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Camping- I was a Girl Guide!

Litchfield & Kakadu National Parks.

sunny 34 °C
View RTW Part 2 (Aus/New Z/Cook Islands ... home time) on RosiePony's travel map.

My guidebook says "Kaka don't, Litchfield do!". This is in relation to visiting one over the other if you've not or much time and having now seen both, I'd tend to disagree. Litchfield is small for a National Park and you can drive from the rangers lodge to the main waterfall (Wangi falls) in 20 mins! It's best done as a day trip out of Darwin which we quickly realised after our first attempt at camping there. Horrendously humid, no breeze n me n laura puffing n panting in our discomfort.
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Kakadu is everything I imagined and more. Stunning landscapes, geography, aboriginal art works and big large sameness of scenery when
driving. Lots of wildlife too. And hot hot hot weather despite it being the wet season. Feels like the notorious 'build up' to me, where everyone is just WAITING for it to rain; Katherine, Day 5 (or rather, night) camping...it's clammy. Tonight I've got my tent cover off in the hope of a breeze (insect net still on though). It's 9.53. I'm in bed. This is what my life has become: early mornings and early nights, mosquito repellant (spray and cream), ant bites (they hurt!) and lotsa sun lotion! As well as a contsant stream of sweat... Everywhere!
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Daily camping life goes something like this:
Wake up. Ugh. Bad, hot sweaty nights sleep. Trudge to car aware of insects, get stuff, trudge to bathroom aware of insects. Do bathroom check (if needing toilet: check under the lid and rim for frogs/spiders/mosquitoes. If none then check paper dispenser for spiders and previously mentioned insects. Also check behind the door. If none, then proceed. If not repeat process in new cubicle. If needing shower: check cubicle and behind door for Mosquitos, spiders. If none then proceed with shower. If there are, repeat process in new cubicle.) Brush teeth. Apply sun lotion THEN insect repellant. Trudge back to car (aware of insects but feel hopeful the repellant might work?) to put stuff away, then... Breakast!
Eat breakfast, clean up breakfast stuff. Put contacts in (world looks brighter already). Ready for the day of explorations in hot, sticky, sweaty weather. With flies. Many many flies. They go in your ear, mouth (they try at least), eyes, nose... Face flies are horrid! But still cannot bring self to buy fly net for face. I'd look like a vee keeper. Ridiculous! Seen tour grps with them. Laughted at them then realised significance. Then stared with envy. But still refuse to purchase one. The fan I bought in Cambodia (yep, this is also why my backpack is heavy, despite it being made of palm tree) keeps them away when I can be bothered to use it (glad I brought it now tho).
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So, what can I tell you about kakadu? It's huge. The drive from Darwin was 4 hrs. We looked at the campsite in Ubirr (go on, look it up) but no hot plates on BBQ, only do it yourself fire for which we don't have stuff for :( so we went back to Jabiru and camped there at a lovely place which happened to have a pool! It cost $11 p/p per night for an unpowered site, but it did have good facilities.
After a dip in the pool to cool down we headed back to Ubirr to catch sunset and the rockart that is found there, mainly the different fish and animals aboriginals hunted. The view from the top of the tabletop escarpment was stunning, with a range of habitats, wetlands to bush to forests to stone outcrops. As far as the eye could see. Lush greenness from the first rains. Stunning. Not enough adjectives to describe how it made me feel - this is what I'd come to Australia for and at last I was content to be here, with the outback, nature at my fingertips. A real sense of peace. I wanted more of this.
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After a good nights sleep (sort of, it wasn't as bad as litchfield that's for sure) we headed back to Ubirr to finish off looking at the rock art we didn't have time to see before sunset. Then headed down to noulangie rock where there are several lookouts to see the artwork there, this time more focused on people and tales from the dreamworld. My understanding is that 'creation time' is their 'dreamtime' and spirits came out of dreamtime to make the world, leavin people behind and then went back into dreamtime. The tales told through the art seem like they should have a moral behind them, but dissapointingly they never do, simply an instruction - beware of crocodiles! I can't explain more than that because it's something I need to read up in more...

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Anyway. Have I mentioned flies yet?! There are flies. In abundance in the northern territory. They land on you. On every bit of you. Including you face! Oh yes, I see ihave mentioned them earlier. Well the flies at noulangie rock are persistent, so much so laura had had enough and went back to the car! On my way back to the car who should I see walking towards me but Helen and her boyfriend! Had an exclamatory 'OMG!' moment and cuddle then let them get on their way (their route is the same as mine but over a shorter timescale). Back
to base camp for pool relaxation and an early dinner (fajhitas!) then beddybyes.

The next morning we left the park and headed to Edith falls, on the way to Katherine (which is where Dave, lauras boyfirled is based working). Edith falls is a massive waterhole with a mini waterfall (that still looks really strong) filling it up. Steps go into it but you can't see the bottom and all I could think about were the freshwater cocs that could be lurking in there...agh. BUT i still went in! and survived...
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Then we headed down to Katherine to camp with Dave (he's a good egg, he made us dinner and we had wine so we slept well that night. The next afternoon we headed out to Katherine Gorge. It was baking hot about 4pm and the walk was sweaty going. The Gorge was beautiful but no crocs to be seen...

Ps. Being a girl guide didn't prepare me for any of the above in anyway at all.

Posted by RosiePony 17:47 Archived in Australia Tagged northern backpacking kakadu litchfield territory Comments (0)

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