We departed Jabiru on Wednesday morning and headed toward the Yellow Water area down the Kakadu Highway. We made a short stop on the way at the Kakadu Park Headquarters and the Bowali Visitor Centre. The Centre had audio-visual displays and provided visitors with a great understanding of the Kakadu National Park and the Aboriginal culture within the Park. The 60-minute stop was well worth the effort.
From Bowali we drove a further 60km southwest to Yellow Water region. Yellow Water is part of the South Alligator River floodplain and has one of the Kakadu National Park’s best known landmarks, the Yellow Waters Billabong. While we had taken a sunset cruise on the Corroboree Billabong, we had been advised by a number of travellers that the sunrise cruise on the Yellow Waters Billabong was a ‘must do’. We made the booking, which included breakfast, then went to arrange our accommodation.
We made our home on Wednesday night at Cooinda, a small settlement located near the Billabong but far enough away that ‘crocs’ would not be cruising around our campsite. We were up at 5.30am on Thursday morning to catch the 6.15am transport to the Billabong and our sunrise cruise. Once at the Billabong and on the boat we realised our mistake for the day – we had forgotten to bring our ‘mozzie’ repellent. As day broke, the mozzies started to attack. We were so lucky that another kind traveller lent us her repellent.
We were surprised that the Yellow Waters Billabong was so small. We had only travelled some 600 metres and were in the South Alligator River where the surrounding wetlands provided most of the tour area. This area is the most accessible and beautiful wetland area in northern Australia. When the wet season waters recede in the dry season, the wildlife is concentrated in this one part of the South Alligator floodplain. It was a stunning two hour trip that provided us with a magnificent sunrise, a informative narrative from our guide and best of all, we were able to view a broad variety of wildlife that make the wetlands their home. We had our closest ever encounter with a croc in the wild. While we had the safety of the boat, there was only a metre between us.
When the cruise came to an end we were bussed back to Cooinda and tucked into a hearty breakfast and were well satisfied that our wetland cruise expectations had been met. Overall we have had a great time in the Kakadu National Park and would certainly recommend you take the time to visit if you are up this way.
After breakfast it was back on to the Kakadu Highway and driving southwest towards Pine Creek on the Stuart Highway. We had every intention of staying the night just 2km east of Pine Creek at Pussy Cat Flats. However we arrived there at midday and did not feel like stopping so early in the day so carried on south to Katherine.
We had a quick lunch at Katherine, picked up our coffee pods from Post Shop that had been couriered to us by Nepresso, posted a couple of parcels then drove west on the Victoria Highway to start our west Australia journey.
Our home for Thursday night was a free camp at Limestone Creek, a rest area 58km southwest of Katherine. There was plenty of room and shade and we were joined by about 20 other vans during the afternoon.
This morning was another one of those late starts. We didn’t get away from Limestone Creek until after 10am and it was 150km to our next over night stop at Timber Creek.
It was an easy drive along the Victoria Highway and through the Gregory (or Judbarra) National Park. The Park lies in the transitional zone between the tropical and semi arid regions of the Northern Territory. The standouts for us in the Park were the spectacular soaring red escarpments and we stumbled upon a flock of around 200 black cockatoo that had settled in trees reasonably close to the road. We had seen the odd one or two in our time in the Territory but never a group this big. It was a great sight.
We are now parked up at Timber Creek for the night and will make our way to Lake Argyle tomorrow morning. Once again telephone reception is average up here so if we do not answer, leave a message and we will return your call when we can.