Saturday, September 5, 2009

Kakadu, Litchfield take 2.....

My friend Rob that has been in Darwin the last couple of weeks had not seen Kakadu or Litchfield national park, so on my days off we rented a Wicked campervan and took 5 days to tour around. We went to a lot of the same places I had been too about a month ago, as well as a couple new places. I finished a night shift Tuesday morning and when I got home I was supper excited!!! The plan was to pick up the van, I was going to go home and sleep for a couple of hours and Rob was going to get the groceries. Well, plans changed. My friend Kym was home from Thailand and he needed to catch a plane for work at 0930. So I drove him to the airport, then we picked up the van which took a lot longer then expected as we changed the contract and had to wait forever, blah, blah, blah. By the time we got home and I started packing up things, I was wide away and way to excited about the trip to sleep. So we decided to head out together, get groceries and then hit the highway. We had a small 'esky' as they call them here, aka, a cooler, with the wicked van, but once we started getting food, and of course alcohol, I ended up buying another esky as it wasn't all going to fit in the small one. I also bought an AM/FM transmitter as I wasn't about to listen to the same 4 CD's over and over and over again!! We left for Litchfield national park and I thought that I might be tired enough to sleep for some of the drive, but nope, I was WIDE awake!!! We went to the Florence Falls and Buley's Rockpools in Litchfield and we spent more time at the falls then the first time I went as we had more time as we decided to camp in Litchfield. We found a campground, and set up our campervan. In the van was a small table (TV tray type style) and two chairs, one of which was practically broken, but Rob managed to somewhat fix it, dishes and cutlery, pan, pot, small propane tank with a burner and a sink. We made burgers for supper that night and ate before it got too dark as we didn't really have any lanterns other then my small bike torch and Rob's small magna torch. It was pretty hot out, but we stated a fire anyways - probably a bad idea as we where hot when we got into the hot campervan! We actually put the AC on for a bit to cool us down before going to sleep! The next day we started off at the beautiful Wangi falls - where I was attacked by the evil cane toads!! I was in this small rock pool on the side of the rock face when I felt something against my side, I looked, and it was a cane toad, I freaked out yelling "Ahh! get it out, get it out". I scared Rob and he jumped out of the pool trying to see what i was yelling at, and before i knew it the toad had jumped out of the pool and was making his way to the main pool. Gross, gross, gross! Shorty after the cane toad experience, we left and headed to a place called The Lost City. A 10km, 4WD road, a very bumpy road, to this area of rocks that where formed from wind and water, but it looks like an ancient town built with rocks, of course. It was pretty neat and after a walk around the 'city' we decided we better head on and drive into Kakadu. We took the long way into Kakadu as I wasn't confident the van, even though it was 4WD could make it through the 4WD short cut that we took last time. The wicked van, was a van of course, not a trooper, and so it was low the ground, and didn't have a snorkel, which I knew one section of the road recommended you have a snorkel to continue. We didn't want to risk it and so took the long way. We arrived in Gunlom mid-afternoon and we climbed the steep walk to the top of the falls - this time with running shoes on! Wasn't about to do any climbs with flip flops on again! We decided that we didn't want to arrive anywhere after dark and seeing as it was close to sunset, we stayed at Gunlom falls. This also allowed us more time at the falls to chill out and enjoy the picturesque view from the top. We made out way down and found ourselves a nice campsite, but opted to not have a fire as we didn't want the same to happen as the previous night. The next day we started off at Makok falls (aka Barramundi falls, which I wasn't aware of and when I was planning the trip) I though Makok falls was going to be new for me, but alas, I had been there last time. That was alright as it is a beautiful gorge. We did some cliff jumping, and on my second jump I got a bunch of water in my ear which was very painful, so no more jumps for me. Our next stop was Jim Jim falls, 60km off the main drag, all on dirt road, once again, very bumpy corrogated dirt roads! We thought it was going to take a long time, but in the end, it only took us about an hour and 15 minutes. The last 30 minutes was rough 4WD roads, and one guy got stuck trying to get out of our way. As it turned out, he wasn't in 4WD at all, so once he got that right, he had no problem. A lot of the track was really sandy, so we where bouncing all over the place, loads of fun! We arrived in the car park and there where about three tour buses in the car park - not what we wanted to see, but oh well. We actually got stuck behind one of the tours for a bit, but they stopped for a water break and we buzzed past them. The last time I was at Jim Jim falls, we where there first thing in the morning and the water was FREEZING ass cold. This time, it was about 3:00 when we arrived, and some of the sun was hitting the water, so it wasn't 'that' cold. Plus we where so hot and sweaty from the walk in - it was much much more humid then a month ago, so it was so refreshing to get in and cool down! However, when we swam to the falls - not that there was that much water falling - and we got to the shaded part, the water was pretty freakin' cold! We spent a bunch of time just relaxing and sun tanning at Jim Jim and just as one of the tours was getting ready to go, we quickly got changed and headed out infront of them. We arrived at the campground and set up camp again. We had a pretty good routine and where set up and had supper on the go in no time. We decided to have a fire this night and just sit metres away from it - not necessarily to get the heat from it, but just have something to look at!! The next day we where back on the sandy 4WD road, but this time to go to Twin Creek falls. We where about 6km away from the car park when we came to a river. It was somewhat deep and we weren't 100% convinced that we would make it without getting water in the exhaust. We waited a bit to see if anyone would drive by that we could catch a lift, however after 10 minutes of no one, we decided to pass up Twin Creek Falls and just head to our next destination......Nourangie. Here are massive rocks with rock art from the aboriginals date over 10000 years! We walked the 1.5km trail checking out all the art, getting attacked by fly's left, right, my ears, on my face, up my nose.....I had had enough!! There was a viewing platform which both Rob and I weren't overly keen on seeing, and so decided to head back to the air con'd van!! Our next stop was the small town of Jabiru. The only town in Kakadu national park...... and they didn't sell alcohol :( We picked up a few groceries and made our way half way to Darwin to pick up some beer before stopping in Corroboree caravan Park for the night. I considered going 25km north of Jabiru first to a place with more rock art, but we where tired, and tired of the flies, so we just decided to keep going. The caravan park had a swimming pool and after cracking a beer we headed to the pool to cool off! It didn't seem as hot the last night compared to previous nights so we sat a bit closer to the fire!! It was a full moon that night and not many clouds so it didn't matter much that we didn't have a torch, none was needed! We were up early the next day as we wanted to see the jumping crocodiles and we had to have the van back at 1500. We arrived just in time for the 0900 jumping crocodiles and where out on the water for about an hour and 25 minutes. We didn't see as many crocs as I did the first time as it was high tide and so its harder to find the crocs, but we still saw a bunch of them and it was cool, plus, there was only 9 of us on board! After the crocs we headed to Barry Springs, a great way to end the trip if you ask me. The water was refreshing, not overly crowded, and we hadn't been for a swim yet that day, so it was a good excuse to go! After a nice relaxing swim and brief suntan it was time to head back. We washed and cleaned out the van....ugh, i hate that part about camping! and after a fun 5 days of driving a wicked van (can cross that off my list now) we took her back to the dealership. It was such a fun week and I could go back to either, or both of the parks in a heartbeat!! By the time I leave here I think I could be a tour guide! LOL

Me and my Wicked Van!
The Lost City
These are all bats hanging from the tree at Wangi Falls!!
Rock art
Me at the jumping crocs again!

No comments: