Our journey has taken us from the desert of Daly Waters to the tropics. This is
our campsite in a very nice campground (Shady Lane Caravan Park) with lots of palms
and mango trees. We have shade but the temperature is in the mid 30’s (upper 90’s)
and the humidity is also high.
We are here to visit the Katherine Gorge “Nitmiluk”. We have signed up for the “Three
Gorge Tour”. Other tours are a two-gorge, sunrise two-gorge and a dinner two-gorge.
Ours includes a swim in a plunge pool.
We are in a boat similar to that one.
Actually there is only one gorge! But there are shallow rapids in places and one
must get out and walk to the next pool where there is another boat waiting.
They call each boating section a “gorge”.
At the first rapids the nearby rocks have some aboriginal art on them. Much of it
is faded but our guide pointed them out and talked about the importance of this form
of communication to the ancient peoples.
After the talk we walked up to the next boat, floated up to the next rapids, walked
to the third boat and rode it to the dock at the plunge pool.
The pool is about 30 meters (100’) across but is on a ledge about 10 meters (30’)
above the river. As this is the end of the dry season the waterfall is nothing more
than a trickle. We swam and rested for about half an hour, ate some of the snack
that was provided and then went back to the boat and up to the next set of rapids.
There we climbed over the rocks, no fancy trail here, and looked into the next section
of the gorge.
The Katherine Gorge cuts through a relatively flat sandstone tableland. The uplifitng
of this ancient seabed cracked the sandstone into large square blocks. The river
used some of these cracks to continue its flow as the ground rose. As these blocks
are square the river zigs and zags rather than winds in a serpentine fashion as the
Colorado River does in the US’s Grand Canyon.
In the picture to the left, near the top right is a bench with a green bush. This
picture below is of the underside of the overhang above the bench.
After two nights in Katherine we are again heading north. We are running out of
room to do that but we have only a couple more things before turning back south.
The Litchfield National Park is the home of the “Magnetic Termite Mounds”. These
are thin, blade shaped mounds that are placed north/south. They are in an open lowland
with no shade. This orientation means the least sun heating of any shape.
According to the sign an experiment was done using magnets and the completely blind
termites reoriented their building to the new “north” created by the magnets.
These mounds are a couple meters (6-7’) high and a meter (3’) or so across the wide
side and only a few centimeters (couple inches) thick.
You can see a more common lumpy type in the brush in the background.
Down the road a bit was this lumpy mound. It looked abandoned and was being eroded
by the weather.
We have seen lots of these, from knee high up to this size, along the highway for
the last several hundred kilometers (miles).
The other thing people like to do in this park is swim and cool off in the streams
and pools. This is Buley Rockhole. It consists of several pools for soaking and
swimming. This is only a couple hours from the city of Darwin. It would be a nice
day-trip for a picnic and swim.
Buley is only the first. A half hour farther along the park road is Wangi Plunge
Pool (pronounced wong-guy).
This is where we went to swim. An adult can walk about halfway across before the
water deepens. There are a couple of upper pools but only one is accessible. It
is a little bigger than a hot tub and near the base of the smaller falls on the left.
We dry-camped (no power, no water) in the Wangi CG. But there were toilets, nice
The next day we headed to Darwin. We won’t do much here except go the the craft
market/food market being held tonight (every Thursday). Then it is off to the Kakadu
aboriginal lands to the east of Darwin. This is as far north as we can go.