20 September 2017 | Tipperary Waters Marina
Friday 15 September 2017
Buddy Lesley flew in Sunday and we've been busy showing her the high points of Top End (by the way, a high percentage of local business names start with either: Top End, Darwin, Territory or NT). Tuesday of course was chemo day, but otherwise we've boated through Corroboree billabong (horseshoe lake), wandered around Fogg Dam (not really a dam, but a lowland aswarm with huge numbers of birds) and are currently in Katherine, site of Nitmiluk National Park (it was called Katherine Gorge until the aborigines recently took it over) having spent four hours this morning boating through the three largest gorges. Lots of birds and crocs and tens of thousands of flying foxes. Pretty cool.
En route to the gorge went through Humpty Doo and Wak Wak - not to be missed... unless you blink. Also notable, there are tractor rigs on the road with 3 and 4 trailers in train. Hate to see one of those babies go out of control. Many roads are narrow with ragged edges and no apron. Good condition, but it's a fine idea to pay close attention.
Just learned that saltwater crocs are not called that due location. Croclets are born and raised in fresh water and the largest concentrations in the world are found in NT's Mary river system. They are the most dangerous animals in Australia (and that's saying something), the largest reptiles anywhere and, with a significantly lower than average "cuddly quotient", make rather poor pets. Freshies, which coexist with salties, look similar, but are shy and will move away from you. Salties will stalk a person, rip him apart and swallow the bloody chunks. It pays to know the difference.
Much of the Outback south of Darwin is lumpy and festered with rocks and boulders. Bilious red dirt is visible where orange and pale yellow brush doesn't grow or has burned back. Sparse, stunted trees allow little shade. Two and three meter termite mounds erupt from the landscape. Dry season is arid and hideously hot. During wet season it's flooded, humid and even hotter. Pervasive flies attack for moisture. If earth got mange this is how it would look.
Previous description was a bit harsh, but still, hardly anyone lives out here including aboriginals now. How do you keep them down on the farm when they've seen Darwin? OK, bad example, but even so... There are interesting bits. The rock art at Ubirr having been laid down layer on layer for many thousands of years is amazing (at least in not having been eroded away). The view from the top of Burrunggui (previously Nourlangie Rock, a 600 meter sandstone formation) that overlooks Anbangbang (arn barng barng) billabong and the escarpment that runs 500 km through the park is very impressive. Glad we went; never need to go back.
Litchfield Park has a few waterfalls (even in dry) and rock pools without crocs in which one may swim. Fun, but a long way to go for a frolic. Amusement doesn't come easy around Top End.
Lesley's off today for a few days in Sydney where she is will climb over top of iconic Harbour Bridge, which tour costs an ugly amount of money, then fly back to San Francisco. She left the termite mounds undisturbed, but is carrying home several kilo of regular Outback rocks in luggage. Jan was over the moon with the visit and we love her, but she's certifiable.