Day 66

Tennant Creek – Avon Downs

We travelled for most of today. From Tennant Creek we headed back to Three Ways and then started our eastward journey.

We are continuously surprised by how regularly the landscape changes.  This was our first stop today.

to_avon_downs1How beautiful is that? And what is that near the car you ask?  I’m so glad you asked, Brett especially took a close up of it for you.

to_avon_downs2I did some driving after this rest stop.  Cayley wasn’t happy about that, so made her own steering wheel and did some back seat driving.

to_avon_downs3We’re staying in a free camp spot tonight.  It is an interesting location.  It’s in the middle of nowhere really, I think there is an aboriginal community somewhere not too far away, but there are no signs of it from here.  However there is a police station across the road.  Bizarre.

We’ve had a great time here.  We arrived mid afternoon and had a late lunch.  There weren’t too many other campers here when we arrived, but other people started arriving soon after. Among those who came was another family with children, four kids.  And our three had a wonderful time playing with them.  They made all sorts of things with what they found laying around the camp site… traps for birds and insects, a nest, bow and arrow, and collected wood and other burnables for a fire.

We ate dinner outside in the sunset around the fire.  Lovely.

avon_downs

 

 

Day 65

Tennant Creek

We picked up the money the kids earned collecting containers this morning.  They got $18.80 to split between the three of them.  Not too shabby.

Another photo heavy post today, but when you see things as amazing as this you can’t help but take photos! I’ll do my best to cut it down from the fifty or so I took today.

So, feeling much better today (I’m hoping Brett will guest post about yesterday, seeing as I was out for the count), and we decided we could manage an outing.

Where did we go?  Devil’s Marbles.  Wow.  We all had a lot of fun, me taking photos the kids posing for them.  devils_marbles1

As you’ll see, Elisha was particularly into thinking up things to do with the ‘marbles’.

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devils_marbles5devils_marbles6devils_marbles8devils_marbles7devils_marbles9Here’s Jos, a marble and… of course, a stick!

devils_marbles10And here’s the marble he dubbed – ‘sliced polony’.

devils_marbles11I found a pretty flower too.

devils_marbles12I’m so glad that we decided to come and have a look at the Devil’s Marbles, they are truly an amazing part of creation.  Awe inspiring.

We were going to turn around and go home, but the kids, Elisha in particular convinced us that they really, really wanted to go on to Wycliffe Well.

aliens1It was a little bit different. Unusual.

aliens2I met some strange people there too.

aliens3Some very strange people.

aliens4Wycliffe Well is known as the UFO capital of Australia.  This is the sign welcoming you to ‘town’ (it’s pretty much just a roadhouse and caravan park).

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There were a few other things to see outside the roadhouse…

aliens6aliens7aliens8… and inside the roadhouse (though I got a little camera shy, and I’m also not sure if we looked at everything)

aliens9When we came back outside from the roadhouse the two green men had found a green lady.

aliens10We ducked into the caravan park and dodged the sprinklers to say ‘Hi,’ to Hulk.

aliens11And we spotted Darth Vader too.

aliens12We didn’t see him, but I’ve since heard that Elvis lives here too.

Well, we didn’t see any real live UFOs, but let me tell you this, the fuel prices were out of this world.

aliens13And then it was back to Tennant Creek.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 63

Daly Waters – Tennant Creek

I can’t believe I’m going to post these photos.  They are embarrassing to say the least.  But I’m nothing if not honest.   So here goes.

We’ve become professional dumpster divers.  Okay, not full dumpsters, but bins.  Northern Territory offer a Cash for Containers incentive. And we’ve been encouraging the kids to get the containers for their pocket money.  Each container – glass bottles, cans, plastic drink containers, juice boxes, and small milk cartons.  But of course, most of these are in bins. I wont go through the whole transition but this is what it has become.

Stopping at rest stops and digging in the bins.  And of course if the bins aren’t full then mum has to do the digging because the kids aren’t tall enough.

bins1

bins2

 

Here’s me doing my bit for the kids.

bins3What’s that?  That’s not what you wanted to see?  How about this then?

bins4

 

Then we got all very cleaned up and back on our way.

Stopped at Three Ways for an afternoon snack, they had a very cool mural on the wall.

three_waysYes, we picked up a bit more rubbish too.

Then continued on to our stop for tonight – Tennant Creek.

 

 

Day 62

Katherine – Daly Waters

Wow, we fit a lot in today.  We left Katherine and had our first stop at Bitter Springs in Mataranka.  My, the water was such a gorgeous blue.  Must have been the minerals in it.  Hey guess what, now that we’ve recovered the photos I’ve got a camera back.

bitter_springs1

Although this was a beautiful spot, and the water was warm, it wasn’t the best for kids, as the water was quite deep, and there was a fairly strong current.  Which meant Cayley and Jos couldn’t really play on their own.  Brett was busy.

bitter_springs2This next photo makes Brett and I laugh so much.  I wanted to get a nice shot of Elisha in the water, because he was swimming so well by himself, and having such a great time even with the more difficult conditions.  But he was between two trees, and I was telling him which way to move to get him in just the right spot for the photo.  Then this gentleman behind him gave him rabbit ears.  Elisha had no idea.  He took the ears down before I took the photo, but I asked him to do it again.  It’s particularly funny, because Elisha gives someone rabbit ears nearly every time I try to take a group photo that he is in.  It was even better that he was oblivious.

bitter_springs3From here we went a little way down the road to Mataranka Thermal Pool.  On the way we stopped so I could take some photos of the statues in the park.  They are of characters from the book/movie ‘We Of The Never Never’. Mataranka is where the Elsey station was located. This is Jeannie (the author of the book) and her husband, Aeneas Gunn. I didn’t get the names of any of the other statues as I needed to get back in the car quick smart.

never_never1

never_never2never_never3never_never4

We went to the Mataranka caravan park, the thermal pool is inside the park, but is open to the public who aren’t staying there.  Outside the park is the Elsey homestead.  This house was built for the movie.

never_never5Just the walk to the pool was gorgeous.

mataranka1Once again the water was beautiful, warm and blue.  If I had to pick between Bitter Springs and Mataranka I’d personally go for Bitter Springs, it felt more natural.  But Mataranka was better for the kids as there was less current pulling them, and some shallow areas where even Jos was able to stand.

mataranka2

mataranka3

For me, who wasn’t going in the water again there was gorgeous greenery to give some shade.

mataranka4Everyone hopped out, dripped off a bit, abluted and back into the car to Daly Waters.

daly_waters1daly_waters2We stayed at the pub.  It was a cheap stay, and we even had power.  The pub itself is quite well known.  Here’s a few photos I took.  They’ll show you why.daly_waters3daly_waters4daly_waters5daly_waters6

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And here’s an interesting snippet of information about the Daly Water Pub.

daly_waters8

We parked the van, booked in for dinner and then took a quick stroll over to the old police station and post office.

 

daly_waters9We locked Brett and Jos in,

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but we decided the accommodations really were too nice for them, so we made them come out again.daly_waters11

We had dinner at the pub.  Brett and I had their beef ‘n’ barra special, and it was lovely.  The kids each had a kid’s meal, and they were a decent size. Ther was even free entertainment, though with the kids going to bed we missed most of that.

We did spend a little bit of time before dinner doing some cash for containers scrounging. Earning the kids some pocket money.

Thanks Daly Waters for a great stay.

Day 61

Jabiru, Kakadu – Katherine

You may not believe it, but today we have no photos.  Not one.  Zero.

We left Kakadu and drove back to Katherine, we drove straight through.  Waved as we drove past Pussy Cat Flats.

Once we settled the van at Katherine we went in search of a memory card for the camera and possibly a new point and shoot.  We were successful with the card, but not the camera.

The kids had a quick dip in the pool and we settled in for the night.  Heading off again tomorrow.

So far behind

So I’ve just posted day 63. Keep checking below this post for updates!

Since then we’ve had (and I need to catch up on

64: Tennant Creek
65: Tennant Creek
66: Tennant Creek – Avon Downs
67: Avon Downs – Mount Isa
68: Mount Isa – Cloncurry
69: Cloncurry – Richmond
70: Richmond
71: Richmond
72: Richmond – Near Pentland
73: Near Pentland – Charters Towers
74: Charters Towers
75: Charters Towers
76: Charters Towers – Greenvale
77: Greenvale –
78 – Atherton

I think that’s right!  I will slowly catch up again, but wanted to let you know where we’re at.

Day 60

Jabiru, Kakadu

You’ll be happy to hear I’m sure, that we were not able to fix the memory card on my camera, we need to get a card reader.  And that will have to wait until we get to Katherine.  So just  a few photos today snapped on my phone.

First place to tell you about today is Yellow Water.  We walked out on the board walk and looked at the wildlife.  Not much that I was able to take photos of, but we saw lots of birds, insects, and most excitingly a snake.  Possibly a golden tree snake (though it was in the grass!)

It was very pretty.

yellow_water1yellow_water2yellow_water3yellow_water4Next we went onto Anbangbang billabong.  This was a tough choice as there was also the option of seeing more aboriginal rock art, a more recent work.  But we decided the climb would be too much so late in the day and a walk around the billabong would be more suitable.  And we could still see the rock where the artwork is – Nourlangie.

It was a little freaky at times as there were lots of warning signs saying that crocodiles have been sighted away from the billabong up near the path.  But we didn’t see any crocodiles until right near the end of our walk, and it was in the water.

We did see lots  of birds though.

arnbangbang1A couple of kangaroos.

anbangbang2anbangbang3

And a crocodile.  You can’t see it very clearly, but it is near the egret (white bird).

anbangbang4And here’s a view of Nourlangie.

anbangbang5That’s it for pictures today!  A short and sweet one for a change.

 

 

 

 

Day 59

Jabiru, Kakadu

Today was not a good day for technology!  Argh.  But more about that later.

Our first stop today was Ubirr, where there is lots of rock art and an amazing view too.

I loved looking at all the different rock art… what was even better was that a tour group was just behind (or in front) of us, and we got to hear lots of explanations of what the rock art was about and some of its history.

Something fascinating for me, I guess because it is so different to how I view art, is the aboriginal thinking about the art work. For them the importance and significance was not so much in the leaving behind of pictures and history, as much as the actual act of creating the art.  This can be seen in the fact that there is often layers upon layers of pictures, the old ones being drawn over.

ubirr1

 

These next three pictures go together.  This is Mabuyu.  He’s a hunter.

ubirr2The next two pictures are of his catch.  First some fish.

ubirr3And a long neck turtle.

ubirr4The tale behind these pictures is that Mabuyu’s catch was stolen from him as he was dragging it home. He found the thieves, but they had eaten his food.  When they went into a cave to sleep for the night, he piled stones up to trap them inside.  The moral to this story is don’t steal other people’s food!

This is the main rock art site at Ubirr.  And it’s pretty obvious why it would be a popular location.  Great big overhang provides great shelter.

ubirr5ubirr7And this particular location records some interesting history – the arrival of white man. With his hands in his pockets and his feet hidden in big boots. There is even one picture of a white man smoking a pipe. But I don’t have many photos here, because this is where technology started going haywire.

ubirr6I will admit that this problem was completely user error.  I ran out of room on the memory card, so I deleted some photos.  But I deleted too many.  Oh no!  And now I didn’t want to take any more photos so that I could try to restore those that I’d deleted.

But I still had the small camera, so all was good.

Last year Elisha did some Aboriginal studies at school.  He loved seeing all the things he’d learnt about.  Here he is pointing out some grinding holes.  You can also see where the paint has been ground and mixed.

ubirr8And the crescent shape on this artwork is a man.  He didn’t know what the other symbols were, but remembered that one.

ubirr9And here is some evidence of the thylacine, otherwise known as the Tasmanian Tiger.

ubirr10It was a bizarre feeling to be treading in places that have been used for hundreds of years as a the sometimes home of nomads.

Here is another well used shelter.ubirr11

This spot had a small view of things to come.

ubirr12Some of the art at this shelter is a passing down of traditional laws.  This particular story is of a young girl who broke food taboos by eating Barramundi at the wrong time, and a battle ensued.

ubirr14These are the Namarrgarn sisters, who turned into crocodiles.  Their story teaches children the dangers of crocodiles.

ubirr13If you look carefully at the picture about Barramundi eating you can see the Namarrgarn sisters inside that picture… and you can see part of the other frieze in the close up of the sisters.

Most of the time we were looking at the rock art sites we were walking in rocks and fairly dry bush.  But when we climbed up the lookout, what a spectacular view.  And such a surprise.

ubirr15And then the next technological disaster struck.  Between Brett and myself passing the camera from me to him the strap snagged around my wrist, it fell out of both of our hands and smashed on the rock below.  And broke.  Sob.

Oh well, at least I have my phone (which has magically fixed itself after its swim).  So we were able to get a few more pictures of the view.

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ubirr17ubirr18

 

We clambered down from the look out and took the longer path back to the caravan, past a few more art sites.

This is the rainbow serpent.

ubirr19This photo is mainly just to show how the pictures are protected – it’s pretty simple stuff really – a line of silicone to stop the water dripping over the artwork.

ubirr20The person in this picture is sick with Miyamiya, which causes the bones to swell.  It is a warning about moving sacred rocks near East Alligator River.  I think I read somewhere that a lot of these sites are actually radioactive with uranium, and would indeed have made people sick.

ubirr21This was the first time since hurting my foot that we did much walking.  And I was starting to feel it, especially after climbing up the look out.

We drove over to Cahills Crossing to see the crocs there.  This is a place where traffic is able to cross the river.  The crocodiles hang around here to get the fish as they come through the shallower water.  I can’t believe how many there were.  It wasn’t very easy to get a good photo of what was going on.  The crazy thing was the people standing at the edge of the water on the road fishing!  No way.  You can see someone right on the left edge of the photo… and the huge crocodile watching, waiting.

cahills_crossing

Day 58

Jabiru, Kakadu

A bright and early start this morning… because… it’s someone’s birthday!

birthday_elisha1And the lucky winner is… Elisha!  Yes nine years ago (on the 23rd of July) a beautiful baby boy was born into the world.  And he’s our Elisha.  We love you so much Elisha, and enjoy seeing the wonderful young man God is growing you to be.

birthday_elisha2

How does one celebrate in a caravan in Kakadu?  Simply, very simply.  And he loved it.

Presents before breakfast.  With hugs and kisses of course.

elisha_birthday3We had a pretty chilled out day today.  Didn’t really go anywhere special, just hung around and relaxed.

We made use of the pool.

jabiru_pool

 

The pool was lovely, with a waterfall, a huge beach entrance that Jos was happy to play in by himself because it wasn’t too deep, and all under shade.

There were cupcakes after dinner, and a candle of sorts too.

elisha_birthday4We had a lot of birthday guests today.  When I got the cupcakes out of the storage area under the chair, I discovered that they’d been discovered… by ants.

It took us a while to clean them up enough to be edible, and some were so infested they couldn’t be eaten, but Elisha can say he had hundreds of guests at his ‘party’!

 

 

 

Day 57

Darwin – Jabiru, Kakadu

This morning we arranged a late check out and starting up early ran all over Darwin doing errands involving gas bottles, recycling, cameras, paper and other boring needed to be done stuff.

Then we hitched up and headed towards Kakadu.

There was a fair bit of interesting stuff to see on the way.

Humpty Doo.  What a great name for a place.

humptydooWe even saw a boxing crocodile, but he was hidden mostly behind a fuel truck, so not a good photo.

boxing_crocWe stopped in at the Windows on the Wetland centre on our way to Kakadu.  I’m so glad we did.  It was fairly interactive, and the kids enjoyed the break.

Here they’re learning about footprints.

window_wetlands1We saw a giant mosquito, and also learned that there is a lot more than one type of mozzie in Australia.

window_wetlands2window_wetlands3A lot more!

The Window is also a great look out, and we could see some of the wetland spread out before us.

window_wetlands4In the displays there was a lot of teaching about fire and it’s use in the Northern Territory.  And we got a bit of an idea from the look out that there is fire around.

window_wetland5

 

As we left Window on the Wetlands and moved into Kakadu, to the visitor information centre and out to Jabiru, where we were going to stay, it was even more obvious that fire (control burns) were common.

kakadu_fireI’ve several more photos like this… we passed areas that had been burned, were still smoking or burning all the time.  Not something we’re used to.

The camp grounds are gorgeous.  They are circular, and make an interesting pattern on google maps.  All centred around the pool area.  We were close to the pool, ablutions and in a gorgeous bit of shade.

kakadu_caravanI’m sure we’re going to have some fantastic adventures here.