Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Nitmilik National Park (Katherine Gorge) NT

We spent yesterday doing the rounds of the shops (esp. Op Shops) in Katherine, bought Ruth her own Noodle (floatation device), some groceries and a new camera strap for my camera (actually I couldn't find a suitable one so I bought a dog collar and attached it to the camera with a plastic tie and a plastic twistie tie for safety - it worked well).
Today we arose early and headed out to the Katherine Gorge for our 9am "Timeless Land 3 Gorge Cruise". Actually it's not called Katherine Gorge any longer, it's now reverted to its Aboriginal name of Nitmiluk Gorge and the whole area is the Nitmilik National Park.

Each gorge required a different boat because there were rapids and rocks separating them. So at the end of the 1st Gorge we disembarked and walked about 500 mtrs to the 2nd Gorge and took the boat there to the next set of rapids which was only about 50 mtrs walk to the 3rd Gorge. Each gorge was better and deeper that the one before it. There are actually 16 gorges in all, but the others need to be explored by canoe of on foot (from above).

There are fresh water crocodiles in the gorges but unfortunately we didn't see any. Swimming in the gorge is not allowed yet as they have not determined if all of the salt water crocs have been caught (they come into the gorges during the monsoon when the water is high and flows uninterrupted all of the way down).

We saw rubbish from the high water caught up in the tops of some very high trees and in the 3rd Gorge the guide pointed out a spot way up the side of the canyon wall where the water rises.
Glad we took the boat trip! (Wrecked plane near turnoff to aeroplane tours)
High water mark about 1 metre above top cave.
1st Katherine Gorge
2nd Katherine Gorge
3rd Katherine Gorge

At the end of the 3rd Gorge we all disembarked and took a rough trail to a small high waterfall at a place called the Lily Ponds. The waterfall fell into a large water hole where a lot of us went swimming and had our photos taken under the falls - it was the highlight of the whole trip - we stayed there for about an hour, had some snacks brought along by the guide and regretfully had to leave. The water wasn't cold but cool enough to refresh ourselves from the heat of the day, esp. after the walk there.
Waterfall at Lily Ponds
Bernie having a shower.
Ruth having a shower.
Tomorrow we head for Jabaru and Kakadu!