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Around Australia caravan team hit Darwin and fall under the spell of The North

July 12, 2007
Around Australia caravan team hit Darwin and fall under the spell of The North

From: Ross & Jo Whitty
Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2007 12:51 PM
To: garth
Cc: Billy Carolyn Judd
Subject: Dallying in Darwin

Hi Garth,

we made it to the top! Have been in Darwin for 12 days now and are enjoying the pleasant weather.

When last I wrote we were heading for Daly Waters.

This is a must to visit for anyone heading north or south on the Stuart highway and who enjoy a good night out. But plan to get there early as the park/campground is limited for good sites although a powered site is probably not necessary for a one night stop.

We were fortunate to get two grassy sites on an otherwise muddy park as the day before it was under two feet of water after some unseasonable rain.

Around 4pm we wandered over to the pub to look at the memorabilia that decorates the place and helps create the atmosphere that the pub is famous for, from postcards, banknotes, flags and even signed underwear decorate every available space on the walls and ceiling.

It so happened that 4pm to 5pm was happy hour and with the live entertainment commencing in the beer garden at 5:30pm we never got back to our vans until late that night.

There was a guest saxophonist playing some great party music and the resident poet/country music singer/comedian to entertainment.

His name is Bob Magor alias the chicken man and a devotee of wedge tail eagles with several chicks joining him on stage. Bob does a great verse called Caravanning Bliss, which really takes the mickey out of life on the road.

Daly Waters
Daly Waters

Next morning, as usual, we were the last to leave and back on the road to Katherine.

At Katherine we stopped at the Big Low Level Park, about 5 minutes from the town centre.

Shorts weather at last!

Although it was still getting down to around 4C overnight the days were getting back into the low to mid twenties.

We stopped here for a week and a few days later were joined by Bob and Rhoma, some former work colleagues of Bill and myself and friends of Bill and Carol, who had been to Darwin and were heading west. We will probably catch up with them somewhere in WA.

We paid several visits to the Katherine Springs for a relaxing dip and also had a couple of short dips in the park pool but that was a bit cooler.

On our first visit to the Springs one of the locals advised us that there was a large crocodile on the opposite bank of the nearby Katherine river. We went for a look and sure enough there was a very large, (about 2.5 metres), freshwater crocodile basking on the river bank.

Next day the four of us took a four hour cruise on the Katherine Gorge. The two guides we had were very informative and quite hilarious which really made the tour worthwhile.

They even had the whole boatload of us up to do the chicken dance when another tour boat passed by! When Bob and Rhoma arrived we had a couple of blokes days with a round of golf at the Katherine Country Club and an afternoons fishing on the banks of the Katherine River.

Bill purchased a couple of new barra lures and Bob cut up some fresh meat for bait while I made do with my $20 K- Mart rod and a pink rubber lure. Well Bob managed to supply a turtle with it's afternoon tea and Bill didn't have any luck while I landed my first barramundi. Unfortunately it was only around 35cms and the minimum size is 55cms.

Katherine Katherine Gorge
Katherine Katherine Gorge

We also did a day trip to Edith falls and took the round trip 3km walk. After so long in the outback it is great to see fast flowing freshwater and the Edith Falls is well worth the visit.

Jo and I spotted our first snake on this walk and after carefully taking a photo it was generally agreed that it was a Taipan.

On the Saturday we said farewell to Bob and Rhoma, and headed for Darwin. It had been difficult to get a booking anywhere but we managed to get into Shady Glen which is one of the closest to the city.

After setting up temporarily, as we were both on one site for a couple of nights, we headed off to the Trailer Boat Club for happy hour and to watch our first sunset over the Timor sea.

It was truly spectacular.

Katherine Edith Falls
Katherine Edith Falls

Sunday just happened to be Territory Day and we took a mini-bus ride to the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets where there was also a fireworks display on Fannie Bay and here in the territory you can still purchase fireworks for this one day.

I must say that while the 20 minute display was spectacular it was marred by the public fireworks on the beach which were at times out off control and many rockets were travelling horizontally through the crowd. I'm sure some people would have been injured during the night.

On Monday Jo and I relocated to a nicer spot and Bill Carol packed up and readied for their flight back to Sydney. They spent a week visiting family and friends and their van was put into storage.

Jo and I have had a quiet week leaving most of the sightseeing until they came back. We visited the museum were we spent some time looking at the Cyclone Tracy exhibition. This was of particular` interest for Jo as she was in Darwin at the time when Tracy struck and this is the first time she has been back.

We even tracked down the Don Hotel, (now the Cavanagh), that was the popular haunt in those days.

NT flies the Colours
NT flies the Colours

We also went out to Howard Springs which was a little disappointing as the water currently is not suitable for swimming but we did see some very large Barramundi there.

We have been swimming at Lake Alexandra which is a manmade saltwater lagoon near the foreshore and a great safe swimming hole.

Of course we have been to the Parap markets, Mindil Markets, (twice), Casuarina shopping centre, Palmerston shopping centre and downtown Darwin.

Bill and Carol rejoined us yesterday morning and Barry Cheryl are flying in on Friday for a couple of weeks, so it will be a busy time doing all the things you do in Darwin. The beer can regatta is on next weekend so that will be a fun day out.

When we leave Darwin it will be via Kakadu, back to Katherine then head west.

I will give you an update around then.

Regards Ross, Jo, Bill and Carol

Editor's Note: Also See -



and www.discovertasmania.com.au

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