Loving The Top End

11 July 2012

I am sitting in the mozzie net enclosure my genius husband made. It is much appreciated and needed tonight. This is our second night at Muirella Camp in Kakadu and last night about this time it was as if someone had flipped a switch and suddenly there were mozzies everywhere and we were all flapping about camp slapping ourselves and running for cover.

Alice and Tom arrived a week ago and it’s been great. It’s so good to see them and have some time with such good friends. It’s also really good to share this area with them, exploring it together.  It was as if we had just seen them last week and straight away we picked up where we left off chatting and laughing as always.  Although since then Olly and I were not sure if we were both prone to oddly long periods of silence which may come off strangely to others- its one of the first time we noticed how much time we spend together and that it may be a bit weird when all this is over and we are with other people again!

After sharing a magic Darwin sunset with them their first night, the next day we went to Litchfield Nat Park, which Olly has written about. The highlights for me were def the swimming holes! Every day we swam in at least one beautiful, clear, cool swimming hole with a waterfall cascading down into it. It’s been hot so they were all so welcome! We have been leaping in, jumping off rocks, lying in the sun next to them and at times jumping about like children shrieking and splashing. We were lucky to have some to ourselves and felt like we had discovered our very own oasis.

Another highlight was the small track that winds its way through the southern end of the park, it was so good to be back on a track pottering along, checking out river crossings and soaking in the scenery. Over the last few weeks we have been on paved roads and it was good to be bumping around again.

A few days ago we left Litchfield and came into another nearby national park, Kakadu. This is another place I have wanted to go for years. It’s a well known national park in Australia in the never never region of the NT. It’s been great!

We bumped our way down to Gunlom Falls for our first night in Kakadu. Alice and Tom felt there teeth were jarring out of their head by the time we arrived. We were straight down into the water, a palm fringed billabong with the falls tumbling down into it. It was a hot day and a cool swim felt so welcome.

The next day we made our way towards the middle of the national park and decided to base ourselves there for a few days and check out the area, do some walks and visit some Aboriginal rock art galleries. We spent several hot hours looking at the Nourlangie and Anbangbang rock art sites. The style of art up here is very distinctive to the area and different from previous styles we have seen in other areas, it is known as x-ray style.  It is characterised by fine lines and in the case of animals often the backbone and organs are shown. It is believed people have been living in the area and using the rock shelters for 20,000 years so it was amazing to think of all the life that has happened in the area we were walking in.

Last night we decided that in the morning we would walk to a lesser known art site before the heat really set in. The art was incredible and we spent over an hour looking at it all. It is common for things to be painted over older paintings, so in some areas you can see the layers of paintings, all telling their own stories. I really felt so humbled sitting in a spot that is very beautiful even without the art and to consider the significance of the stories and this place to the indigenous people of this area, it provokes powerful feelings.  Unfortunately sometimes Aboriginal culture is sometimes spoken of in the past tense, this is a living culture and we were looking at many many years of its stories.

By the time we started back the sun was very hot, we were happy to get moving in Landy with all the windows down. We made our way to a resort and indulged in a cold drink and grabbed a quick swim in their pool to cool down. I have been feeling the heat the last few days mostly because it’s been so hot at night.  We have found 22C in a hot Landy with no moving air a bit harsh. It was good to cool down.

We learned from last night, and had an early dinner so we could get into the mozzie enclosure by dusk. We can hear them but they can’t get us, well until bed anyway.


after our swim at Tjaynera Falls

our find at Surprise Creek Falls


Anbangbang site

Nourlangie Rock

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