NAVITALIM is an anagram of Ivan Milat. This will all make sense later so read on 🙂
Here’s hoping you are reading this. If you are it is Tuesday and it means I am in Litchfield National Park… with Internet connection finally 🙂
Monday started in Katherine. Oppressive heat met us as we opened the hotel door and went to breakfast. I realised the secret is to run from air con to air con and then it’s all good . The manager booked us on a 9 am Two Gorge Nitmiluk cruise . It was about a 20 min drive to the Gorge.
From the point where you wait it’s all trees and the gorge itself is just a glimpse in the background. Walking down the ramp to the boat it’s glory begins to unfold. As we walked the ramp I had my second snake encounter. This time it was a black snake that slithered with no haste , across the path in front of me!
We took our seats and the cruise began. The guide explained the formation of the gorge. The water reflected on the sharp rock faces dancing in colourful hues like a fairyland of lights. The water was green but not that deep n the first gorge. In fact the rocks below we’re visible . I’d say the water was only a few metres deep in parts though the depth of colour in other parts suggested it’s not all shallow.
Along the banks occasional red balls float , not unlike boat floats. However apparently these bright floats are designed to attract any crocodiles that happen to venture into the gorge ( not so common at this time of year ..so they tell us Chomp chomp chomp us ha ha) . They bite the balls as they are apparently inquisitive. This lets the parks and wildlife people note there is a crocodile lurking and a bit about it judging by its bite marks. Saltwater ones are the ones most likely to attack while fresh waters are shy. Like I’m going test this theory by jumping in. canoeists do travel during this season as it is relatively safe. The crocodile traps sit untouched ( as do the pig carcasses within them that act as lure should a croc venture in. )
We had to walk ( I shall dedicate a blog page to suggestions I have for tourism in NT later ha ha ) to the second gorge. It wasn’t that far but at 39C any walk is a long one . The second gorge was deeper in parts. We saw some fish swimming in the water and the walls were stunning in many varying colours. In one section the sandstone was almost white. This is its true colour the other colours are surface changes left by moss and iron reacting with water. The white rock is cleaned by a large whirlpool that whips the sand from the river banks during the wet season when the river is up to 7 metres deeper and spins past this curve. We also head dreamtime stories of the creation of the gorge and explanations for the limited examples of rock art visible on the walls in parts. I really enjoyed this cruise.
All good things come to an end though. We headed back to Katherine for lunch. On the way we stopped in at an Indigenous art gallery and once again Brian had his wallet open. Beware Tim and Ally, the Forbidden Room looks like becoming the Forbidden Art Gallery!!
From there we continued on to Katherine for lunch then headed off in the direction of Litchfield NP. The sky was filled with dark navy storm clouds. Already things didn’t look good. I hate driving on freeways in the rain and here in the Territory the speed limits is 130 kms and the road is full of road trains ( trucks with 4 trailers) and much of the road is single lane…translate to Brian’s dream drive 🙂 So , I try phoning the place in Litchfield where I wanted to stay. It’s no longer school holidays nor a weekend so it’s the slow period now for visitors…the heat also limits the holiday makers. Also we weren’t exactly sure where we would be each day now so decided to book night by night. Phone rang out then went to message bank…’send an email’ it suggests and so I did. Phew we still had Internet connection. Automated email returns…’phone on this number if you need an immediate reply re accommodation . I ring…no answer, try again a little later, still no reply. We are now about 40 minutes from Batchelor ( where I intend us staying tonight as that’s the service town of the park) when I get an email reply….No accommodation tonight! No this can’t be. I had chosen this place back months ago. It looked so romantic and inviting…go on google Rum Jungle Bungalows and you will understand my comment. http://www.rumjunglebungalows.com.au/
OMG!!!! The only other places are camping grounds or caravan parks. I begin hyperventilating coupled with fast speed googling and then it happens….the Internet stops. I am doomed. Of course I rightly blame Brian as I hadn’t chosen to do the Katherine Gorge leg. 🙂 I had intended going straight up to Batchelor yesterday . We are now at Batchelor oh glory we have some internet albeit slow. We stop at the visitors centre. The nearby caravan park has only cabins left without an ensuite…UGHHH NO WAY. I would rather drive on to Darwin, which I hinted to Brian but he feigned a tired expression making me feel bad to even ask him to . So I phoned park after park…same deal. Then one said they had a cabin, with air con, with ensuite but at the price of $120!!!! They obviously knew my predicament. I accepted it and we drove on to the park 11 kms away on the road to the national park. As we saw the caravan park name I instantly knew that This Caravan Park was obviously an anagram in some fashion ( or code for ) NAVITALIM .
I saw the little metal cabins. I hyperventilate more. My vivid imagination expands even more as I’m greeted by this display at the pathway. We enter the reception. Brian is so more cool ( or is it ignorant about stuff like this. ..doesn’t watch and read what I do?) Peter Falconio’s image rushes through my head. Belangalo Forest is etched in my brain. To the left as we drive in a man is digging ( a large hole???) in the garden. We pass a small garden with a somewhat large mound in the middle and lots of flowers…last guests ????? My mind returns to the display at the entrance ( see photo below)
I ask the lady about Internet access..she says there isn’t any much. Inside I shudder ( maybe I even shuddered outside lol) . We look at the cabin ( well Brian did , I wasn’t prepared to turn my back on this lady) . He says it’s fine and pays the money. Inside my head I try desperately to remember the trick Ally told me about passing your legs through your arms when they are tied behind you. She had shown me it was possible when we had read about the Peter Falconio case. Then I remembered it only worked cause she had long arms and skinny legs. I fail on both accounts. OMG . We are the only people staying here bar a caravan with lots of junk around it and a caravan at the back of the park. FREAKY!!!
I sit on the veranda watching the storm brew…evil sounding birds ( or are they moans from a incarcerated human??? ) . Then I realise I have transient Internet and Telstra phone contact so I call Tim and Ally and Facebook them the photo making light of it so as not to alarm them but at least to leave a trace . Then I begin to blog. My Internet stopped again. The lady comes over and says I could use their Internet if I want as there would be no Internet otherwise. I assure her I have Telstra 3G working on my iPad and my phone and tell her I’m sending emails with ease ( wasn’t about to announce I had no connection with the outside world lol) . She says that is odd cause usually people have no phone or net contact. Luckily at that moment a text comes thru from Ally showing my phone is ( was then but not for long lol) working. I laugh and mention how I have just been talking with our family letting them know where we are staying 🙂 I emphasised the contact 🙂
Then we go up to their shop to get dinner. I eat only what is prepacked after tasting my piethat tastes 'odd' . While we are their the lady we spoke with earlier's partner tells us he is making kangaroo jerky ( kangaroo meat???) My mind is now running overtime as you can imagine . He describes how he cuts the meat up, marinates it, dries it then re chops it up . He suggests we eat in the cafe so he can let us try his jerky. Now im sure they are trying to drug us first! I feign heat and the need for air con and hurry back to lock the cabin and us inside. It's dark now and shadows look so much more evil in the dark as do sounds.
Then Brian ventures back to the store for another bottle of coke and of course he returns with some jerky to eat. Luckily he didn't eat it 🙂 . I just looked at the clock and it's only 8 46 pm. I'm so tired but I can't turn my mind off to sleep. It is going to be a very long night I can tell.
This is kangaroo jerky.