Thursday - 8th July
Left early and followed the Stuart and Kakadu Highways to Jabiru. Checked into the Kakadu Lodge CP. Very nice park. Grassed sites, plenty of room and lots of shade with a great pool and bar at the centre. Caught up with Bruce and Elaine and we headed off to the East Alligator River. Passed through a few burning off fires along the way, lots of smoke and occasionally big flames. While enjoying a walk through the forest on the river bank we heard a loud splash as a very large crocodile slithered into the water, we then saw a smaller one mid-stream. Continued the walk but a little more watchful. Went back down to the Cahill Crossing, a water crossing into Arnhem Land, and watched the local and tourist anglers fishing for barramundi. The locals were up on the rocks well away from the water, the tourists were fishing from the crossing up to their ankles in water. "Eric" a six metre crocodile, who lives close by, surfaced like a submarine just a few metres away from them and they still let their children play at the waters edge, crazy people. We went back to the park for happy hour at the pool bar and some rest.
Friday - 9th July
Obtained an Arnhem Land entry permit from the Northern Land Council office in Jabiru and headed off for the Injaluk Arts and Craft Centre at Oenpelli. The Alligator River level at Cahill Crossing was fairly low so the drive across into Arnhem Land was not particularly worrying but the drive out to Oenpelli was marvellous, the wetlands hadn't yet dried out, thanks to copious winter rains, and were brilliant green with large expanses of water covered in birds. The rocky crags were spectacular, it's a must see for anyone coming to Kakadu. We bought a basket at Injaluk and watched several ladies sitting under the trees making them. One was pounding bark for dye, another was splitting the palm leaves for the weaving material and another was weaving the baskets. Unfortunately the lady who had made our basket, Edna, was at home and we did not meet her. There were lots of young children around and they were very friendly with huge smiles. The lagoon behind the arts and crafts centre was covered in birds and we were told that it was also home to a large number of crocodiles. We stayed well clear of it. Left Oenpelli and then went back across the river to Ubirr. An easy walk takes in several wonderful rock painting sites then a slightly more strenuous climb took us to a lookout with 360 degree views of Kakadu and Arnhem land. Went back to the CP for a late lunch and a few beers round the pool.
Saturday - 10th July
Went off down to the East Alligator River planning to do the Bardedjilidji walk. Checked out fishing conditions at Cahill Crossing and got talking to some people who said the tidal bore was due, so stayed round to watch it. It never came, they got there times wrong, gave the walk a miss as we were planning to do a few things in the afternoon. Had lunch and headed off down to the Yellow Waters cruise at Cooinda, stopped along the way at the Bowali Visitors Centre and watched a great film of the changing seasons at the top end then stopped for a short visit at the Warradjan Aboriginal Centre before joining our boat at 4:30PM. It was a wonderful cruise, saw an amazing variety of birds from Bee-Eaters to Sea Eagles and also a few immense crocodiles. We came upon one croc just after it caught an egret, and it was shaking its head round breaking the bird up into bite sized pieces. They are enormously powerful. Towards the end of the cruise, as the sun was setting, we stopped the boat to watch a huge flock of different water birds being stalked by a medium sized croc. The birds knew it was there and generally kept a respectful distance as the croc slowly moved among them. Came home and had dinner around the pool at the park. Locally caught barramundi, it was delicious.
Sunday - 11th July
Another great day in Kakadu. We set off earlyish and headed for the Jim Jim Falls area. Our first stop was Twin Falls, we drove over 60k of gravel road that was mainly pretty good because the grader had just been through, stopped at the camp area to get a permit to climb to the top of the falls then set off over some very 4WD tracks. It was great, really put the cruiser through its paces and included a lot of sand driving and a longish water crossing. Arrived at Twin Falls and used the free boat service to shuttle us part way along the gorge to an area were we could walk the rest, the water was very clear and deep and we could see lots of fish. The falls were spectacular, and very cool to stand in the mists splashing off them. We walked and boated back and saw a smallish freshwater croc sunning itself on a log. After loading up with water we headed off on the track up to the top of the falls. It was a pretty strenuous climb, first to the top of the Kakadu escarpment and then back along the gorge edge to the falls. Views were marvellous and it was worth the climb. Headed back down and set course for Jim Jim Falls, more great 4WDing before we arrived at the mouth of the gorge. Had lunch, loaded up with more water and headed in on a moderate walk to the head of the gorge and the falls. Sat on the beach for a while to rest up then climbed across more rocks to the plunge pool. It looked very inviting with the falls dropping off the plateau 150 metres up. Saw a medium freshwater croc laying in a pool against the gorge wall. Three free spirits, who had been swimming "au naturel" in the plunge pool asked us for a lift back to their camp so we all piled back into the cruiser for another few k of sand and stone bouncing. Dropped them off then headed back down the gravel for Jabiru. We saw a couple of dingoes on the way back. Totally buggered, had a shower to wash all the sweat and dust off us then a nice cool beer before barbequing tea. What a great life.
This site was last updated 18-06-07