Day 34 – 7 Aug 2012 – Still at Katherine

Lovely quiet night – woke to bird song — oh. and the sound of an excavator startiing up about 7.30am. He was working nearby. We wanted to get up early anyway so that we could get to the Katherine Gorge for the 11.00am cruise.

Got talking to the people beside us. They wanted to know all about the Traveller Caravan because they intend to go back to Port Augusta (where they live), sell their house and then buy the latest Traveller Van and head off ANYWHERE. They love going to places where they can use their metal detectors and have been on the road for over 6 months. They are travelling with quite a large dog and the dog does not like to see the local pet ducks and guinea fowl just ambling around the Park and he barks very loudly when they waddle by. So loudly they went into the local Vet. to buy something to calm him down – a form of anti-depressant. When we got back from our cruise the dog was still barking at the ducks – They said the spray worked for about 30 minutes – I suggested it might be a good idea if they used the spray then the dog’s barking wouldn’t be an issue. They enjoyed the joke! They are a very nice and friendly couple.

Before we headed off this morning I rang the local dentist – my gum where the tooth was extracted all those weeks ago, is still quite inflamed and I think it needs some antibiotics or something. Unfortunately they were unable to fit me in. If I do not receive a call early tomorrow morning they cannnot fit me in tomorrow either. I will just ring on ahead – possibly Broome – and try to get to see a dentist there. I am not in pain, but it is tender.

We arrived at Katherine Gorge well before time for the cruise and had a look around. Once again a huge tourist information complex of top quality. All modern facilities and perfect pathways, mown lawns, lots of seats to sit on while waiting and to just look at the water.

Our cruise boat and some canoes

Canoe hire is a big thing here (this Gorge does not have a problem with salt water crocodiles) and there were canoes out on the water. They were single and double canoes and people of all ages were using them. We got talking to a young couple who were going on the same cruise so that was a good way to fill in the time before we boarded the craft.

The boat was full. We headed upstream to the end of the first gorge where it was not possible to take the boat any further and we all had to disembark and walk a few hundred metres to where the next craft waited for us. There were people swimming everywhere and canoes going both sides of this divide between the gorges. It was very lovely.

One of the cliff sides on this second gorge is called ‘Jedda’s Cliff’. For those of our age you may remember the movie JEDDA. It was the first movie which had aboriginal actors as the main stars, and was the first to be filmed in color in Australia and it was all about indigenous issues etc. Jedda was an aboriginal girl who had to deal with some of the aspects of traditional life. It was the first time indigenous traditions and issues was brought to the notice of the Australian public and is classed as a classic. Anyhow, not wishing to spoil anyone who might hire and watch the movie, this cliff is where Jedda’s ‘unlawful’ partner takes them both to their death.

Jedda’s Gorge

Again we were amazed at the lovely colors in the cliffs. The water was quite deep in places and the guide said during the wet season the water is up to 7 metres higher than what we were seeing it at today. The water never gets any lower than it is now. These waters never, ever dry out. Drought never affects this part of the Northern Territory.

The Katherine River which flows through these 13 gorges (the only way to see them all is by helicopter) eventually ends up in the Daly River and flows out to sea. There are 4 boat cruises a day (one is a full day one which includes lunch) and they go 7 days a week. It was a really good cruise – I took over 60 photos as every bend in the river there was another beautiful view. The cruise took just under 2 hours.

At the stopover between the 2 gorges

The people were were talking to were staying at the caravan park there right at the gorge and she said they were packed in like sardines. They booked their sites over 3 months ago. Made us glad we chose a more quiet spot 4kms north of Katherine, as our drive to the Gorge itself only took 20 minutes or so.On our way back we called in at the town itself and went to a Camping store to buy some ties for the caravan awning and then stopped there for lunch at Subway. The non-stop traffic through the town (mostly caravans/campervans/4WD camper trailers/tourist buses etc) certainly demonstrated just how popular the N.T. really is.

Ian had received a warning message on the dashboard for the Landcruiser ‘Fuel Filter maintenance required’ so we then found a Toyota Dealer (thank goodness for Sat. Nav as it gave us the name and address of all car dealers in the town) and we purchased a new filter. When we got back to the Park it took Ian a short while to replace the filter. The old filter was ‘black’ – we must have bought some ‘dirty’ fuel somewhere on our trip. Anyway it was easily fixed.

As in all Parks, new vans were pulling in for night and I looked out the wind0w as one passed by and realised it was Bruce and Linda. We have not met up with them since Pussy Cat Flats about a week ago. They knew we were here last night but thought we were booking into the Katherine Gorge tonight, so it was a surprise for them to see us here. Not long after they found a spot to park their Van the Park was full again for the night, so they got here just in time.

At the moment the lorrikeets are calling out in the trees all around the Park. Lovely. There a few wallabies just walking around near the cabins. Couldn’t ask for more could we?

We have yet to decide when we will head into W.A. Bruce and Linda want to be here for at least 3 nights. We may not stay that long.

I have reached the stage where I have to remember what town we are in and as for the day and date – only doing this ‘blog’ makes me remember. World War 3 could break out while we are travelling and we would not know. We have no real idea of world/national events because we don’t bother to watch the news (when we can get TV) and never bother to buy a newspaper now – nothing matches The Age! We have missed most of the Olympics too, but it is only 4 years for the next one.

Temp. here today was 31C. Very pleasant. We are using the fan cooler in the van but have not needed to use the airconditioner at all. Ah Winter in the north … not too bad at all. I managed to do a load of washing about 3.30pm and it is almost dry already.

Love to all, Janese and Ian

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