Archive | November 2014

Darwin: Howard Springs Nature Park

Howard Springs is a bushland oasis and family playground south of Darwin, just near Palmerston.  It is in a really tranquil setting off the Stuart Highway. They were assembling sails over the swimming pool when we were there. I was really surprised they haven’t had them in the past given it is so hot. As well as the pool there is a playground and BBQ area.

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Darwin: Berry Springs

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This beautiful, quiet waterhole would be the perfect place for a swim. If there weren’t crocodiles around. It was our last full day in Darwin and after spending two fun but busy days at Kakadu I was looking forward to doing something not so full-on. We were told it was a popular picnic spot for the residents of Darwin. It took a while for us to find it because it wasn’t well signposted but once we got there we found it to be deserted. We soon found out why. The waterhole was closed because they were still testing to make sure there were no crocodiles in there. To do that they set traps and check them regularly. There was a small waterfall nearby that was gushing but that didn’t turn out very well in my photos.

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Kakadu: Guluyambi Aboriginal Culture Cruise

This tour was one of my favourites of my time in Darwin/Northern Territory. I was really looking forward to it and it didn’t disappoint. It was the only tour that was run by an Aboriginal guide and I was looking forward to some insights into his culture.

The tour was on the East Alligator River which separates Arnhem Land and Kakadu.  We were even able to step on to Arnhem Land as a surprise part of the tour. Normally you need a special permit to enter.  Due to this we weren’t able to go very far but at least I can say I’ve been to Arnhem Land.

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The river is tidal which is really strange given it is hundreds of kilometres from the sea.

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Arnhem Land

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We were treated to a show of how to use these spears.  Our guide showed us how to hold and throw them so they reached the other side of the river.  He knew exactly where they were going to land. When we went to collect them they were where he said they would be.

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Our guide.  He was so interesting and funny.  I could sit and listen to him all day.

Kakadu: Ubirr rock art

 

 

 

 

Ubirr is one of the best places to see the flora and fauna of Northern Territory.  There are more than 5,000 discovered rock art sites, containing some of the oldest rock art in the world.  It is believed there are many more thousands of sites that haven’t been discovered.  They may never be discovered by white man either.

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Kakadu: Crocodile Hotel

I have always wanted to stay in this crocodile-shaped hotel in the town of Jabiru in Kakadu National Park. I didn’t think I would ever stay there, I thought it was too expensive. However when I decided to do the 2 day tour of Kakadu, and looked at the hotels available, I realised it would only cost an extra $80 to stay there rather than a lower-budget hotel.  Yippee I was going to stay here.  It’s uniqueness lies in its shape.  The accommodation is on the sides of the croc and the restaurant and other facilities are in its head.

Croc hotel

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Northern Territory: Yellow Water and South Alligator Cruise

The cruise is a very relaxing way to take in the surroundings of the Yellow Water and South Alligator Rivers in Kakadu.  I didn’t know what to expect of this cruise.  I hadn’t done any research and just wanted to take what came. It turned out to be a great, informative tour.  We were lucky for this one and a half hour cruise to be extended to almost two hours. Although it didn’t please our driver.

We were able to see so much flora and fauna, it was incredible.  Many of my photos didn’t turn out as well as I wanted to because the birds were hiding on the banks of the rivers.  About one third of Australia’s bird species can be found in Kakadu. Whistling ducks and Magpie Geese were the birds we saw in most places. We also saw a lot of crocodiles, both in the water and on the banks of the rivers.

We were warned not to move around on the boat in case it toppled over.   It was a small boat so we certainly took heed of the warning.

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This was our boat.  It would be no match for a crocodile so we all had to be very careful not to move around much.

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It may look like this crocodile is about to attack but he was really just cooling himself down. Luckily for us.

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The scenery is so beautiful in one of the most remote areas of Australia.

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This is considered a ‘large’ crocodile.  We learned the body of a croc is seven times larger than the head.  Most of the body is hidden below the water.  He was just minding his own business.

Kakadu: Nourlangie rock art

 

 

 

 

Kakadu has some of the oldest rock art in the world.  Some of it is up to 20,000 years old.  Most of it is very well preserved but some parts are open to the elements and have worn away.

We arrived there after a long drive from Darwin at the beginning of the two day tour of Kakadu.  Apart from a brief stop off for morning tea at a very ‘Aussie’ place, we arrived at Kakadu ready for a walk around Nourlangie to look at the rock art.  This type of art fascinates me and I couldn’t wait to see if.  Our first stop on the walk was up some steps into an open gallery.  We were able to take photos as our guide told us the stories about the art.  Our next stop was another open-air gallery.

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Click to access parknotesnourlangie.pdf

 

Tolmer Falls, Litchfield National Park

Tolmer Falls were the last Falls we visited on our tour of Litchfield National Park.  As we arrived our driver and host told us there was a gentle walk down to the lookout to the Falls. As it was quite warm and humid we were glad.  But we soon discovered our idea of gentle was nothing like the driver’s idea.  It was quite steep in parts. Walking down was ok but we weren’t looking forward to walking back up.  It was more strenuous given that most of us were tired.

We couldn’t get to the base of the Falls, only to a lookout that was hundreds of metres above the base.  It gave us the chance to take in the beauty of the cliffs and surrounding area.  When I turned away from the Falls I saw a magnificent view over the treetops to the horizon.

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Wangi Falls, Litchfield National Park

Wangi Falls is just a few minutes drive from Florence Falls.  These were the most beautiful of the 3 falls we ventured to on this day.  There is a really good waterhole here so a lot of people were able to swim for about 20 minutes. I was more interested in walking around the area so only got to stick my feet in the water for 10 minutes.

The Falls had only been opened a few days earlier after being cleared as crocodile-free. For a few weeks since the wet season ended, the rangers leave cages  near bodies of water. If they find a croc it gets moved to a croc farm to live out its days.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Descent

Florence Falls was the first of three waterfalls we visited during our tour of Litchfield National Park.  It is a beautiful double waterfall with a waterhole at the base where you can swim, safe in the knowledge there are no crocodiles around.

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http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/descent/

Darwin: Termite mounds in Litchfield NP

On our tour of Litchfield National Park I learned that there are two types of termite mounds: Cathedral and Magnetic.

As the name suggests, the Cathedral mounds sort of look like a cathedral.  They are tall and sort of rounded and grow very tall. They can last up to 50 years.

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You can see how tall they are compared to these people.

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The Magnetic termite mounds are called that because they grow north to south to minimise the amount of sunlight during the day.  They are amazing structures.  The have arches, tunnels, chimneys and even insulation.

There seemed to be a lot more of the magnetic mounds that we saw but because they just seem to ‘pop’ out of the ground they can be found anywhere.  Another thing I noticed is the they are not mixed. The cathedral mounds seemed to grow in one part of the park and the magnetic mounds in another part.

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A cross-section of one of the mounds.

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