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An end to the Top End with great experiences, great food, great people as Around Australia caravans head for Western Australia

August 13, 2007
An end to the Top End with great experiences, great food, great people as Around Australia caravans head for Western Australia

Hi Garth,

back in Katherine and about to turn right and head west after completing our tour of the Top End.

When last I wrote a month ago we were awaiting Barry & Cheryl's arrival.

They arrived in the early hours of Saturday and after catching up in the morning we headed off to Fannie Bay races to celebrate Carol's birthday. It was a great day out with mixed results in the betting ring and we then walked to the Trailer Boat Club where we dined and watched another glorious Darwin sunset.

Sunday it was a picnic at East point and a swim in Lake Alexander. Then on to Doctors Gully to watch the fish feeding and Mindil Markets for dinner and another sunset.

On the Monday it was off to Fogg Dam and Windows to the Wetlands, followed by a Jumping Crocodile Cruise on the Adelaide River Queen. There are some big salties in that river!

A refreshment stop at the Humpty Doo Hotel completed the day.

A boys day out next while the girls had some retail therapy. We visited the Air Museum, the War Museum at East Point and the old Qantas Hangar at Parap which houses an interesting collection of cars and machinery.

Berry Springs is next on the agenda and after a relaxing dip in the crystal clear waters we visit Darwin dam and check out Tumbling waters Caravan Park.

That night it was the casino for dinner and a flutter. No one leaves a millionaire but another fun night out.

The pace continues and it's Litchfield Park next and a stop at Batchelor for coffee before heading on to the Magnetic Termite Mounds and then Wangi Falls for a walk and refreshing swim before a picnic lunch. we had to resort to eating under our towels after Jo lost part of her sandwich to a very accurate dive bombing Black Kite!

Jumping Croc Adelaide river
Jumping Croc Adelaide river

Next it was a 4WD journey out to theLost City, an interesting rock formation that does indeed resemble an ancient ruined city.From there it was Florence Falls and a final dip at Buley's Rockhole.

Litchfield in a day!

Mandurah on the ferry from Cullen Bay was next and the spot is impressive but the hotel and resort look like they must have survived Cyclone Tracy but certainly wouldn't survive a fresh breeze now!

The burgers and fish and chips were great however and the beer was cold and it was interesting to watch the tide drop around 2.5 metres in the two hours we were there.

Cullen Bay Marina is interesting too. At first glance it looks like any Gold coast waterway, until you see the lock that maintains the water level as it would be impossible to operate with the 8 metre tidal variations in this part of the world.

Barry, Cheryl, Carol and Bill went on a Darwin sunset cruise with a beautiful seafood dinner. Unfortunately I was suffering from a bit of food poisoning so Jo and had to opt out.

We were staying at Shady Glen just next to the showground where they were setting up for the Darwin Show, and things were getting even noisier than just the planes taking off from the nearby airport,so after Barry and Cheryl reluctantly headed back to the Central Coast we packed up and headed down the road to Tumbling Waters Holiday Park at Berry Springs for a weeks holiday.

Lost City Litchfield
Lost City Litchfield

It is a beautiful little park and we had a spacious grassy area with trees to hang up our hammocks. They got a real workout!

Tumbling Waters has it's own freshwater crocodile enclosure and deckchair cinema twice a week and the hosts Jenny and Darren are the loveliest people that obviously enjoy making you feel welcome.

Regular deliveries of local prawns barramundi and mudcrabs make for some great meals as did the paw paws and other fresh produce that Jenny bought in.

A couple of trips to Berry Springs and a day at the Territory wildlife Park were all a short drive away. Bill and I tried a bit of freshwater fishing with no luck, but a visit to nearby Southport boat ramp was more successful, for Bill anyway.

We covered up with long pants and lots of mossy repellent and picked a spot high up from the water and out of reach from any sea going geckos, as they are known to the locals.

Any way although I got a couple of small ones Bill brought home the dinner with a snapper, a mangrove jack, a jewfish and something with yellow fins which was just as tasty.

Carol and Bill spent a day at the Darwin Show and Carol tripped of to watch the Beer Can regatta which was on later than I had originally thought.

Darren Tumbling Waters boss on the croc walk
Darren Tumbling Waters boss on the croc walk

For those of you who have seen all the sights in Darwin or want a base to see Litchfield spend a week, (or two), with Darren and Jenny, you won't regret it.

Kakadu was next and we opted for one of the national park camp sites at Muirella which was central to what we wanted to see and do there. No power or generators allowed but solar hot water for the showers and ample wood for the barbeque.

A short 4WD trip from the camp is Sandy Billabong, one of the nicest we saw, then it was off to Noulangie to see some of the rock art and the nearby billabong for a walk and some birdwatching.

A visit to Jabiru for some provisions and a cool drink at the sports club before heading back to camp for dinner and a damper for supper cooked in the camp oven, completed the day.

Next day it was another stop at Jabiru to catch up on emails then on up to Ubirr to view more rock art at the wetlands before a stop at the East Alligator river where a medium salty was keeping a watch on a couple fishing. They were also keeping a close eye on it!

Next day it was Cooinda and a Yellow water cruise to view more of the abundant birdlife and several large salties, up to 4 metres!

Park your van here, Tumbling Waters, NT
Park your van here, Tumbling Waters, NT

The air echoed with the sound of shotgun blasts several times while on the cruise, which was the local rangers dispensing with a water buffalo that had been chasing some of the tourists from the lodge.

Next day was a leisurely drive to Pine Creek where we discovered Birdland caravan park which had only reopened a couple of weeks previously.

It is very small in the sense that they will only take 10 vans although they have space for about 30.
So there is always plenty of room in the grassy backyard, with powered sites and water available to top up your tanks.

A swimming pool and barbeque area along with clean bathrooms complete the idyllic park in a quiet part of town.

After unhitching it was off for a drive to check out Copperfield dam and Umbrawarra Gorge. The 25 km drive is on a corrugated dirt road but the gorge is worth the journey. On the way back we stopped at the lookout to view the old opencut gold mine.

Sandy Billabong
Sandy Billabong

Next morning after a stop to visit the railway museum it was southward and Katherine low level park where we are spending another week before following the trail west.

After a short stop at Timber Creek it will be a week or so at Kununurra and the beginning of our Kimberley adventures.


Ross, Jo, Bill Carol

PS Although we have had a great time in Darwin Kakadu we won't miss the mossies and sandflies!

Editor's Note: Also See -


Umbrawarra Gorge
Umbrawarra Gorge
Tumbling Waters seafood Feast
Tumbling Waters seafood Feast
Mud, mud, glorious mud
Mud, mud, glorious mud