Yesterday evening smoke was billowing into the atmosphere darkening the sky. It was a few kilometres form here but if I’d been at home I would have left the area because for a while we could even see the red glow of the fire. Before we went to bed though it had died down. This morning everything was covered in burn debris but nothing showed any sign of damage.
After hosing off the car we set off for Darwin. I needed to buy a new pair of sandals because my other ones broke and it’s definitely too hot for me to wear sneakers. We also wanted to have lunch on Stokes Hill Wharf, for old times sake. Along the way we passed several of the WWII landing strips, it’s difficult to imagine planes landing on them. City driving is stressful after so much time out on country roads but we quickly found a 2 hr park near the Law Courts and the cathedral.
St Catherine’s Cathedral – only the brick part remained after a cyclone
Lovely lady painting in the Mall
If I’d wanted thongs I could have bought some from any of half a dozen places but the only place to have practical sandals as opposed to fashionable ones was a camping/ adventure shop. The store didn’t seem to have changed much since we were there about 16 years ago.
We went to the wharf after that where we had a nice lunch and I was able to upload a post using the free WiFi.
Old style cutter
Linch on Stokes Hill Wharf
The Fisherman’s Wharf was our last stop before heading back to Litchfield. The boats moored there look all business, tough and purposeful.
These boats mean business
Back at camp I went looking for birds while Alex read the paper. It seems to us that every paper has some story about a crocodile …… possibly only during tourist season……. and today’s front page was about people being rescued at Cahill’s Crossing. The incident happened in May so they must have kept it on ice until there were no other croc stories.
Cane Toad outside our Camper at Nitmiluk, last night.
There isn’t much to show for today. It was a long weekend and many people came to Nitmiluk to get away from Darwin for the break. That meant lots of us were heading back to Katherine this morning. We stocked up our food supplies and as we were leaving Woolies a large, African man greeted us, we responded then Alex asked if he knew where Supercheap Auto was. He not only knew but took us there. Picture this, a very large, very dark skinned man in fluoro vest and security uniform escorting us out of the shopping centre. We kept smiling and chatting as we went hoping that none of the Grey Nomads milling around would be talking about us at the next campsite. Along the way to Supercheap we discovered he’d lived in Launceston, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin and was now moonlighting as a Security Guard in Katherine but his “day job” was actually an Evangelist Preacher. We left him smiling, not disillusioned.
From Katherine to Pine Creek the road was very busy compounded by roadworks, caravans and very large semis transporting V8 Supercars to Darwin for racing next weekend.
One of several!
We drove to Pine Creek and stopped for lunch at Mayse’s Cafe. Unfortunately nothing for me but The Old Geezer is still raving about the fabulous home-made Sausage Roll he enjoyed.
When we turned off towards Kakadu we were on a quiet road again.
Regrowth after targeted burning.
I drove in so I was the one to park us in our allotted spot. I went around the roads, reversed, went around again, through the camp kitchen area then out between big white rocks, then wove my way between trees while Alex waited for me to hit a standpipe. A few more reverses and forwards and finally the car and camper were in the right place. After that we put up the annexe!!!
A lovely swim cooled us down.
LARGE bird at our Kakadu campsite.
These Corellas made the big bird nervous.
Jawoyn are a local aboriginal group.
At 9:00 this morning we were off on a boat ride up the three gorges. During the wet season it’s all one big system, the water level is so high and the current so strong that the boats we were in couldn’t make it up the gorges. At that time only jet boats can power their way over the water. At this time of year, the early stage of the dry season, there are exposed rocks on the gorge bed so the boats only go to a certain point. Passengers leave one boat, walk around the rocky section then board another boat to continue up the gorge.
Five-fingered Fern on the rockface.
This depicts Wild Potatoes and the direction in which they can be found.
We took the three gorge trip which gave us the option of walking into Lily Ponds then having a swim in the lovely cool rockpool.
Walking from one gorge to the next.
At the end of each wet season the rangers check for Saltwater Crocodiles which have managed to make their way into the river system while the water level was high. They become trapped when the levels drop. Unlike Freshwater Crocodiles the Salties have a big bite and can take a person. Areas are closed until the Rangers declare them safe. Any Salties captured are taken to a Crocodile Farm in Darwin.
Saltwater Crocodile trap
After our boat ride we went for a refreshing swim in the Campground pool and I can vouch for the fact that Lily Ponds rockpool is warmer.
The locusts are big! About 7.5 cms long.
Egret or Heron
I feel now we’re leaving true isolation behind, we’re close to the Stuart Highway, a sealed two lane road that goes from Port Augusta to Darwin. Getting here though involved about 270 kms on mostly single track road. I’m on edge driving up a crest when I know any traffic approaching is going to be using all the road but we managed to pass and be passed without incident.
The rest stops were regularly spaced and made for convenient driver changes.
We did have one “moment” when an eagle delayed its takeoff from some roadkill just too long and although Alex had slowed down it still seemed to almost fill our windscreen with its enormous wingspan. It managed to lift enough to avoid the car and camper.
At the Highway Inn we refuelled before travelling on to Daly Waters. We’ve been here before but never stopped for more than a drink at the pub. We’re not alone camping here, there are over 100 other vans, campers, motorhomes etc here.
Daly Waters Pub
Need a haircut?
Guide to our site on his postie bike
There has been an airfield here since 19…. and although the old hangar isn’t utilised flights still use it. We also checked out John McDouall Stuart’s tree, you’re supposed to be able to see the “S” he carved into it but you need more imagination than I have.
John McDouall Sturat’s tree
Ah, so that’s how you lose the belly!
Old Hangar etc
Shipping Container/ Commentators spot for the campdraft/rodeo
There is also a Flying Fox that was used to get food supplies across to the town during flood times because the airfield was on one side of the river and the town on the other.
We went to Happy Hour at the pub and the “Pitt Family Circus” was performing, they were good. Definitely a step up from the usual Bush Poet entertainment and we can hear live music playing now while Alex is cooking dinner.
Daly Waters Pub at night
Pitt Family Circus
Butcher Bird maybe
Rainbow Lorikeet and Crows
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo
Last night tested out the camper for wind resistance and happily it came out unscathed. The caravan owners all retracted their awnings but ours appeared secure so we left it up. During the night we heard canvas flapping but this morning everything still looked fine so it seems the springs on the guy ropes do a good job.
This caravan park is immaculate and the showers wonderful, that’s not something you find often. Water is scarce here but there was plenty of lovely hot water for a rejuvenating shower.
Today we headed out on the Hawker Road again to see the Kanyaka ruins. Hugh Proby took up the first lease on the land but after he was drowned in 1852 partners Alexander Grant and John Phillips took it on. A real community was established with a massive stone Woolshed, Homestead, Overseers House, Cart Shed, Stables etc. Kanyaka Run was home to over 70 families.
Kanyaka – The Overseer’s house, toilet on the left
Kanyaka -you can see the mason’s tool marks
Shearing Shed – 24 stands
If you can’t see any captions place the mouse over the image or click for a slideshow.
Drought made the property not viable and the Homestead was abandoned in 1888. There were lots of other settlement sites in the area including Wilson and Willochra. The train line brought great optimism with it but unreliable rainfall caused them all to fail eventually.
Great stonework made the Wilson well
From the Kanyaka Woolshed we walked to the spring fed Kanyaka waterhole and Death Rock. I can see why it was a sacred place for the aboriginal people.
Death Rock -I think
Rocks around the Kanyaka Waterhole
After our visits to the various settlement ruins we went into Hawker for lunch. The food at the Sightseers Café was a revelation and after our wonderful meal there we didn’t another meal for the day. There is also Jeff Morgan’s gallery in the town and the examples of his work that we saw in the town were stunning, his gallery will be a place to visit next time.
Taranaki Gate, some wire, star picket, bit of pipe and ingenuity.
Not only buildings are disintegrating
We drove back to Quorn and walked around the Powell Gardens before coming back to camp.
This is in response to a post by Lindsey on itchingforhitching.
Campers come across some weird and wonderful constructions including, “Amenities Blocks” but sometimes that name is totally inappropriate, like calling a beach shack a mansion.
These constructions have real character, they’re not amenities, bathrooms or even toilets they’re simply dunnies.
Click on an image to see a larger view with captions.
You expect privacy???? Bendlebys, South Australia.
You certainly feel like you’re “on the throne” in this one. El Questro, Western Australia.
Willangi has the nicest smelling long drops I’ve ever used. I think Ti Tree and ashes keep them that way.
It might look rough but it smells sweet -Willangi, Flinders Ranges, SA
Persian carpet to wipe wet shoes
Spot the posers
Coming into Dubai
Wonderful moustache, sir.
Water taxi across Dubai Creek
Detail of one “building block”
After about 5 hours sleep this afternoon I now feel capable of writng a post. During the overnight 13 hour flight from Adelaide to Dubai Alex managed a few hours of sleep but I struggled to get a couple so my eyes have been sore and my brain hasn’t been sharp all day. When the plane flew into Dubai it was raining and that continued as the taxi brought us to the hotel. Apparently everyone is stunned by the amount of rain they’ve had here this month, there have been floodings and even some drownings. Water is still lying in places and we’ve had to choose our paths carefully. I’m not sure how substantial my sandals are.
We’ve walked along “the creek”, travelled across to Bur Dubai on a water taxi and strolled through lots of bazaars. Alex has been singled out for attention because of the moustcahe he’s cultivated over the last month or so. Vendors tried to get his attention with calls of “Moustache” and “Professor” but my favourite was the guy who grabbed him and insisted on fitting him with a keffiyeh while marvelling, “You have Sheik’s skin but GOOD moustache”.