Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY

Friday 4th June 2004 to Sunday 6th June 2004

Friday 4th June 2004

Is it possible to wind back the clock and make a different decision early in the day????? If one could do that it would have been a much easier time setting up in the Kakadu Lodge Caravan Park this afternoon...

The day started of great with our start not having to be too early as we were only traveling about three hundred kilometres during the day. We set off out of Katherine at about and headed north on the Stuart Highway toward Pine Creek. We arrived in Pine Creek without mishap and took a detour through the town before getting on to Kakadu Drive and making our way our through Pussy Cat Flats and on past the Mary River Roadhouse before we came to the entrance to Kakadu National Park.

There was a bit of delay waiting for vehicles in front of us to get through before we paid our $16.25 per adult to get into the park. The woman in the ticket booth advised us that the only waterfall that is accessible and flowing at this time was at Gunlom (Waterfall Creek) and that the turn off was only a couple of kilometres from the entry gate. She did say it was a gravel road and asked if we took our caravan on gravel roads. Not sure what to expect, we drove up to the turn off and stopped where there were a couple of other caravans parked. To check what the road was like we asked these people and they stated that it was ok, a bit corrugated at the start but we would have no problems getting our caravan in. So we set off on our way and found out the statement about the corrugations was a real understatement and 'one of us' wanted to turn around and go back, however the 'other one' said it would get better and it did. We drove in without too many more problems and when we arrived we found that the caravan was not dust proof... in fact it appears to act like a vacuum cleaner and filled the inside up with dust (caused by the roof air vents that allow a flow of air through the van). We then took the photographs we wanted and returned back along the same track, topping up the dust in the van on the way. Needless to say, 'one of us' was not happy and the 'other one' was not popular!!!! (The moral to this story is one should listen to she who must be obeyed!)

Once back on the hard top again we continued on our way past the Yellow Water turn off and all the way to Jabiru where we booked in to the Kakadu Lodge Caravan Park for the next three nights. It was then time to set to work and clean out the layers of red dust that had covered everything in the caravan. This was a big job but we finally seem to have achieved it and now are ready to take it easy for the rest of the night. 'One of us' has a smile on her face now but the 'other one' will still keep a cleaning sponge handy for a while yet!

PLEASE NOTE: As we have booked an evening boat cruise on the Yellow Water tomorrow night, we will not be back in time to upload the web site, so will upload tomorrows page on the day after (Sunday).

On the road to Gunlom (Waterfall Creek)

Waterfall at Gunlom (Waterfall Creek)

Saturday 5th June 2004

The first task today was to wash the caravan on the outside, fortunately the inside scrubbed up pretty well last night. As in many states, the water restrictions mean that a hose can not be used to wash any vehicles, it must be done with a bucket and a sponge etc. Well it took a while but the red dust has gone and both the caravan and the Patrol look clean again. Then it was time for a good feed of pancakes before contemplating what we would do next.

Our decision was to take it easy in the morning and later in the afternoon we headed out of the caravan park and back down the Kakadu Highway to Cooinda and Yellow Waters, some 54 kilometres to the south of Jabiru. On the way we called in to a lookout car park but on discovering that it was a 1500 metre walk to get to the lookout and we didn't have that kind of time, we chose not to ascend to the lookout and continued on down to the boat jetty at Yellow Waters.

We arrived with some time to spare but not enough to visit to Aboriginal Cultural Centre nearby, so we sat in the car park for about fifteen minutes until the boat returned from a previous trip.

We finally boarded the boat at about 4.30pm and then set off for a two hour cruise of Jim Jim Creek and the South Alligator River. We had only traveled about five hundred metres when we saw the first of the ten crocodiles we saw in the next two hours. The first one was about three and a half metres long and had been given the name 'Pluto' because about seven years ago he had eaten a dog the someone had brought into the park (against the rules) and was throwing a stick into the water for it to fetch. This crocodile played the game but it was not the stick it fetched and it didn't return the dog either!

We continued on the cruise and were able to see a fair variety of swampland flora and fauna which included a range of bird life, a snake, fish jumping from the water and and even a few feral pigs as well. Over the course of the two hours we saw small crocodiles, larger crocodiles and even one that was poking his head over a large root ball or stump that was about a metre and a half or more up out of the water. On the return journey the boat cruised through a forest of paper bark trees and water lilies, many of them flowering in white and mauve colours (although they were called 'Blue' Lilies).

Our cruise ended with the sun having set and the dying light giving a good display of red, pink and orange colours in the clouds that were reflected in the smooth swamp waters. This was a beautiful and peaceful sight, however the smooth water was deceiving as it was hiding a large number of primitive predators that do not hesitate in taking a chomp out of anything they can get close to, including members of the human race. Fortunately for us the boat did not sink!

After the cruise we then made our way back up the Kakadu Highway to Jabiru and the caravan park where we were ready to settle down for the night. As we did not return until about 7.30pm there was not sufficient time to complete the web site and upload it before our free time ran out so it was prepared and left for uploading tomorrow night with the Sunday edition of our journal.

Tomorrow we plan to visit a few of the dry tourist sites within Kakadu National Park and will be mobile a little earlier than today.

Yellow Waters - on the South Alligator River

Just waiting for dinner - Anyone for a swim?

Sunset on the South Alligator River

Sunday 6th June 2004


We then set off this morning to see the sights and rock art at Ubirr (pronounced oo-birr) which is about 40 kilometres to the north east of Jabiru and close to the north eastern border of Kakadu National Park.

On arrival we had to walk a circuit of about a kilometre to visit each of the sights in the area but it was easy walking and it provided some very interesting viewing. There were a number of individual rock painting 'galleries' where paintings have been created over a time period estimated to range from 20,000 years ago to just 20 years ago. Many of the paintings have been painted over and are only partly visible and a few are in positions that would appear to be difficult to get to with modern technology, let alone in the days they must have been done.

The local rangers provide guided tours at times and the aboriginal 'stories' are told at different sites and times throughout the day. These stories give the aboriginal beliefs or reasons for the creation of the earth features and the animals etc.

At one point on the circuit the visitor finds themselves on top of a rock outcrop that stands up over all the surrounding countryside and the panorama at the top of this journal entry shows the full view. Unfortunately the reduction in size required to place it on this page makes it difficult to distinguish any of the real features. For those who have seen the movie 'Crocodile Dundee' you may recognise this as the location of the panorama or scenes of the plains that were used in that movie.

This area is quite unique and is enough to make one think of the beauty of nature and the coexistence of the aboriginal people with nature over the many thousands of years they owned this land we call Australia. Within this same national park, we are digging up uranium out of the ground and throughout Australia have destroyed the real aboriginal persons culture. Having said that, don't get us wrong, we love all the comforts that we have and don't want to have to 'hunt' for our food in the future!!!

From Ubirr we returned to Jabiru and called in to the Visitors Centre which provides a lot of information on the aboriginal beliefs and understanding of the land that is now Kakadu. This was a very interesting and worthwhile visit and gives a better understanding of the feelings of the original owners of this land.

We then returned to the caravan park where 'one of us' prepared a very tasty late lunch snack of fruit, cheese and meats which went down very well, then she read a book whilst the 'other one' did something more constructive, like closing his eyes and laying in deep thought for a couple of hours. He deny's the fact that there were any ZZZZZZZZZZZZ's coming from him over that time because he didn't hear any!

Tomorrow we move on to Darwin and even more new sights to see.

Rock paintings at Ubirr - Kakadu

Rugged, damp and dangerous