Outback Road Trips

Kakadu

We took a 4 day Intrepid “Kakadu, Katherine & Litchfield Adventure” tour from Darwin. With our experienced, knowledgeable and passionate guide Paul leading the way we really enjoyed experiencing the waterfalls, waterholes, gorges, wildlife and rock art.

He kept us entertained on the long drives between the National Parks. 1800km in 4 days, I was glad someone else was driving.

Litchfield National Park

Litchfield National Park, covering approximately 1500 km², is about an hour’s drive south of Darwin. The park is filled with waterfalls and waterholes surrounded by monsoonal forests.

Up to 100 years old, these “magnetic” termite mounds are unique to the northern parts of Australia
Their thin edges pointing north-south and broad backs facing east-west, thermo-regulating the mounds
Buley Rockhole, perfect for a cooling swim
Florence Falls
Sandstone cliffs near Tomler Falls
Cycads unique to this area were only described in 1978
Wangi Falls, another great swimming hole
Freshwater crocodile in Fogg Dam which was built in the 1950s for a failed rice farming project
Now Fogg Dam attracts thousands of birds including these Whistling Ducks

Mary River National Park

The Mary River is 225km long but in the dry season it becomes a series of billabongs. It is the most crocodile infested water in the world, definitely not a swimming place.

Corroborre Billabong on the Mary River is full of wildlife especially during the dry
Jabiru
Sea eagle, Whistling ducks and Jacana
Lotus grow in the billabong
Swimming in the Mary River is not a good idea
This guy is over 4 meters long
Pandanus growing in the open savannah lands of Kakadu National Park

Ubirr

Ubirr is a rock formation within the East Alligator region of Kakadu National Park. Traditionally, people camped beneath Ubirr’s cool rocky shelters and rock art depicts their food, medicine and stories over thousands of years. It is among the best rock art in the world. For us, It was the highlight of our trip.

A Lesson in Good Behaviour tells a story which warns against stealing. 
“X-ray” fish painting
Wallaby – the sandstone has absorbed the dyes and become part of the rock
“Boss Man”: a white fella, big boots, hands in pants pockets and smoking a pipe
Probably a buffalo hunter from the 1880s
Tasmanian tiger, which became extinct on the mainland more than two thousand years ago, gives an idea of the age of some of this art
The rock faces at Ubirr have been continuously painted and repainted since 40,000 BCE although the paintings have not been accurately dated
Long-neck turtle
Mullets are always painted without their heads
Creation ancestors: the Rainbow Serpent painted on the rock to remind people of her presence
As she crossed the land, she “sang” the rocks, plants, animals, and people into existence
This painting is a warning of the consequences of disturbing the stones on the East Alligator River
Controversially claimed to represent a person suffering from radiation poisoning from the uranium soils
Looking out at Nadab floodplain from the Kakadu escarpment – come the wet this will be an inland sea
Nearby at Cahills Crossing, people are still getting into the water
A 3.5 meter croc, mouth open, catching fish at the Crossing
Our truck and campsite at Jabiru in Kakadu

Maguk

Maguk is accessed from a 14km four-wheel drive track off the Kakadu Highway, followed by a one kilometre walk through monsoon forests, crossing Barramundi Creek along a rocky path. Described as a “delightfully secluded sensation”, there was a lot of people when we were there.

Kakadu has six different seasons, defined by the skies, rainfall, plants and animals
We are at the end of the “cold weather season”, burning time, where daytime temperatures are only 33°C
The road to Maguk was a bit bumpy!
Pond in Barramundi Creek on the walk to Maguk
Archer fish in the clear pond water
They shoot darts of water into the air to stun insects
Maguk (Barramundi Gorge) Plunge Pool, another refreshing water hole
Our guide Paul (Meatloaf) beside a giant termite mound
Flowers of Kakadu
We stopped at the historic gold mining town of Pine Creek on the way to Katherine
This is the old bakery from 1889


Katherine Gorge

The Nitmiluk Gorge (Katherine Gorge) is made up of 13 separate gorges. This maze of waterways has been sculpted from the sandstone over the millennium. We took a two hour cruise through the first two gorges. In the wet season, water races through here at 40kph – 45 minutes one way, 5 minutes back.

Green Tree Frog in the dunny at our Katherine campsite
A Katherine sunrise
There is a colony of 250,000 bats living in the trees of Nitmiluk National Park
At the beginning of Gorge number one
Reflections of Gorge number one
Palm growing tall on the sandstone cliff
“White mans ways – have books to tell stories. We Jawoyn (local custodians) have paintings that have always been there for us”
This rock face featured in Jedda, the first Australian movie using Aboriginal actors
A freshwater crocodile sunning itself on a rock in the Gorge
“You’ll Never Never Know, If You Never Never Go” Tourism Australia commercial 1994
A White-bellied Sea Eagle high above the river
This boab is endemic to Australia, related to those native to Madagascar 
The beautiful northern salmon gum is only found in the Northern Territory and WA


Leliyn (Edith Falls)

On the way back to Darwin we stopped at Edith Falls for a swim.

People enjoying the cold waters of Edith Falls on a 35°C day
The water from Edith Falls runs away along this crystal clear creek
Gender signs on the toilets painted in the local cross hatched style