This page was to be about the Kakadu NP. But that didn’t happen. We traveled from
Katherine to Darwin and went to the Mindil Beach food fair and sunset show. The
place was packed and the choices were nearly endless. We chose Mexican, it looked
pretty authentic, and took it over to the beach.
We found a place to sit and ate as the sun dropped. The crowd was very orderly,
maybe because of the two policemen on horseback, but I think that is just the way
they were. The beach is large and was not crowded.
Farther down the beach were two fire dancers that were being professionally filmed
for something. The whole affair reminded us of Key West and it’s sunset party. More
food and fewer acts but the feeling was the same. Right down to the applause when
the sun dropped behind the horizon, like it was a play put on just for them!
There is a fantastic app for one’s phone called Wikicamps. It is a user-built database
of camping areas and points of interest. It includes a huge amount of info about
the places and allows for user input for comments, pricing and photos. We use it
a lot! (It is sort of like the “Camps 7” campground book but a whole lot better.)
While in the campground in Darwin I used Wikicamps to review the Kakadu NP. Kakadu
is an aboriginal area designated as a National Park and run by the “traditional owners”,
as the aboriginals are commonly called. This is like Uluru is managed. The difference
here is that the entrance fee went from $25 to $40 in April (Uluru is $25). Everything
inside costs more money (Uluru is free except for organized tours). Campsites in
a regular campground are $46 (at the resort near Uluru $48). And the two viewpoints
were so overgrown with trees that nothing could be seen. Wikicamp commentators
that had been to both said do Litchfield and skip Kakadu. We’d already been to Litchfield
(see previous page) so we skipped Kakadu and headed south.
But first I called a air conditioning repair guy and described my problem. He said
bring it in tomorrow at 10. So I did. He looked at it got in a truck and disappeared
for an hour. He finally came back, he had been chasing parts. A few cuss words
and he disappears again, comes back, works on it and we have cold air!! $200 cash,
no receipt and we are as happy as can be.
So it is south on the same road we came north on. A day and a half travel. The
half day, after the repair we are running through this burned area saying “I don’t
remember this.” when we found where it had just jumped the highway. It covered thousands
of acres but we saw no action being taken to control it. We don’t know if it was
a controlled burn or a wild fire.
The next day we encountered kangaroos and Wallabies. We have seldom seen live ones
before this. This morning, during our regular travel time, we saw at least 30 in
as many kilometers. And at least a dozen fresh road kills. We have seen at least
a thousand road kills in various states of desiccation during our 6 weeks here but
seldom a live one. For this stretch it all changed, and then it changed back and
we seldom saw another for the next week’s travel through the outback.
And then there was this guy. We thought the outback to be very uncomfortable without
air conditioning. It is quite flat but there is a head wind blowing from the south.
Oh well, to each his own sport.
I’m sure glad I’m not on a bike when one of these guys goes by. We are passing him,
slowly, because our new engine is fine but not very big. It takes us about 2 km
(over 1 mile) to get by. Thank goodness for long, flat, straight stretches of road.
There are four tank trailers in this road train.
We made it to Three Way (950km/600mi) where we turned left (east) and continued through
the Outback. We are headed to see some dinosaurs in Winton and surrounding towns.
A total of 2100km/1300mi in three days and we are there. We have crossed a ridge
of hills and are now in prairie grasslands with “Jumpups”. These jumpups are flat
topped hills we would call a mesa or butte.