Monday, August 29, 2011

Catch up post... Katherine - Kakadu

I promise to never call anywhere the best place on earth again. Every time I do I find somewhere even better. I am also running out of adjectives to describe things. I apologise if this is sounding repetitive.

It has been about 5 mins since I completed my last post, but I have sooo much to write about. Hopefully I will be able to catch you all up quickly.

Our last day in Katherine was spent cruising up the Gorge. It is sooo beautiful. We saw aboriginal rock paintings that are at least ten thousand years old.

We then moved on to Kakadu. Our first stop was Gunlom falls. My lonely planet guide to the NT said they were the only falls in kakadu accessible by conventional vehicle. We interpreted this as meaning that we could all take our caravans, which aren't off road ones, along the dirt track. Boy were we mistaken!!!

It took us 2 hours to drive the 43km because we were all going so slow. Our caravans bounced up and down on the dusty corrugated road like kids on a trampoline. We all were petrified to look in our rear view mirrors incase we found the caravan had bounced apart into pieces.

When we finally arrived at Gunlom, there were disappointed looks being exchanged all round.. and a few bad words. I felt responsible for everyones bad moods and damaged caravans because I was the one who had suggested Gunlom. So to cheer everyone up I decided to throw an impromptu birthday party for Jago's imaginary friend 'Melon'.

Not only was Gunlom incredibly hot and dusty (& I'm talking about the kind of heat that makes you wish you were a nudist), but swimming in the rock pools was prohibited as there may be salt water crocs. What a tease!!!!

The sign prohibiting swimming didn't seem to be stopping anyone from walking over in their togs so we did the same. The pool at the bottom of the fall looked nice, and there were people swimming there, but I was too scared to go in. Then Kris had the brilliant idea to climb the mountain and swim at the top pool. Her idea was that crocs couldn't climb the mountain so we would be fine to swim up there.

So off we went. Rock climbing in thongs!!! It was a real struggle to get to the top in the insane heat. James collapsed and a few others felt like they were going to faint. I have put a pic below of the mountain we climbed. You will see it is a waterfall with a pool below. Well I climbed that!!!! (anyone who is getting the impression that with all this hiking I am going to come back fit and healthy is mistaken. I do more snoozing in my car while we are driving or scoffing down ice creams than I do mountain climbing).

The top was well worth the climb, and the corrugated road. It was magical. I don't have any pics of it because I didn't take my camera up. I got to have a swim and it was the most refreshing swim ever.

Kakadu is such a tease. It is a tropical paradise and is sooo hot - but you can't swim anywhere or enjoy its beauty because you are constantly worried about being eaten by a crocodile.

At the moment we are staying st Cooinda resort. Despite there being a crocodile warning sign mere meters from our campsite, I feel safe enough to enjoy a dip in the pool. Cooinda is on the yellow water billabong, a famously beautiful part of Kakadu. Ben and I did a sunrise cruise with mum and kristy yesterday along the river. It was magical.

I am slowly adjusting to using public bathrooms. Kris (who is slightly less phobic than I am about them) and I have worked out an embarrassing routine to minimise the stress. Firstly, we don't take any clothes over to the showers. We wear a blue toweling dressing gown over with nothing underneath and then wear it back. This reduces the chance of your clean clothes touching anything in the bathrooms and also reduces the time you need to spend in them. We also carry over a city beach water proof bag with our soap and shampoo and a blue micro fibre towel to dry our hair. The first night we went to the showers together we were slightly embarrassed as we stepped out and realised that we were matching, right down to our black haviana thongs. So from then on we tried to shower late at night when no one would see us doing the walk of shame, dressed like twins, back to our caravans (we like to go over together for moral support).

Yesterday we went during day light hours but at slightly different times. I went first and Kristy about 5 mins later. On Kristys walk back to the van a hot back packer yelled out to her "did you forget something?". Kris then had the embarrassing task of explaining that no, she was a different person, and that we are just sisters who like to dress the same!!!

Anyway, gonna sign off now. I am on my way to Ubirr via Jabiru. We are going to climb an escarpment to watch the sunset.


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