Thursday 3rd June 2004
A sleep in this morning - not a move in the caravan until about
7.am when it was time to get the morning cup of tea on the way.
Then it was a leisurely breakfast and preparation for our visit
to Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge).
We left the caravan park at about 9.45am and traveled the 30 kilometres
out to the start point of the tour, which was the jetty in the
first of the gorges.
We boarded the boat at about 11.05am and were given instructions
of the use of the life jackets, part of which was that the instructions
are of the back of them so we could read the instructions on the
back of the guide/skipper's (Tyrone) as he was swimming away from
the sinking ship. He was a Thursday Islander (we think, or at least
and he had a pretty wicked sense of humour that would have kept
us entertained even if we weren't in the gorge.
It was a short ride up the river in the gorge before we came to
the steep sides that we were expecting and we have to say, it was
everything and more than we had anticipated. After traveling through
the first gorge, we had to get out and walk up the stream (or at
least on the rocks at the side of the river) to get passed a set
of rocks and rapids then board another boat to continue through
the second gorge.
The second gorge was even more magnificent than the first and
we were told that it is the best of all the thirteen gorges in
National Park. All this time we had been getting a very comprehensive
(and most of the time, very humorous) commentary from Tyrone about
the gorge and this part of the Northern Territory. The sides of
in most places were shear drops into the water and had a huge range
of colours and shapes.
One of these cliffs was given the name of 'Jedda's Leap' (think
that is what he said) after the scene in the movie 'Jedda' that
was made back in the 1950's and features an aboriginal couple named
Marbuk and Jedda. The end of the movie (or at least for Marbuk
and Jedda anyway) was when they jumped off the top of this cliff
face to their death below because they were being pursued.
The guide also drove the boat into a shallow cave in one of the
walls and thumped the side of the boat, then a couple of 'snapping
turtles' came to the surface to say hello. They were not fed anything
for their effort but supposedly are just very tame and curious
We then returned via the same route as we had come up the river
and it was just as spectacular on the way back. I can remember
seeing slides of Katherine Gorge when I was very young, I think
Harry Chapman (or one of his relations) had taken them and at one
stage I found myself looking at the same cliff face and images
of the gorge that I remember seeing in those slides way back then.
On return to the visitors centre at the gorge, 'one of us' visited
the souvenir shop whilst the 'other one' had a good look through
the information displays.
Unfortunately the photographs do not do the size and colour of
the gorge justice, but this has been one of the highlights of our
journey so far and is well
past five months and 25,000 kilometres.
The rest of the day was spent doing very important things like
visiting the bottle shop because 'one of us' was getting low on
wine and the 'other one' bought a block of beer just to keep her