Sunday, May 09, 2004

A One Year Anniversary in Katherine

On the way to Katherine there is a beautiful spot called Edith Falls. We nearly didn’t stop there but we were tired of driving for the day and thought we would take advantage of an early end to the day. We were delighted that we did. The lovely Edith Falls empty into a clear deep pool about 400 metres across. It was the perfect spot for a cooling swim and some relaxation.

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Edith Falls near dusk time

The campground itself was also a pleasant surprise. That night we set up our tents on lush green grass rather than hard packed dirt.

The third and perhaps most agreeable surprise was the lack of mosquitoes. I can’t be sure but I suspect this was a result of the ubiquitous toads that we encountered everywhere at the campground. Perhaps these large green creatures had managed to consume all the mozzies in the area. Regardless, I was not complaining. We sat around that evening enjoying wine from a box while Erin taught us Mau. Taught not exactly being the correct word since the idea of the game is that new players have to figure out the rules for themselves and new ones are made up all the time. Definitely good for some laughs.

The next day we completed the drive into Katherine. We spent some time wandering around the town, stocking up at the shopping centre and checking our email. We decided not to stay out at the gorge itself because the campground was crowded and overpriced. Instead we stay at Springvale campground a quiet spot on the other side of Katherine.

We shared out campground the next couple of nights with two ducks that we nicknamed Toast and Quackers. They wandered around everywhere together mostly looking to steal any of our food that might hit the ground. Well any food except tofu. Apparently the ducks were not fans of chewy soy products.

The other creatures sharing our campground were a family of wallabies. At one point around dusk I managed to count ten at the neighbouring campsite. I was amazed as I watched them. When I came to Australia I imagined marsupials of all sorts to be rare exotic creatures that I would only have the chance to see in zoos. After a year in Australia I had seen dozens of wallabies and kangaroos but it didn’t make spotting them in the wild any less thrilling.

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A small wallaby obviously unfazed by photographers

I came to Katherine gorge to canoe beneath the imposing cliffs so that is just what we did. Kirsten and Robyn in one bright yellow canoe, Erin and I in the other.

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Beautiful Katherine Gorge

The attendant at the rental shop directed us to look for the stream at the top of the first section of the river. From there we could dock our boats and hike into some waterfalls. Apparently, it would be obvious where to stop based on ‘distinct change in vegetation’. Since no one from Team Reak was an ecologist this was not so obvious to us. Instead we took our cue from the half a dozen other bright yellow canoes.

The pools themselves were crowded and with only parts being in the sun real estate was at a premium. But we lounged long enough for our arms to get a second wind.

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Post waterfall swim….Go Team Reak

We stayed a little too long at the waterfalls and then taking pics of the gorge and had to boot it back to return the boats on time. Along the way tourists from the vast 100 seater tour boats were taking our pictures. I guess we must have looked very striking paddling along in our bright canoes decked out in sexy life jackets.

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Lifejacket yellow is so my colour

While in Katherine, Kirsten and I celebrated our one year anniversary of travelling!

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