Thursday, May 16, 2013

Kakadu - Gumlom Falls NT

Well today we reached Kakadu - it cost us $25 each just to get in! That was because we weren't Northern Territorians, Politicians, VIP's, Media personnel or Schools Kids on an Educational excursion! I think the Politian's, VIP's & Media could well afford to pay - and why other Aussies have to pay is a bit rich when there are signs here saying how the Federal Govt. is paying for the roads.

A termite skyscraper we saw as we turned off
the Stuart Hwy onto the Kakadu Hwy.

Anyway, we pulled into the Information/Fee Collection Office to pay our money and said we would like to do the 4WD trip to Jim Jim Falls (didn't know you had been up here twice, Jim). "Sorry that road is closed for repairs, but 11 kms up the road there is a turn off to a very pretty place called Gunlom Falls and it's on a 4WD track, just leave your caravan here and we will look after it for you."

So we did, the 4WD road was a good graded road for the first 26 kms and then we hit the real 4WD track for the final 11 kms (David you would be proud of us). It was corrugated, rutted, soft in spots with several wash-outs that had to be negotiated, and I only 'bottomed-out once'. We could see in the trees about a metre or so above the top of the car where the water flow had been, by the debris caught up there.
Water damage to flood sign
When we finally arrived, parts of the car had turned red, due to the dust from the road, but the picnic area was nice and clean with clean toilets and the bottom plunge pool only 200 mtrs down the track. We could see the falls from the car park, but when we got to the pool, I plunged in to cool off and Ruth came in more sedately. There was a nice sandy bottom and we immediately saw several types of fish, some that would have filled two dinner plates (no fishing allowed). They came right up close and because the water is so clear we could see them very clearly. There were also a lot of smaller striped fish which came up real close and nibbled at our feet and the sandfly bites on our legs. Apparently they are after dead skin.

Gumlom Falls and Waterfall Creek
We had lunch and a nice swim and then left to re-negotiate the 4WD track and road and back to pick up our caravan. We are now at the Gogudju Lodge Caravan Park, at Cooinda, about 40 kms south of Jabiru. Tomorrow we have booked a Breakfast boat trip on the Yellow Water Billabong and tributaries of the South Alligator River, so it's another early morning start, then we come back to get our caravan and then on to Jabiru.