In, on and through the water in the Northern Territory

Friday 01.09.2006

Having fun in the water again ;-)

During the last couple of days we drove off-road from Northern Queensland into the Northern Territory. The trip was rather monotonous except of some river crossings. The highlights of the day were the so called "campgrounds" or the creatures there. At one campground they had a sign posted: "Please turn off the lights. Light attracts mosquitos. Mosquitos attract frogs. Frogs attract snakes and the Flying Doctor is 2 hours away." Being brave and using the toilets in the dark, we encounter dozens of frogs. Help!!!

Recently, we couldn't jump in the water anywhere because of the saltwater crocodiles. Eventhough the Northern Territory has heaps of them too, it's possible to have some fun in the water in Kathrine. Around Katherine various thermal springs can be found. The temperature in and out of the water are about the same, 34-35 degrees. I almost felt like a mermaid after having spent hours in the springs. Now, we feel ready for some action again. We rent a canoe for a whole day to explore the various section of gorges in the Kathrine Gorge. The canoe has to be dragged and carried over rocks and rapids when moving from one gorge into the other. However, the impressive cliffs surrounding us are the reason for doing this and we just love it. Instead of the aggressive saltwater crocodiles Kathrine Gorge is home of the friendlier freshwater crocodiles. Whenever there is no croc-warning signal, we can jump in the refreshing water. Of course, always on your on risk ;-)



Bird parade in the Kakadu National Park

Next stop is the Kakadu National Park. On our way we see several bush fires. Those are rather small fires, which have been lit on purpose. This is to prevent the viscous and uncontrolled fires during the hot season.

The Kakadu National Park is famous for its animals (primarily bird-watching) and the cultural important Aboriginal wall paintings. We take a boat tour to explore the wetlands. Each year, an enormous area is being flooded in the Kakadu. During the dry season the wetlands are reduced in size and all the birds gather in there. Reto and I aren't the typical bird-watchers. However, it is fascinating to have the opportunity to observe thousands of various birds up-close. Among the birds we can also spot some saltwater crocodiles. The males can reach a length of up to 7 meters and gain weight up to 1000 kilos. Uppssss.... we rather take a dip in the swimming pool ;-)

Do we make it or not?

Some of the attractions in the Kakadu require a 4-wheel drive. So do Jim Jim and Twin Falls. On our way to the Twin Falls we come across a tour vehicle which got water into the diesel lines when it crossed the river. Are we sure that our car is able to cross a that river of 1 meter in depth? But, for some reason our "El Coche" is fitted with a snorkel. Brave (or naive) as we are, we drive into the river. We feel like riding a boat. It's gurgling and bubbling and still, one week after, we're trying to locate the several liters of water which we can hear moving in the body of the car. Well, eventually the water will evaporate. At least, that's what we're hoping for.

And still more water in the Litchfield National Park

Once again, in the Kakadu National Park we were only able to look at the water but not to jump in. Therefore, our next stop is Litchfield National Park which is famous for it's running waterfalls even during the dry season. And so, we enjoy dipping from one pool to the next through Lichfield ;-)

For all of you, who are looking forward to read our first mechanical problem report: here it comes: Unfortunately, no photos have been taken since Reto and I were too busy to push our own solutions forward. Of course, I won. Instead of having the flat tyre replaced with a spare tyre, I wanted to fix the flat one. I always wanted to play around with our tyre repair kit. Unfortunately, it didn't work. When we tried to re-inflate the tyre, the fixed hole was still loosing air. Eventually, the tyre had to be replaced as Reto wanted to do right from the beginning. The whole story happened to take place at the temperature of 35 degrees in the shade. And our car wasn't parked in the shade. Therefore, it wasn't the time to take pictures ;-)

Mataranka Thermal Pools

Very nice spot to take a bath in thermal water. Surrounded by palm trees. The water temperature is appx. 34°C.

GPS: 14°54'39.1"S / 133°05'19.7"E


Riverview Camping Katherine

Good camping with access to the thermal-pools.

GPS: 14°29'08.4"S / 132°15'23.3"E


Katherine School of the Air

The school with the largest classroom in the world (appx. 800'000 square kilometers). Based in Katherine the school of the air teaches 250 students in remote places in the Northern Territory using computers and sattelite technology. There are interactive sessions held every week.

The students often live very isolated on cattle farms, mines or in Aboriginal communities. Once a year a teachers flies or drives out to the students.

It is possible to listen-in on a live class-session and to take a tour of the school.


Katherine Gorge

Super-Gorge, where you can rent a kanu for half a day, a full day or two days. It's just too bad, that they don't supply enough watersealed containers for the two-day trip :-(

GPS: 14°18'51.5"S / 132°25'22.5"E


Kakadu National Park

Nice national park with lots of birds and crocs. A 4WD is needed to visit the Twin Falls and Jim Jim Falls.

GPS: 13°18'41.1"S / 132°46'56.1"E
GPS: 13°16'21.7"S / 132°49'43.6"E


Litchfield National Park

National park where you actually can swim. The Wangi Falls are best in the morning. There is a campground right next to the falls.

GPS: 13°07'39.5"S / 130°39'19.0"E