We then drove on to Katherine - home of the famous Katherine Gorge. We went to the visitors Centre and booked a canoe as we had heard this was a good way to see the gorge. We drove out to Nitmuluk National Park and booked into the camping ground there. We then headed to the pool for a beer and a swim which was rather nice. We watched the beginnings of a husband and wife team - him on piano and her singing - which was all a bit tacky so we left pretty promptly!
The next morning we headed to the canoe pick-up. It was $80 for the two of us in a double canoe for a full day which worked out cheaper than the boat tours. One thing we weren't too impressed with was the fact they gave no maps or instructions to anything - it was just get in and away you go. The canoes also weren't as comfy as the last ones we were in at Kununurra and we much prefer a single paddle than the double, but hey, beggers can't be choosers!
Glad to be back in a canoe:
We were able to see three of the gorges in the day. The first gorge took about 45 mins to paddle up before reaching a rocky area which was too far to carry the canoe over so we grabbed our gear and carried it to a second canoe waiting on the other side. We then continued up the second gorge which was definately the nicest of the three:
At the end of the second gorge we had to carry (i.e. drag!) the canoe over some rocks. We were specifically told not to drag the canoe but unless you're superman, it's a bit of a struggle!
We continued on for as far as we were allowed to go and had a bit of an explore of the rocks before heading back to a sandy area we had spied on the way down. We had a swim, some lunch and climbed up for a good view:
Then it was time to head back. We passed a croc trap and saw the door was down and there was something in it but on closer inspection we saw it was only a freshie.
We then drove back through Katherine and on to Mataranka which we had been told was a good place with great hot springs. We checked in at the homestead which is right by the thermal pools. But what no-one had told us was the there were tens of thousands of BATS in the trees around us and they stunk!!!
At dusk there was a flurry of movement and they all left the trees where they'd been hanging and flew to whereever they stay the night. Check this out!
We went for a night swim in the springs but didn't really enjoy it with the nasty smell in the air.
The next morning we awoke to the bats returning. We went back to the springs for a daytime swim:
They look quite nice here but I don't know if I'd recommend them to be honest. Unless you like bat wee and poo!
We decided to try some fishing on the Roper River at Walabarr. Dave set off before me and I was busy doing some stuff in the car. When I finally got out I realised I was being stared at and got a hell of a fright:
From here we drove South and we stopped at Larimah for lunch. There was a hilarious pub complete with the Pink Panther:
We drove on to Daly Waters. We stopped at this tree. The plaque said the tree was where the explorer John McDouall Stuart was presumed to have carved his initial when he found the place. So really, it's just a tree. With a nice wee fence around it.
Dave trying to figure out whats so great about a tree:
We then headed to the very famous Daly Waters Pub - an outback pub similar to the one we went to in Williams Creek where the interior is covered with an array of clothing, hats, photo IDs, money etc.
We stayed the night here (reasonable at only $5pp unpowered). We had a few beers (losing twice at "Toss the boss"!), swam in the pool and had a great BBQ beef and barra dinner. Also some great damper, we smuggled a few out to have with jam for breakfast!
Next morning we got back on the road to head for Tennant Creek. We stopped at "The Pebbles" which is a smaller version of "The Devils Marbles" about 100km further south:
We checked out a few things in town and then drove on to the Devil's Marbles - arriving late afternoon which is perfect for the late light on the rocks.
A spider we encountered:
After getting ourselves set up we went for an evening stroll around the rocks. These are pretty amazing and are a little like the Moeraki Boulders in South Island, NZ.
We ended up having a pretty crazy night as the wind picked up somrthing crazy and we ended up packing up the tent at 3am and getting in the car. We found out later that a lot of the red dust blown up from this made its way all the way to Sydney for a red dust storm!
In the morning we went for the same walk to view the rocks with morning light which probably made for better photos: