Saturday, August 27, 2011

Excited to get home...sad it's ending...

Whoops It's been ages!!! Well our time in the Northern Territory was fantastic & full of fun & adventure! Our first day in the Territory happened to be Territory Day (Ist July) which means people are allowed to buy fireworks & let them off for a few hours that night...yay! We drove into Katherine unaware of the day & thought the tackle shop was having a huge sale as people were lined up outside on the footpath until we saw the huge "FIREWORKS ON SALE HERE" sign!!!! We soon joined the queue & got a bit carried away buying fireworks but it was just so exciting...only problem was we couldn't let them off were we were camped that night so that was a bummer but we have managed to let a few off very safely at a friends farm & I have got to say they are heaps of fun! Anyway enough of the fireworks.
Our first week in the NT was spent camping at Litchfield NP & we thought it was just beautiful. It's not tropical like I expected, in fact the main road looks like your in the bush & nowhere near waterfalls but then just a little divert off the main road & you find the most stunning water falls & swimming holes. Our favourites were The Cascades & Buley Rockholes, we ended up spending most of our time at Buley Rockholes just swimming & totally relaxing. We cannot believe that this weather is winter it is so hot I'd hate to experience a summer up here.
After 4 beautiful days at Litchfield we moved on to Darwin & spent 2 wks there & the first week was spent with my Mum, Dad, Aunty & Uncle visiting us. It was so nice to see them all again & we had a great week with everyone doing the touristy things around Darwin & lots of fun & laughs were had!!! The kids favourite thing about Darwin were the Darwin water slides (a free water park for everyone of all ages to use!), it was so much fun we ended up spending 2 days there & the kids convinced me to go on the slides & let me just say I have obviously become a chicken in my 30's because I was screaming more than the kids! One of our all time favourite days we spent around Darwin was when we hired a boat & spent half a day at Corroboree Billabong, this place was magic!!! We got to the billabong very early in the morning & seeing the sunrise over the billabong was just stunning & it only took a few minutes for the wildlife to amaze us. The first thing we saw was a wallaby by the waters edge, then 3 buffalo, tonnes of bird life & so many crocs we lost count in the first hour! The scenery is just incredible & you don't get bored of the view, there's always something stunning to look at. Everything is so green & I honestly couldn't get over the amount of birds & crocs. Poor Glen had his hopes high on catching some Barra but unfortunately he only got 4 stinking catfish. The day was going perfectly until the silly hire boat broke down! Normally I wouldn't mind, but in a croc infested river were you can see crocs swimming from bank to bank (& they are not small crocodiles!) I was a little nervous. Thankfully the owner of the hire boat was fabulous & didn't hesitate in coming to our rescue & we were back on land in under 2 hours. The owner felt so bad that after abit of discussion he offered us an even bigger boat for a whole day free of charge so we accepted & spent the next day fishing in Darwin Harbour which isn't as scenic as Corroboree Billabong but we did catch more fish & Glen finally got his first ever NT Barra!
After our time in Darwin we moved onto Kakadu NP & we were really looking forward to it despite hearing so many negative comments about it. Our Kakadu experience started at a camp ground near Cahills Crossing which is on the border of Kakadu & Arnhem Land. Cahills Crossing & the nearby Ubirr is something everyone should experience but to fully appreciate it you have to stay over night so you can see an incredible sunset over the water plains of Kakadu from the top off Ubirr rock after viewing amazing aboriginal art. We spent almost 3 full days at Cahills Crossing watching the concrete crossing from Kakadu into Arnhem Land go about 1m under water before the tide turned & it went back down to about .2m & cars & trucks can start crossing safely again. One of the most amazing things for us too all watch was a local crocodile who has made this area his home rest on the banks for most of the day until the tide reached high tide them he would enter the water ever so quietly & make his way up to the crossing against the strong current with his mouth open wide fishing for his lunch & when he got a fish in his mouth you could see him thrash about killing & eating it. We loved seeing him feed in his natural environment his natural way. Glen also very carefully had a fish off the rocks here (he stayed very high up & away from the waters edge) & caught a lot of Barra. We kept one & had a very yummy feed of NT Barra. After a really interesting morning spent with local Aboriginal woman teaching us how to weave baskets & bangles from pandanus leaves it was time to say goodbye to all the thousands of friendly mossies & move further along Kakadu. We really enjoyed the next few days going on bush walks & visiting a fantastic information centre & an Aboriginal Cultural Centre, they were both brilliant. Our last day in KakaduMaguk Falls so we could swim in the rock pools above the waterfall & it was worth the 40min hike through the bush & even the terrifying 3 metre walk along the cliff edge! The rock pools were beautiful to swim in.
After Kakadu we planned to stay at Edith Falls for a couple of nights but the camp ground was fully booked so after a very quick swim there we stayed just outside of Katherine on a farm stay with horses & bulls & lots of space for the kids to run. The next few days were spent swimming in all the thermal pools Katherine & Mataranka had to offer & they were all just lovely to swim in. Each one had something different to offer that made it special & I couldn't pick a favourite. I know Glens favourite...the one we ended up having 6 topless hippies & a fully nude hippy...hahaha!
We then had 4 days of huge drives of about 600kms a day from Mataranka to Townsville with not much to see in between except an amazing fossil museum in Richmond which was so interesting & had some pretty awesome fossils of ancient creatures all found within the local area. After Townsville we very excitedly drove our way to Mission Beach to spend a month doing as little as possible besides the odd fishing trip & walks along the beach. We have been so lucky with the weather up here this time with hardly any rain. We have done loads of fishing with great fish being caught & heaps of fun being had. Our best fishing day was when we got to visit a friends Barra farm & watch how they farm & harvest Barra which was really interesting & then we were allowed to fish the dams. That was awesome, so many Barra being caught no-ones lines were empty & they were huge too! I don't know how I'm going to cope when I get home not being able to just wonder down to the beach anytime I like after spending 90% of the 8 mths practically living on a beach somewhere!
We are leaving Mission Beach tomorrow to make our way home in about 4 days & I am super excited to get home to see all my family & friends (especially our nieces & nephews!!!) again but I'm also really sad the adventure & our hassle free, easy living lifestyle will be over. We have had the most amazing 8mths on the road seeing some of the most incredible places & we have had some unforgettable experiences...oh well all good things must come to an end...until our next trip!

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