Day 62 – South Kakadu

We didn’t really have much of an idea of where to go, or what to see in Kakadu National Park. I wanted to see Jim Jim/Twin Falls, and some of the swamplands, but that was about all I knew. The ‘information centre’ just as you enter the park from the south was nothing more than a sign… So, I wasn’t much more enlightened than when I stopped. I was relying on our previous edition of Lonely Planet to gleam any information about what was worth making a detour for, and more importantly, what wasn’t.

Oh, while I remember, Kakadu also has an entry fee of $25/adult for 14 days. We tried to purchase them at the Mary River Roadhouse, but they were out of stock… I tried.

Also, the air conditioning seems to have stopped working yesterday. It’s 34˚, sunny and when we’re on the dusty roads we can’t have the windows down (or have a lung full of dust). Not the best time for it to die… Will really have to see a mechanic in Darwin now.

First detour of the day was Gunlom, also known by the white-fella name of Waterfall Creek. It was a 37km detour from Kakadu Hwy – the first 20km was reasonable unsealed driving, but the last 17km stretch was pretty rough and corrugated. I’d really love to know just how bad these corrugations are for our car…

20130714_RCH_8457 20130714_RCH_8452 20130714_RCH_8464 20130714_RCH_8483

There are two options from the car park – hike up the steep/difficult trail to the lookout/rock pools, or along the easy access to the lower pool. Of course we climbed the steep path to the top! We were hot and sweaty before we started the ascent (thanks to the broken aircon), so by the time we got to the top we were both sweaty messes. Rather fortunate that some beautiful and refreshing plunge pools were waiting for us as a reward.

20130714_RCH_8486The pools were all interesting shapes from the millennia of erosion.

20130714_Gunlom FallsThe other thing that was waiting for us were vistas over South Alligator River valley – NT does big landscapes well.

Sadly, because we’re well within the dry-season, there wasn’t much water flowing over the waterfall. Luckily, because there wasn’t much water flowing we were able to enjoy the rock pools without fear of being flushed over the edge! (100m give or take).

20130714_RCH_8504 20130714_RCH_8519 20130714_RCH_8505 20130714_RCH_8511 20130714_RCH_8503Next deviation was Maguk (or white-fella name of Barramundi Gorge). Again, 10km of rough corrugations from the beautiful, smooth, quiet bitumen on the Kakadu Highway. But, that was only to the car park. To get to the falls/gorge/swimming hole, it was another 15min trek through lush forest and along a river stream. It felt an eternity (the heat didn’t help), but at least the scenery was interesting.

20130714_RCH_8492DCIM101GOPRO DCIM101GOPROMaguk is similar to Edith Falls at first glance – 100m swim across a clear swimming hole to reach a gentle waterfall. These were a little higher than Edith, and the swim was a little shorter. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing the water felt after the heat of the car and the walk. We splashed around, climbed and jumped (naughty), floated, cooled off and relaxed. Strangely, even with all the heat, lying on the flat rocks that were still hot from a day in the sun was really, really enjoyable. If it wasn’t for things like sun burn and skin cancer, I think we would have been there for quite some time.

20130714_RCH_8488 20130714_RCH_8520 20130714_RCH_8521The post-bushfire landscapes are really beautiful. The charred bases of the trees, the dead leaves, the new growth and the lack of grass. I stopped on a few occasions to just photograph and enjoy it. Plus, there were the crazy big ant hills that are always cool.

20130714_RCH_8523But, the day was ending, and that meant we had to find a place to spend the night. Kakadu is full of campgrounds, so we didn’t have to travel far. We stopped at the Mardugal Campground near Cooinda. There are (small and controlled) bushfires happening all over the place, and with all the smoke that is in the air, the sunset had a lovely orange/pink glow (not that we could see much from where we were).

62日目 カカドゥー国立公園 1日目 南部

オーストラリア最大の国立公園でもあり、自然世界遺産と文化的世界遺産でもあるカカドゥー国立公園を今日から数日かけて探検です!

ここもウルルーの国立公園と同じく入場料がかかります。 ここは、14日有効パスのみで1人$25  プラスキャンプ場は、一人$10〜$5と別途かかります。

そういえば昨日から34℃の炎天下の中、なんとデリちゃんのエアコンの調子が悪くエアコンが効かない!!  ここから数週間は、この旅1番暑くなる予定なのに、よりによってここで壊れるかいデリちゃんよ。。。

そんなこんな、まず最初は、Waterfall Creekという場所に。
40分ほどの岩ごつ登山の後、最高のご褒美。 なんと崖のてっぺんは、天然岩のプールになっているのです!  景色も素晴しいし、なんとも汗だくの後ドボーンと水に飛び込むのって何て気持ちがいいのでしょう♥

岩のプールは、いくつかに分かれていて、一番ハジっこは、大きな滝がキャンプ場まで落下しています。今は、乾期なので水量が少なく、ちょっと恐いけど、滝の端まで行って、下を見渡せます。

次は、Barramundi 渓谷。
ここも滝の麓がプールのような池が広がっていて水泳を楽しむことができます。 ここまでたどり着くのに、熱帯雨林のジャングルを通り抜け、大小の岩がゴロゴロしていたり、砂がある非常に歩きにくいトラックを歩ききったご褒美のような美しい場所です。   汗だく後のどぼーーんってこんなに気持ちがいいとは、本当にところだなぁ。。

キャンプ地に行く途中に巨大な蟻塚発見! このあたりの蟻塚はウワサ通りでかい!!
非常に乾燥しているので、小さなブッシュファイヤー(野火)も道路脇に発見しました。

明日は、ジャングルクルーズ。。 いよいよワニ様と対面?!できるかな??

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