We are now back in Katherine, stocking up before starting the long drive west to the Bungle Bungles National Park, Wolf Creek Crater (of horror film fame), Broome (for a rest staying in a hotel for four nights), then a very long drive to the western coast and some diving on the Ningaloo Reef (about three weeks away). So far: 4 weeks away, 22 days on the road; 14 campsites; 2 hotels; 4336 kms of road; and 533 litres of diesel.
It is surprising how many people of our age group (respectably mature) there are travelling around Australia in campervans or caravans of various sizes. Many people we meet have locked up their homes and set off for six months – the general pattern seems to be to do the North of Australia during the winter (the dry) and the South during the Summer. Grey nomads abound, sometimes to the less than charitable comments of others on the road.
Caravans and living facilities vary enormously in size and sophistication, Some come equipped with every conceivable facility (including satellite dishes, bathrooms, broadband etc) others come with very little.
this was about the size of a lorry and towed its spare behind. This next one had a satellite dish (cannot travel and be without TV can we!)
Conventional caravans abound
Pat recently was given a tour of a large conventional towed caravan and came back with tales of settees, microwaves, showers, toilets, televisions and even their own washing machine.
as also do the unconventional:
this is a converted bus – the owner just follows the seasons around Australia and says he will do so until he cannot drive anymore
this flat bed truck has a mattress on the back, all of the couple’s possessions are stored in plastic boxes on top of the mattress when on the move and on the ground at night and they travel around as cheaply and simply as possible
no caravan for this couple, just a tent and a car.
and of course, the odd couple living in this van for three months.
We have also met people cycling around Australia, either on their own or in pairs. Their tents and equipment take minimalism to its absolute limit and seem to beat even what I managed when I cycled around Europe in the mid 60’s. I even saw one person who was walking around Australia!
An early morning cruise
We were keen to come closer to Saltwater Crocodiles having seen some docile Freshies earlier and other travellers told us that the Yellow Water cruise at Coinda in the Kakadu National Park was well worth the money and the dawn 6.45 am start (5 am get up).
This assessment was to prove very accurate. No sooner had we set off when a Crocodile was spotted sneaking up on a large File Snake knowing that it had spotted breakfast (some of these pictures are a bit blurred – a combination of poor light and moving targets).
Having spotted the target, it slid through the water without a ripple and grabbed its prey which from that point was doomed
Crocodile jaws exert considerable pressure and the snake stood no chance of escaping.
Resting and digesting
Crocodiles are marked by the Rangers so that they can identify them throughout their lives – they do this by cutting off elements of the tail skin to create a code.
Other animals seen include:
Wild Horses known as Brumbies
Wild Pigs – hated by Australians because of the damage they do
the Azure Kingfisher
The Jabiru bird – a symbol of the area
The Nankeen Night Heron
Plumed and Wandering Ducks
and two birds who names we are seeking to identify.