Thursday, 5 July 2012
Wednesday, 27 June 2012
Our first day was spent wandering the city of Darwin - it is a growing city with lots of energy. Very reminiscent of Cairns. Like Cairns it has a lagoon situation with its own beach and wave maker - very popular. There are lots of cafes and trendy restaurants to eat at. We visited most of the heritage places and wandered around the Parliament and Supreme Courthouse. We also managed a tour through the WW11 Oil Storage Tanks which run under the city. There are about 10 of them, it was a monumental effort to get them built, then they were never used as they would have been a sitting target for the enemy.
We paid a visit to the Territory Wildlife Park and wandered through their monsoon forest, rainforests etc, and visited the aquarium. Then it was onwards to Crocodyllus Park where we had the croc experience. The largest croc there is 15ft 11ins - huge. The park actually breeds crocs so they have lots of holding pens that contain lots of crocs. One huge pen must have had several hundred crocs of about 2M in size. Totally awesome.
From Darwin we then moved on to Kakadu. We stopped off at the Fogg Dam along the way then took the dirt road option to Cooinda instead of driving the black stuff via Jabiru. It may have taken a little longer but with a couple of creek crossings it was infinitely far more interesting.
We are currently staying at Gagudju, Cooinda and again, this is a top spot to be staying, large sites, good amenities plus a bar and restaurant. We have tried the bar but not the restaurant.
For our first full day we visited Jim Jim Falls, which are at the end of about 55km of corrugations that would give anyone nightmares. They were so bad that our skin actually started to tingle from the shockwaves going through our bodies.
The walk into Jim Jim Falls started out as a pleasant stoll - afterall it was only going to be about 1km. Them we entered the river bed, the river stones became boulders and the boulders became something akin to Uluru in size. These we had to climb over, around or under. It took us about 1 hour to clamber the 1km!! Its a great thought knowing it will take an hour to get back. Anyway, the falls are spectacular, they are twin falls that plummet down hundreds of feet to a pretty pool that is suitable for swimming. Judging from the comments of people entering the pool for a swim the water was very cold.
After stumbing out of the gorge we set off again along the rutted road to Cooinda. About halfway back we came upon a vehicle broken down and a grass fire burning beside it. We were flagged down by the driver and who should it be but Monte Dwyer. Some of you may remember him as the mad weatherman on the Today show a few years ago. He had cooked his little bus, then he managed to set the grass alight. A walking disaster. Anyway, we gave him and his daughter a lift back to Cooinda. As Monte had broken his coxys bone a couple of days previously, he knelt in the front seat, facing the rear and gripped the headrest all the way back to Cooinda. I don't think it was Mikes driving that was upsetting him!
This morning we were up bright and early (like before 6.00am) so that we could do the Yellow Water Cruise. We were out on the water just at sunup and it was well worth getting up for. There were birds everywhere just waking up, the morning light changed through beautiful pinks and the reflections in the billabong were just indescribably beautiful. We even managed to follow a 4m croc as it made its way home to its favourite bank to lie beside a tree trunk and recharge its batteries in the sunshine.
Later in the day we headed down to Nourlangie Rock for a look at the rock art there. Then it was back home and we have had a relaxing time since then.
Tomorrow we are out of here as we start the long trip home. We hope to be around Daly Waters sometime tomorrow, then we will cut across to Cape Crawford and hopefully the Lost City. We will probably not have internet or mobile coverage for the next few days.
Friday, 22 June 2012
Tuesday, 12 June 2012
So where have we been now. Well, after leaving Alice Springs we headed firstly to Glen Helen Gorge for an overnighter - no mobile, no internet. On the way to Glen Helen we stopped off at Ormiston Gorge and later Redbank Gorge where we rock hopped over rocks and boulders to the very end where there is a lovely rock pool. It was a bit of a hike getting there but well worth it.
Next morning we took off for Kings Canyon on the Mereenie loop. Not a bad road for most of the way and only a few corrugations. We did see a whole herd of camels - there must have been 60 and further down the road we saw a few brumbies. Later in the day we came across a 2m Mulga snake!! Again no mobile reception and no internet.
On our first full day we did the Canyon Rim Walk, about 6 k's in total. It is a hard climb getting up to the top, then it is easy peasy. The views are expansive and the rock formations just breathtaking. That took care of most of the day.
Next day we did the Kings Creek walk, a very short walk into Kings Canyon where you get an entirely different perspective of the canyon. In the afternoon we trotted down to Kathleen Springs which turned out to be an absolute delight. Yet another gorge with yet another waterhole at the end but entirely different to any others we visited.
So if you think we have been slacking off and just goofing around let me tell you we have walked serious k's,
After Kings Canyon we took to the road again, this time to Uluru - for the old school thats Ayers
Rock. Yeh, at last mobile reception and internet.
Today we managed to stretch the 3-4 hour base walk out to 4.5 hours whilst we took serious Gb's of photos.
Tomorrow we plan to visit The Olgas (Kata Tjuta) and the next day will be out of here, our destination being Chambers Pillar - there definitely will not be mobile or internet there. After one night there we will head back to Alice Springs for an overnighter and a restock before heading up towards Darwin.
Wednesday, 6 June 2012
Then we set off to Simpsons Gap and Standley Chasm. Both were fantastic and we even managed to catch the midday sun at the chasm as it lit up both walls.
The afternoon was spent at Desert Park which is a great way to learn about the geography and animals of the Northern Territory. They put on a great bird show too and we marveled at a Boobook Owl and two incredible Kites as they sped in to catch small morsels of food. So if you are coming up this way Desert Park is a great place to while away a few hours.
Today we went out to Emily Gap, Jessie Gap and Trephina Gorge. Both gaps were spectacular but in different ways, but Trephina Gorge was mind blowing. We did the rim walk of about 2 hours that took us around one side of the gorge then down along the sandy river bed. Apart from getting lost at one point it was a beautiful walk and the views were to die for.
We finished up the day at Rainbow Valley, about 80 ks out of town. There is a 20 + kilometer corrugated road into the valley which shakes every bone in your body but to see the rock formations as the sun sets is worth every jolt.
Getting out of there and back to the main road before dark was a real challenge. So how do you top a day like that? By going to the pub of course for a couple of beers and a good steak.
Tomorrow we are off to Glen Helen for one night, then 3 nights at Kings Canyon followed by 3 nights at Uluru then 1 night at Chambers Pillar before returning to Alice Springs to stock up for the next part of the trip.
Sunday, 3 June 2012
On May 31st we left Wilpena Pound to head off to Marree which is a small town at the start of the Oodnadatta Track. We had a great trip there stopping off at Farina for a while to poke around the ruins. Then onwards to Marree.
Small town is probably making the place sound rather grand, which it is not.
We checked into the caravan park, which is just a tad more upmarket than bombed out Beirut with the intention of staying 2 nights so that we could head out to Lake Eyre - a 200 k round trip - the next day.
So we wandered off to the pub for a drink and a meal then discovered that the town does not have mobile communications. So there goes the update of the blog and catching up with emails etc.
Now Marree is one of those towns that never see rain - until May 31st that is. It bucketed down all night and most of the next day. It is such a load of fun sitting in a camper trailer in the wet. We did a bit of reading and watched a couple of movies I have on a hard drive, but otherwise it was a loooooooooooooooooooooong day.
We really did not think we would be able to get out along the Oodnadatta Track, the thought of driving all the way back to Port Augusta was not a great thought, but the idea of passing yet another eternity in Marree was as popular as contracting measles.
The track was open and the first 10 k's or so was a quagmire and very slippery but after that it was fine. We stopped off at Albeprie Creek to look at the most amazing sculptures which include two upturned Beechworth aircraft that form a sort of gateway to an array of junk that has been converted into sculptures. Some people have too much spare time on their hands!!!
We stopped off at Lake Eyre South which had a fair amount of water in it, then on to Curdimurka Siding which was once an integral part of the old Ghan Railway. Then on to the mound springs and finally Beresford Siding. At William Creek we decided not to head onwards to Oodnadatta so we deviated off along an incredibly corrugated road and ended up in Coober Pedy.
Well it was Mikes birthday and we needed to go out somewhere special to celebrate. Thats our story anyway.
We didn't hang about in Coober Pedy and instead took off this morning and finally arrived here in Alice Springs late this afternoon. We will be here for about 4 days, but as we have great internet access the blog should be updated quite regularly for a while.
Tuesday, 29 May 2012
The skies are blue, there is a nip in the air, the morning was cold, but hey we have an electric blanket. We are now about to head off to the bar for happy hour. Coopers on tap at $5.00 a pint. (A pint is SA lingo for a schooner).
Tomorrow we take off, not sure where, but in the direction of Marree.
May 27, 2012
We left Sydney and tried to get as far west as we could, ending up in Narromine. For a small outback town it has a lot of history attached to it, particularly with aviation. Their airport has been operating since the early 1900's and has had some very famous people fly in and out, including Kingsford Smith, Ulm and Nancy Bird Walton. Qantas even used the aerodrome as a training ground from the mid 50's to the mid 70's. There is also a replica of the Wrights No. 4 plane. This was built by a few local enthusiasts and it has actually flown - not far though, just of the ground and about 100 meters.
May 28, 2012
The early morning temperature in Narromine was just 3 degrees, but as we are now equipped with a heater and with the new mattress and electric blanket we felt no pain.
It was a long drive from Narromine to Broken Hill and was a kind of nothing day. 700k's of endless road.
May 29, 2012 - Today.
Another longish drive today, but at least we are now in South Australia. Broken Hill was a lot warmer than Narromine this morning, positively a heatwave at 7 degrees. Driving through South Australia is a bit boring, very scrubby, the occasional sheep, sometimes a cattle sighting and a few emus. Kangaroos are few and far between, those we have seen have been of the flattened variety.
The highlight (if you can call it that) was stopping off in Peterborough. We had decided we had to have a pie for lunch - we gather they are not popular in town as we could not find one anywhere. Anyway, we ended up in the old picture theatre, which has been converted into a cafe and yes they had pies, great ones too. The theatre is set up as a sort of cafe but with a couple of motor bikes inside, old radios, and an old Ford Prefect, just brimming over with memorabillia.
(Ann, I received your email about Peterborough about an hour after we had left otherwise we would have paid a visit to the place you mentioned).
The first of our deviations has now occurred - we are in Wilpena Pound. I've never been here before and its years since Mike has visited. Tomorrow we intend to spend the day doing some of the bush walks and stretching our legs after sitting in the car for 3 days.
Sunday, 27 May 2012
Just seeing if a post can be added from the mobile. Last night was spent at Narromine, went to the aviation, very interesting. It was 3 degrees this morning. We are now on the road heading for Broken Hill. As this method of updating is car sickness making, I'm going to stop.