can stand in the water and they swim around your legs. No crocodiles or sharks here. The harbour fisheries remove any sharks and crocodiles which come into the harbour as soon as they are spotted. Around 200 crocodiles are removed each year.

Catfish

End the day with a Mindil Beach sunset

Mindil Beach

Darwin WWII Museum

The first time I realised Darwin, well, anywhere in Australia was bombed during WWII was in Baz Luhurmann’s epic movie “Australia “. I knew Japanese minisubmarines entered Sydney Harbour but I never learned any of this at school!! It’s a disgrace we weren’t taught this important history. The museum shares Darwin WWII stories of people from all walks of life and embarrassingly made me aware of my lack of historical knowledge of my country. Sure I am first generation Australian born of Italian parents but this history should be mandatory in school. This museum is set in pretty grounds with lots of equipment salvaged from the bombing.

More than 270 people perished on 19 February 1942. Luckily the government evacuated women and children following the bombing of Pearl Harbour. But Darwin was taken by surprise.

List of enemy aircraft and what was attacked

Here is a statue representing The Digger and all who have served, past and present, to pritect our freedom and Gunner the kelpie who alerted allies when Japanese aircraft were approaching.

On my travels I have also learned about Japanese and German boats and mines along the New South Wales coastline during WWII. These maps from the Fisherman’s Cottage Museum in South West Rocks NSW show the positions of mines and the loss of life and vessels

Darwin Day 3

Oh the weather here is fabulous. Funnily the locals told me it was cold at 25 this morning. Darwin city is so pretty with an area called the Waterfront. Lovely cafes and restaurants and an area to swim which is protected from crocodiles and Box Jellyfish.

Darwin Waterfront

The Parliament House looks like it is from a tropical island.

Darwin Parliament House

WWII Darwin was bombed by the Japanese for 6 months. Hard to imagine this harbour under attack

Oil storage Tunnels were built but the war ended prior to them being used

Top Secret
WWII oil storage Tunnels

Puppet “The Digger” was made from WWII parts.

The Digger

Some of Darwin

Japanese first bombing 19 February 1942
Government House
Anglican Cathedral