Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Kakadu National Park

After a couple of rest days at Mataranka (Bitter Springs Caravan Park) we drove north-east to Kakadu National Park visiting Pine Creek en-route.

Mataranka boasts hot springs in which people swim and relax, apart from that it doesn’t seem to have any other interesting attributes. At least not for me. It’s an untidy place with a  road-house, where you can stay long enough to refuel and have a bite to eat if so inclined and you are happy to pay premium prices. (In the Sixties, freight was blamed for high costs).

At Kakadu we stayed at Cooinda Lodge (Yellow Waters) for four nights so we could do day trips to the sights which are spread far and wide with a lot of what I call ‘clapped out buffalo country’ in between.

We last visited Kakadu in the 80s and what appeared to me then was that there was a lot of crappy country among which several really beautiful spots existed. Nothing has changed of course, you still have to drive kilometres between the various spots of interest.

We’d been to Jim Jim Falls during our last trip and decided to revisit. After 50 odd kilometres of shaking and bumping on the corrugated road, we arrived and went for a walk through the area leading to the falls, which were at this time of year, not flowing. (It is the Dry after all).

The walk in is not for the mild spirited or unsteady of foot as it largely involved climbing from one rock to another and at times required large steps up or down and a bit of balancing as well.

There is water at the base of the falls and an area where people swim as despite the signs warning that their could be crocodiles in the water, they apparently don’t bother to go to the beach - if there are in fact any. The presence of a crocodile trap a hundred metres up steam suggests that there are salt water crocs found there.

By the time we climbed out of Jim Jim and faced the road back, we were stuffed. It’s very demanding being a retiree!

The next day we went to Ubir Rock to look at the Aboriginal art-work. Since our last visit all those decades ago, the art work has faded significantly and we wondered how it would fare in the decades to come. Like the rest of us, it will eventually fade away and all that will be left are photographs to show tomorrow’s inhabitants what it was like.

My advice is to see it before it deteriorates or disappears.

From Kakadu we headed to Darwin as we had to get a few things done that could only be done in the big city.


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