Debbie & Geoff's

Australian Safari

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Travel Blog - September 2017

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Friday 1st – Sunday 3rd September 2017

Early before sunrise Geoff took a drive back down to the little stream still trying to find the Gouldian Finch. No luck but still managed to get some brilliant pics of other birds. We then decided to drive to Wyndham and check out this little town. They had a school, hospital, pub, general store and again everything was caged. It gives me an uneasy feeling when we see everything with bars over windows. We drove down to the wharf and marvelled at how sturdy the structure is and how big the pylons were, guess in the top end everything has to be over the top with such big tides. Then we took a drive up to the Five Rivers (Bastion) lookout. It is the highest point in the Bastion Range and gives you a bird’s eye view over the Cambridge Gulf including the surrounding Durack, Pentecost, King, Forrest and Ord Rivers. Being so high up we could see how shallow the water was with the tides and also the smoke on the horizon from burn offs that seem to us to be out of control.

 Young Sparrow Hawk      Brolga Dancing      Magpie-goose trying to dance
Young Sparrow Hawk                   Brolga Dancing                 Magpie-goose trying to dance

 Wyndham Port looking south      Wyndham looking south      Wyndham Port looking north
Wyndham Port                   Wyndham looking south                 Wyndham Port looking north

Our last day at Parry’s we drove out on the King River Road to the Diggers Rest which turned out to be a farm stay and you could go fishing and horse riding. We didn’t stay but on the track we did have a look at the Prison Boab Tree, some Aboriginal paintings and the water storage dam. It is still very hot and today Wyndham hit the record for Western Australia with a high of 38 Celsius. Still no humidity (10%) and as we were driving the bush fires were still billowing smoke into the air. Some of the road we passed had caught alight and we watched it flame up when it hit a dry patch of spinifex grass.

 Fire      Fire      Fire
Late season fires ???

One thing we were told is the Aboriginals have a saying about the native Kapok Tree. When it is in flower the Crocodiles are laying, when it is in fruit the baby crocs are hatching, so I can only hope to see a baby croc or two. Behind our campsite is a 4 ½ metre salt water crocodile. Though we have seen it once on the bank and it looked huge, we are keeping a steady eye out for it and staying a distance away.

 Kapok Tree fruit      Boab Prison Tree      Tail of 4.5 meter Salty Croc.
Kapok Tree fruit                   Boab Prison Tree                 Tail of 4.5 meter Salty Croc.

 Barking Owl      Black-necked Stork (Jabiru)      Brolga
Barking Owl                   Black-necked Stork (Jabiru)                 Brolga

We have become friendly with two of the workers at the farm, John and Colin. John is a bird fanatic and on the day we were to leave he took Geoff to a spot hoping again to spot the elusive Gouldian Finch. When they arrived back I again asked the question if he spotted one and with a smile on his dial the answer was not one but hundreds. It made his day with all the different species of birds that he has found in this area and to top it off got great shots of the finch and budgies that were at this water hole.

 Gouldian Finch 'red face'      Long-tailed Finch      Gouldian Finch 'black face'
Gouldian Finch 'red face'                   Long-tailed Finch                 Gouldian Finch 'black face'

 Budgerigar      Star Finch      Spotted Harrier
Budgerigar                               Star Finch                             Spotted Harrier

 Parry's Lagoon      Sunset on Boab tree      Whistling Kite nest
Parry's Lagoon                   Sunset on Boab tree                 Whistling Kite nest

 

Monday 4th – Thursday 7th September 2017

As we head towards Darwin our next adventure was Lake Argyle where we were so happy to find grass, trees and the permission to be able to wash off the dust from the car and van. In every nook and cranny inside and out the red dust has made itself at home. With an abundance of water from the dam we decided to stay here for 3 nights to make the most of the spot. It is a very nice setup here even though there is no phone service they do have free wifi from 4.30pm to 6.30pm, it is slow but enables us to check emails and bank for anything important. Our first evening we had an early dinner in the van then walked down to the bar for an open air movie “It’s a bran nu dae” staring Ernie Dingo and Jessica Malboy. Being set up in the top end of the Kimberley’s the first scene was of the Shell Church that we recently visited up at Cape Leveque. We both enjoyed the show even though it stopped and restarted 4 times and even though our lovely waitress tried her best we still could not see the last 3 minutes so she told us all how it ended and truthfully it was an ending I never expected.

 Lake Argyle      Entrance to Park      Dam Wall
Lake Argyle                   Entrance to Park                 Dam Wall

The next day we had a boat trip booked on Lake Argyle including a wonderful swim in the waters that were surprisingly not that cold. As we floated in the water supported by a noodle (foam flotation aid) the crew passed Geoff a beer and me a glass of wine. How very civil. Lake Argyle has the storage capacity of 20 Sydney Harbours, and supplies power to the Kununurra, Wyndham and Rio Tinto’s Argyle Mine that is famous for the pink diamond, but unfortunately we didn’t get any samples or even have a look at one. Our guide on the boat trip was a Zoologist and was very informative without being boring. With a BBQ fish lunch and lots of salads it was time to turn the boat around and head back to base. We teamed up with a lovely couple from Perth and chatted away on the trip back, making plans to meet up for a drink that evening and ended up having dinner together. Roma and Doug were heading to Darwin today and then planned to fly home. We will contact them when we arrive to see if they are still in the area for another catch up.

 Lake Argyle Boat      Swiming Lake Argyle      Lake Argyle Boat
Lake Argyle Boat                   Swiming Lake Argyle                 Lake Argyle Boat

Last day at the Lake and this was the big clean day. Geoff did the outside of the van and I got stuck into the inside. He was using a toothbrush, well it looked like a toothbrush but was a lot stronger, and I was down on my hands and knees cleaning every corner, draw, cupboard and nook and cranny that had an indentation of red dust. It looked so lovely all clean I hardly recognised it.
After the clean we took a quick drive down to the Argyle homestead. This belonged to the Durack Family and was relocated when the dam was built. They numbered every stone block and had thought the dam would take 8 wet seasons to fill. Well that calculation was wrong and by the third wet season the dam was full and the house still had not been completely removed. They say that it is 95% original from what they could reconstruct. I think Geoff was more interested in Patsy (named after the original owner of the homestead) the local Great Bowerbird that he spotted that was in full mating dress and performing for one of his female followers

 Argyle Homestead      Argyle Homestead      Great Bowerbird
Argyle Homestead                   Argyle Homestead                 Great Bowerbird

Arriving back in the late afternoon it was time to visit the Infinity pool that was in the caravan park. The view over the wet edge was amazing and even though the water was cold the swim and view could not be topped.

 Washing the van      Infinity pool      Argyle Homestead
Washing the van                   Infinity pool                 Argyle Homestead

 

Accross the border to Northern Territory

On the move again and it was a long day travelling to Pine Creek this is 90km past Kununurra heading towards Darwin. We were hoping to free camp this night but the lovely free camps along the highway seemed to all be before Kununurra and nothing afterwards. Another mistake we made is we forgot the time change when you cross from W.A to the Northern Territory so we were running out of daylight and time with 1 ½ hours difference. So dusk was coming, we had been travelling for hours and so we stopped at this little town for the evening. Our friendly neighbours at the park recommended a few stops for us so the next morning we were on the road again but with only 100km to travel.

 

Friday 8th – Saturday 9th September 2017
                                  (15 Months on the road)

Coomalie is only 25km from Litchfield National Park and we are staying here as our base for a few nights before we go to Darwin. After setting up camp we had lunch and headed to the Termite Mounds. One of these mounds was 50 years old and built by the Cathedral Termite, others mounds in the area are Magnetic termites facing north to south so during the heat of the day they have a cooler side of the nest to work in.

 Cathedral Termite mound      Magnetic termites mounds      Leaden Flycatcher
Cathedral Termite mound                   Magnetic termites mounds                 Leaden Flycatcher

Off to Florence Falls where we walked down the 149 steps to a wonderful waterfall and swimming hole. I didn’t bring my cossies but that did not stop me as I went swimming in my clothes which kept me nice and cool for our walk we did along a beautifully crystal clear spring. Litchfield has certainly upgraded this area since our previous visit in 2008. The walkways are wonderful and easy to manage. Our next stop was Buley Rockpools and again an easy walk to an amazing stream that cascaded down from one rock pool to the next. Geoff had his own private pool when he jumped into the water.

 Florence Falls      Wet tee shirt      Beautiful clear stream
Florence Falls                   Wet tee shirt                 Beautiful clear water streams

 Buley Rockpools      Buley Rockpools      Beautiful clear water
Buley Rockpools                   Buley Rockpools                 Beautiful clear water streams

Not wasting any time we were up and out early the next morning to head back in to the park. Our first stop was to visit the Lost City. This is sandstone that had been weathered away leaving columns and pillars that could look like a city from ancient times. As Geoff and I found our way there without a problem I think we can now rename it to Found City.

 Lost City      Lost City      Lost City
Lost City

After wandering around the massive pillars we headed to Tabletop Wetlands but was a bit disappointed as only three birds were spotted. So we drove on to the Tolmer Falls where we strolled down to a lookout and then did the 1.4km walk along the sandstone country and Tolmer Creek . Though swimming was not permitted we did manage to have a closer look at the creek which was again crystal clear and had some beautiful ferns growing in it. The flowers reminded me of a ballerina tutu the way it floated on the top of the water.

 Tolmer Falls      Crystal clear water top of falls      Beautiful clear water
Tolmer Falls                   Crystal clear water, top of falls                 Beautiful clear water streams

Blyth Homestead which was built in 1929 and abandoned in 1960 was next. Four of the fourteen children resided here looking after the grazing cattle on the surrounding flood plains in the dry season and working in the tin mine in the wet season. Gosh they had a hard live and there is a book well laid out for you to read about their lives and how even the 9 year old had the responsibility of cooking for his siblings when they were rounding up cattle. He had a pet crocodile which would follow him around. When they went to the next camp the croc would be swaddled in a canvas bag similar to a swag and strapped onto one of the pack horses. Seems the croc was more scared of the bigger crocs in the streams and liked to stay with the little boy.

 A tough life      Blyth Homestead      Blyth Homestead
A tough life                   Blyth Homestead                 Blyth Homestead

It was now lunch time and the day was warming up so our destination was another waterfall with a plunge pool called Tjaynera (Sandy Creek) Falls . This entailed a 1.7km walk and ended at a beautiful waterfall that I can still remember when we were here previously. Geoff and I did not take long to enter the cool water enjoying the refreshing feel after our walks for the day. Especially since most of today’s drive has been 4wd and dusty again so it was a nice relief to have another crystal clear pool to have a dip in before our walk back. All in all we saw quite a bit and as the tourist season seems to be coming to an end we have managed to avoid overcrowding on places we visit.

 Tjaynera Falls       Tjaynera Falls      Rough track
Tjaynera Falls                   Tjaynera Falls                 Debbie loves a nice level track

 

Sunday 10th – Sunday 17th, September 2017

Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory and infamous for cyclone Tracey and WWII bombing. As we drove towards the town we noticed lots of signs showing the way to WWII sites, from airfields to army bases. We are staying in a large van park not far from the airport as this is where Geoff is leaving for a quick trip to Brisbane. As he flew out I used the time to clean the last remnants of dust out of the van, though I still don’t think I got it all. I also used my one full free day to jump on the bus to the new shopping centre which was very much like a mini version of Westfield’s or any other large centres in Sydney. I had a wonderful time wandering around the shops as it has been quite a while since I had been anywhere so cosmopolitan. Also there is nothing nicer than an air-conditioned shopping centre when the temperature outside is in the very high 30’s.
Geoff arrived back on the Wednesday and we went for a drive to the city. After driving around the coast we arrived at the wharf where the bombings from WWII took place. Here we visited the Royal Flying Doctors Museum. This also had information on the bombing by the Japanese and had lots of interactive displays. The highlight for us both was the 3D demonstration where you wear goggles and re-live the bombing as if you were in the middle of the chaos and confusion, noise, smoke and death. Every way you turned your head you were immersed in the situation. Well worth the visit.
Then we finished our afternoon with an early dinner sitting out on the wharf eating fish and chips and watching the fish below competing with the birds to grab the occasional chip that we threw them.

 Royal Flying Doctors Museum       Royal Flying Doctors Museum       Dinner on the dock
Royal Flying Doctors Museum                   Royal Flying Doctors Museum                 Dinner on the dock

We had a few errands planned over the duration of visiting a big city so the next day we had the car booked in for service. Though we had a loan car booked the dealership let us down and so we decided to sit and wait for the service instead of getting a lift back to the van. By 11am we were back on the road and so headed back into town and another museum was on our agenda. This was the Military Museum Again WWII was the theme and the role Darwin played in it through interactive multimedia. They also had a large display outside of vehicles but unfortunately some of them were rusting away and we wondered how long they would last.

 Debbies new 4x4       Geoff's new 4x4       Inversion layer over Darwin
Debbie's new 4x4                   Geoff's new 4x4                 Inversion layer over Darwin

More chores to be accomplished and this time the van had a wheel alignment and service done. This made us chose to stay around town so why not visit another museum. We found the Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory very well set out and had a display of Cyclone Tracey and the devastation it caused, and how the city coped and rebuilt itself. The museum also had an aboriginal art display and a photographic display from a man who lived in the Northern Territory and took photos of his life on the cattle station. The pictures were amazing and one especially took my fancy was of Aboriginal school children in their school photo. The faces of all were so clear and as I looked at each child I wondered what happened to them as they grew up. The photographs were by Otto Tschim and were taken in 1915-1918.
Time in Darwin was running out and as we were now all full of it (information wise from the museums) it was time to head back to the bush and spend a day at Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve which is known for bird spotting and just beautiful walks. The wetlands are easily accessible as we wondered the paths and did two walks. The first was Woodlands to Waterlilies and took us through forests that fringe the floodplains. Arriving at the dam we walked the boardwalks and sat watching the abundance of birdlife, beautiful waterlilies and lotus lilies whilst enjoying the cool breeze.

 Lotus flower       Comb-crested Jacana       Rose Crowned Fruit-Dove
Lotus flower                   Comb-crested Jacana                 Rose Crowned Fruit-Dove

After our picnic lunch we did the Monson Forest Walk and this winds its way through a variety of monsoon and paperbark forests and then onto the floodplains. Here we spotted a large snake slithering away from a Magpie Goose that had recently been killed. We were told by a couple of tourist that we had met on the track that they had witnessed the commotion of when a crocodile attacked the bird. Geoff was a little sceptical and not sure if it was the croc or snake that actually killed this prey. As we headed back towards the car Geoff was on the lookout for a Rainbow Pitta which is known to be in the area. Luckily he spotted the little fellow and got some great shots even though the light was dim. He was a very happy chappy by the time we made our way back home.

 Large Snake slithering ove dead Magpie Goose       Rainbow Pitta       Wandering Whistling-Ducks
Snake slithering over dead Magpie Goose.         Rainbow Pitta                     Wandering Whistling-Ducks

Our last day was a maintenance day on the truck and van. Though we also planned to go shopping that got canned when we found the shopping centre in Darwin was closed. Not that we had much spare time this day as Geoff cleaned out the final draw in the truck with the red dust and that took ages. That afternoon we took ourselves down to one of the three pools in the park and had a well-earned cooling dip and a few drinks by the pool talking to people from the central coast and listening to music. It was a very nice way to end our Darwin stay.

 Dusty Gear Draw       Dusty Gear Draw       Clean till next dirt road
Dusty Gear Draw                   Dusty Gear Draw                 Clean till next dirt road

 

Monday 18th – Friday 22nd, September 2017

The weather is really heating up and I will be happy when we eventually travel south but in the meantime our destination is east towards Kakadu. We have decided to have a few nights at Corroboree which is just past Humpty Doo in the van park behind the tavern. We are using this as a base to explore the Corroboree Billabong and instead of taking one of the cruises we hired a little tinny for 4 hours to do our own exploring. This is on the Mary River and we picked up the boat at 8am and headed off quite happy to stop whenever we needed to for bird or croc spotting. This trip didn’t disappoint and Geoff lost count on how many White-bellied Sea-eagles that he spotted. Every hundred metres was another eagle or pair of eagles. He noted at least 6 eagle nests on the small part of the river that we cruised on. We also had a very friendly Jacana strolling on the Lotus Lilli pads right next to us and I even managed to get decent photos of it with my iPhone as he came right up to the boat. A Forest Kingfisher was also happy to have his photo taken as he sat and preened himself. We saw a snakebird swallowing a fish and one large crocodile sunning himself on the bank and we were able to get quite close to him also before he splashed quickly into the water.

 Forest Kingfisher       Comb-crested Jacana       Australasian Darter
Forest Kingfisher                   Comb-crested Jacana                 Australasian Darter

 Sea-Eagle Pair       Sea-Eagle on Nest       Warning off intruders
Sea-Eagle Pair                   Sea-Eagle on Nest                 Warning off intruders

Also one buffalo was spotted as he strolled down to the bank. I am not sure if he was worried about us as he kept his eye on us for quite some time before turning and heading back onto the swamp plains. In the meantime Geoff decided he had seen so many eagles it was time to cast a line into the water and try his luck at catching a Barramundi. Still not fish have been harmed on this trip! Though he did manage to tangle the line around his camera and with a lot of swearing undid the body from the lens to free the line.

 Boating on Corroboree Billabong       Buffalo       Closeup Croc. with iphone
Boating on Corroboree Billabong                   Buffalo                 Closeup Croc. with iphone

As well as having a tavern this park has an albino Buffalo in captivity and Freddy the Fresh Water Crocodile and Brutus the Saltwater Crocodile both have ponds side by side. I am not really sure how they got them or if they were injured and here in care as it seems a strange place to have these wild animals in captivity.

Next stop was the Mary River and we stayed at the Wilderness Retreat . As this was only 30km down the road we arrived about 10.30 and partially set up before going on one of the many walks they have here. Unfortunately our 3 ½ km stroll was done on the hottest part of the day and as we didn’t take any water with us (dumb) I really felt the strain as my body heated up. I was very glad to get back to the van with the air conditioner pumping and it took a while till my red face returned to normal. That afternoon we had booked on the sunset boat tour and at 4.30pm we were down to the staging area to board our boat. It was a nice trip for 1 ½ hours though we didn’t get to see the sun set. We spotted a few birds but not as many as I thought we would see but we did see lots of crocs, fresh and salty, big and small. Either on the river bank as the driver nosed the boat towards them or just floating past. We also saw a crocs nest that had the eggs exposed, our guide explained that they were close to hatching and the crocs bring them to the surface when they were due. Bit risky if you ask me as anyone could have a croc egg dinner if they felt like it.

 Crocodile eggs       Great-billed Heron       Saltwater Croc.
Crocodile eggs                   Great-billed Heron                 Saltwater Croc.

The park itself runs two different water supplies, the river water to use for watering the lawn and gardens, and they do pump a lot of water on to it as it is very green (the Wallabies love it and so do we) plus the bore water which is what we have used in the van. It has a high iron content and you can smell the iron when you shower or wash up. Lucky the water filter does the job for drinking but we do have 2 full tanks of water from Darwin just in case.

 Nice green grass       Plenty of shade       Noisey neighbours at night
Nice green grass                   Plenty of shade                 Noisey neighbours at night

On the way to the camp we noticed the Bird Billabong sign and decided to take a drive there to check it out. Starting early so it wasn’t too hot we drove down and walked around the billabong. Lots of birds were spotted and plenty of wallaby. The water level had receded quite a bit as it is at the end of the dry season, but there was still enough water for all to share. One thing we did notice was how the mud had been churned up by pigs and buffalos as well as dried up wallowing holes close by. From there we did a 4wd trip thinking the track would take us back to the road. We headed to Hardies creek and river tracks and explored different areas including a stop a Mary River which had a nice picnic area. No crocs were seen on any of this drive but we did see a buffalo exiting the water and a family of pigs running away from us. I counted over 10 and all sizes as they trotted along the dry river bank that we were driving parallel to. We lost count of how many Agile Wallabies darted in front of the van or hopped alongside before veering off into the bush.

 Few adjustments to crossing       Steep climb out       End of Hardies 4x4 track
Few adjustments to crossing                   Steep climb out                 End of Hardies 4x4 track

Once we reached the river and realised there was no way we could cross it we turned around and drove back the way we came. The fine dust just coated the outside of the car and our shoes and every time we got out of the vehicle you couldn’t help but touch something that ended up with dust on your clothes. But it was a fun day and the scenery kept us amazed with grass plains to dry river beds and then billabongs and lagoons.

 

Saturday 23rd – Saturday 30th, September 2017

From Mary River we now headed into the Kakadu National Park and stayed for two nights at Aurora Kakadu Resort. This park again was large and you can tell that it is getting close to end of season as the maintenance level had a lot to be desired. It was just tired and needed a bit of sprucing up. The lawns needed more water and you had some green patches but a lot of dried out places. The pool was nice but could have had the chairs wiped down and all in all it just needed a bit of a clean-up as it was a resort after all.
Our first morning we were up early to do the Gungarre 3.5km walk that started around the park and took you through the monsoon forest, woodlands and along the margins of the billabong. This was very scrubby and perfect for the Rainbow Pitta that Geoff had also photographed at Fogg Dam when we were there. Though he could hear them calling it wasn’t till late that afternoon that he went for another walk and found one. After our walk we took a drive down to Mamukala which had a magnificent bird hide set up on the wetland. We sat there for over 2 hours watching the birds and saw a pair of Kites having a mid-air fight with talons locked and spiralling towards the earth, also an argument between two Glossy Ibis occurred just in front of us so Geoff had the camera primed and clicking away on high speed.

 Whistling Kites lock tallons       Lotus flower       Glossy Ibis fighting
Whistling Kites lock tallons                   Pretty                 Glossy Ibis fighting

On our way back we stopped to have another look at the South Alligator River. In the morning it just had mud flats and shallow water. After the few hours when we returned the tide was flowing quickly in and the river was full and up to the mud banks the water had raised over four meters. The contrast was astonishing and we parked down at the boat ramp to have a closer look.

 Mid tide, South Alligator River       Magpie Geese in Aurora camp       Rainbow Pitta
Mid tide, South Alligator River                   Magpie Geese in Aurora camp                 Rainbow Pitta

After two days at Aurora Kakadu Resort we moved to Jabiru staying at the Kakadu Lodge and Caravan Park which again was a large park and had lots of campsites where busloads of students arrived and set up tents. The pool area was a favourite every afternoon for them so we just kept away. Besides that you really never felt any impact as they kept to themselves probably too exhausted each day to party into the night. Our first day we drove to the township just down the road and it consisted of a large grocery store, well large considering it is the only one in Kakadu, a library, post office come news agency and a few more essentials. Of course the local court house and police station seemed to be doing a roaring trade. From here we visited the Bowali Visitor Centre where we watched a short film on fire management in the park and enjoyed the informative displays.
We had been told about the drive to Ubirr which is on the border to Arnhem Land on the East Alligator River. This was our destination for today where we would spend the afternoon on the river croc watching. This is a tidal river and just where Cahills Crossing there is a viewing platform where we watched the tide rise over the road crossing and all the saltwater crocodiles line up waiting for the fish to spill across and right into their waiting mouths. At one stage I counted 16 large saltys staying in the current getting their dinner delivered to them.

 Crocs (right) Cahills Crossing      Crocs line up       Crocs on the causeway
Crocs (right) Cahills Crossing                   Crocs line up                 Crocs on the causeway

Next morning we were up and drove again to Ubirr to do an early morning walk which had half the track closed. Though that was disappointing the part we did through the forest was interesting with hundreds of bats roosting in the trees. There seemed to be two different types, large black ones and smaller brown ones. They squawked and carried on as bats do and it we were gladded to exit the walk without being pooed on. Just before the carpark I spied another Rainbow Pitta on the edge of the track, Geoff was off clicking away got a few good photos.

 Rainbow Pitta      Flying Fox       The track to rock art
Rainbow Pitta                   Flying Fox                 The track to rock art

From here drove a bit further down from the river to an area renowned for Aboriginal rock art. Both Geoff and I decided this was the most impressive rock art that we had seen and it is said that some of it is over 5,000 years old. There was 4 individual sites and the main gallery was very impressive. Information boards along the way helped us to interpret the paintings but they also have a ranger give a talk which we managed to catch the end of. One story I did enjoy was of the Rainbow Serpent who does not like crying children. The story tells of how a child cried louder and louder till the serpent rushed into the camp and swallowed the child and most of the people. That is why it is unusual to see Aboriginal children crying without being comforted.

 Ubirr Rock Art      Ubirr Rock Art       Ubirr Rock Art
Ubirr Rock Art

 Ubirr Rock Art      Ubirr Rock Art       Ubirr Rock Art
Ubirr Rock Art

We also spotted short eared rock wallabies and they were the cutest things that I would so have loved to take one home with me. They are tiny and petit kept us amused for quite some time.

Part of the track takes us up the rocky side of a plateau to the Nabad Lookout. From here we get 360 degree views of the surrounding plains and wetlands. It is quite amazing to come from below and suddenly you look out and the scenery is lush green with wetlands heading off into the distance.

 Short Eared Rock Wallabie      Ubirr lookout       Ubirr lookout
Short Eared Rock Wallabie                   Ubirr lookout                   Ubirr lookout

Due to the heat we have been doing most of our exploring during the morning then returning back to the comfort of air con for the afternoon. Another area still in the East Alligator region was the Bardedjilidji Walk which starts at the small car park upstream from the boat ramp and features a 2.5km walk through layered sandstone and outliers. Though 2.5 km isn’t far it is very interesting and takes us a few hours walk as it weaves it way around the rocks and down to the river bed where of course we spot a few of the larger crocs. The sandstone formations are very similar to the Lost City which we had visited at Litchfield National Park. Again we came across more rock art though nothing as special as the Ubirr region from the day before.

 Ancient Aboriginal Cave      Bardedjilidji Walk       Bardedjilidji Walk
Ancient Aboriginal Cave                   Bardedjilidji Walk                   Bardedjilidji Walk

Another destination was in the town of Jabiru where you take the walk around the lake. This lake is in the centre of town and I am still amazed to see two crocodile traps floating in the lake and the usual croc warning signs on the bank, seems crocs also like to take the walking path occasionally. We also attended a Croc information talk held by the ranger and found it very interesting. The fresh water crocodiles are in danger at the moment and it’s the dreaded cane toad that is causing the entire problem. The salt water crocs on the other hand are thriving since in the 1970’s croc hunting has been banned in Australia and their numbers are back to pre-hunting days.

 Croc trap     Croc sign      Whistling Kite
Croc trap                   Croc sign                   Whistling Kite

Just next to our van we are lucky enough to have a tall gum tree that has a Whistling Kites nest with a chick in it. Being so close we can watch when mum and dad come to feed the crying chick, now this might be a great experience for us but alas there is a major problem that Geoff noticed a few days after our arrival. Fishing line was tangled around nest and the chick is in distress. We attended a Ranger talk on Jabiru at the van park and mentioned it to the Ranger then the next day Geoff took his laptop down to the Information centre with video footage and photos to show them. Unfortunately no one seemed available and we doubt anything was going to be done to help this poor chick who needed a cherry picker rescue similar to the one they did with the Sea-Eagles at Olympic Park.

 Whistling Kite chick     Croc sign      Whistling Kite chick
Whistling Kite chick                   Chick with fishing line                   Help Me Please

Being told this is Bird Week in Kakadu with lots of interesting activities and lectures in the area. We have stretched out our stay here so still basing ourselves in Jabiru we took a drive down to the Illgadjarr Walk which is a circular walk across a small grassy floodplain and along Burdulba Billabong. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see much bird or wildlife in the area as though you could get glimpses of the billabong with fields of beautiful lotus lily’s we just couldn’t get close enough to the water. From here we drove to the Nourlangie region where we did the walk around the billabong and here we did see lots of birds including the Jabiru. So now you can say we saw a Jabiru in Jabiru.
By the time we finished these two walks it was getting very hot and even though we are prepared with plenty of water, hats and taking our time, it is nice to know that we can come back another day to do the other walks in this area.

 Red-tailed Black Cockatoo     Black-necked Stork (Jabiru)      Gathering at the Billabong
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo                   Black-necked Stork (Jabiru)                   Gathering at the Billabong

 

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