Kununurra, Lake Argyle & Wyndham

We’ve spent several days around Kununurra, in WA’s eastern Kimberley region. Kununurra is a nice green town only 35km’s from the NT border, and it clearly has a good water supply. The town is greened thanks to constant irrigation, and there are plenty of irrigated orchards and fields around the place. The water source is of course the Ord River and the massive Lake Argyle (or Ord Dam) further upstream in the Ord River.

Kununurra, from the lookout

Kununurra, from the lookout

Lake Argyle

Lake Argyle

Continue reading

Keep River National Park

Well, we almost made it to WA on Wednesday (27/8), but 2km’s prior to the border we turned off the hwy and headed into Keep River National Park instead! Never heard of it? Neither had we till today… Mentioned amongst other things, the NT Parks brochure describes it as having geological features similar to the Bungle Bungles. Given that it looks like most of the Kimberleys and surrounding areas (including the Bungle Bungles) are 4wd only (which we don’t have….), it seemed like a good idea to us to give it a look!

But to backtrack a bit first, we spent Tues night at a free roadside campsite about 100km’s out of Katherine. It wasn’t bad or anything, but we should have kept going for another 58km’s, and stopped at the Mary River Roadhouse. Quite a beautiful location, with the river and the surrounding rocky outcrops, which are part of Gregory National Park. The terrain actually starts changing a bit earlier than this, with interesting rocky hills/outcrops/ranges, in between the long grassy flatter areas, beginning to take the place of the flatter scrubby rolling hills. I suspect this is the beginning of what we can expect in the Kimberleys!

Victoria River

Victoria River

Continue reading

Douglas Hot Springs and More….

We left Litchfield N.P. Monday morning (25/8), headed back to the Stuart Hwy and turned south towards Katherine. However, there was another place we wanted to visit before Katherine – the Douglas (Tjuwaliyn) Hot Springs on the Douglas River.

 relaxing in the water

relaxing in Douglas River

We took the longer scenic route, leaving the Stuart Hwy at the town of Adelaide River, heading out along an old country road. This turned out to be a rough bumpy ride, but we did come across Robins Falls on the way (not planned), so stopped there to have a look. There were a number of people camping along Georges Creek. Not a bad place for some free camping. We did the walk up to the falls, which were pretty!

Robins Falls

Robins Falls

Continue reading

Litchfield National Park

We spent all Friday (22/8) morning at Berry Springs, so it wasn’t till mid/late arvo that we arrived in Litchfield National Park. This N.P. is very different to Kakadu – whereas wetlands and wildlife are the standout attractions of Kakadu – creeks, waterfalls, and swimming are Litchfields attractions. As you might guess, this was rather appealing to active boys (even if they do like wildlife too!)…

However, the first attraction driving into the park (from the Batchelor entry route) are the termite mounds. Now, the stars of this attraction are made by a different termite to those that make the more widely found mounds, such as those seen in Kakadu and elsewhere. No, this is not a grave yard, but a termite yard… Check out the aspect ratio of these mounds!
Continue reading

Berry Springs

What a cool place! Berry Springs is not far out of Darwin (47km’s), and is well worth a visit. After getting the motorhome fixed (as mentioned here), we stopped in at Berry Springs on the way to Litchfield National Park (Thurs 21/8). However we liked the place, and it was late, so we ended up staying the night at a nearby caravan park so we could go back again in the morning!

They are lovely spring pools, not that dissimilar to Bitter Springs at Mataranka. Larger though, with two main pools and the upper area where the waterfall is. They aren’t advertised as heated as Rainbow Springs and Bitter Springs are, but I think the water was warmed a little compared to a typical creek. This is a popular spot, and has a reasonably large picnic area in the park.

Main Pool, Berry Springs, Darwin

Main Pool, Berry Springs Darwin

We all had a good time swimming, and made good use of that snorkeling equipment we bought in Darwin (didn’t take long!). The fish life in the water was awesome! I took some underwater video with my phone (Friday morning) of some of the fish we saw. Continue reading

Still in Darwin….

Well we’ve had a good chance to look around Darwin. Not a bad city – don’t mind the place actually! It’s been longer than expected, as the motorhome is going in to Ford tomorrow for analysis.

What have we been doing? We started our Darwin activities at Crocodylus park, as mentioned in the last post. Saturday we went to a RAAF Open Day at Darwin International Airport, as exercise ‘Pitch Black’ is on at the moment. Defense feel like they need to compensate for shaking and deafening the whole city (military jets are really loud!!), by letting the community in to have a look at the planes! So we looked at a few displays (boys looked in a Bushmaster), and of course the planes including FA18 Hornets and Super Hornets, Tiger helicopter, an EAW&C plane, various transport planes, quite a few Singaporean fighter jets (F15 etc), and some planes from a few other countries participating.

Jonathan in Airforce Cadet training plane. He'd actually be old enough to learn to fly it in a years time!

Jonathan in an Air Force Cadet training plane. He’d actually be old enough to learn to fly it in a years time!

Continue reading

Kakadu: Yellow Water Cruise

This post details just one small (but excellent) part of our time in Kakadu National Park: the Yellow Water Cruise. You may wish to read the more general post about our time in Kakadu National Park first.

The Yellow Water Cruise was certainly one of the highlights of our time in Kakadu, and no doubt our overall trip around Aus. We were in a boat with a young but knowledgeable guide, and we observed up close much wildlife we would not have otherwise seen during our time in Kakadu.

We chose the 4:30pm sunset cruise, which goes for 2 hours. Both for the wildlife activity, and the softer pretty sunset light. Have a look at some of what we saw:



Continue reading

Kakadu National Park

Wow, a vast place of extremes! Kakadu is completely different to what I had imagined. We entered from the southern end of the park via the Kakadu highway, and was somewhat surprised by the dry open eucalyptus woodlands/scrub. I had expected something greener and lusher – perhaps rainforest? I got a couple of quick photos of the larger termite mounds in the bush, expecting plenty more further north, but these turned out to be the biggest we saw in Kadadu!

Kakadu termite mounds! Also note the rather dry (and burnt) forest....

Kakadu termite mounds! Also note the rather dry (and burnt) forest….

We had our 4wd’ing ‘fun’ soon after arriving, as already mentioned late in this post! Unfortunately most of the campsites and walks in the lower region are 4wd access. Further north, dropping into a couple of campsite for a look (Gunrurul & Mardugal), we were surprised by more dry somewhat barren land, and we actually starting to feel like this place was a dud!!!

We stayed that night at the caravan park at Cooinda Lodge to cheer us up (at least they had some green grass…). A walk the next morning (10/8/14) down to the Yellow Water Wetlands (where the similar named cruise operates from), left us with a better feeling – now this was nice!

Yellow Water Wetlands

Continue reading

Life in a Motorhome Week 6

Wow, we’ve just passed 6 weeks of living in a motorhome! Yes, it definitely feels like home now! I didn’t really realise this till we spent those two nights in a room at Kings Canyon – it felt ‘normal’ to be back in the motorhome the next night.

It is still a small area for a whole family to be living, and that is most obvious when it comes to the two boys. Going to bed is the main issue – they talk, argue, carry on and complain for ages. Especially Daniel, who complains about any noise Jonathan makes – anything from talking, sniffing to just plain breathing…. Daniel used to get more sleep than Jonathan, so he is probably still getting used to living with a little less sleep than previously. One thing I should do is rig up a curtain just in front of their bed (the rear one), so that if Nicole or I have any lights on it doesn’t affect them as much (our bed has a curtain to close it off). But generally they are pretty good, and we all get along fine.

Practically, everything has been going well (aside from that split turbo hose). Fridge, food, water supplies, toilet, diesel – all seem to be settled down into a routine and working fine. The motorhome still desperately needs a wash, with MacDonnell range mud still splashed onto it! We’ve packed all the cold weather gear away – blankets, jumpers etc – jammed into the seats below the mid table. Hopefully we won’t need them again!
Continue reading