A Travellerspoint blog

November 2019

Karratha to Carnarvon

...with side trips to Cossack and Dampier and via Bullara Station

sunny 27 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II & Return to complete the Lap on SteveJD's travel map.

While based in Karratha, we drove along the coast to Cossack. Here there are a few surviving buildings of a once-thriving settlement. Originally it was called Tien Tsin after the barque which landed there in 1863. However, after Governor Weld visited in 1871 aboard HMS Cossack, the town gained its current name. Having quite a good harbour, Cossack provided a point of access for the settlement and development of the Pilbara region, including a gold-rush in the 1870s. There was also a significant pearling industry which attracted a wide variety of different nationalities. The most tangible reminder is the Japanese cemetery and in its heyday, the town had areas know as "Chinatown", "Japtown" and "Malaytown" - not very politically correct! Cossack grew quite quickly over a period of some 40 years but when the pearling industry moved north, the goldfields petered out and the harbour's limitations became more evident, the population shrunk even more quickly. The town staggered on and by the early 1950s, was virtually abandoned. Thankfully, some of the main buildings have been maintained and provide a fascinating insight into life on the coast in the 19th century. (Acknowledgements to the "Emma Withnell Heritage Trail" booklet, produced by the Roebourne Visitor Centre, for this information).

Bonded Store and Customs House

Bonded Store and Customs House

One of the ruined buildings

One of the ruined buildings

437c3510-093d-11ea-831d-0f6b31903fe9.jpgFlowers and shrub, Aerva javanica - a weed apparently

Flowers and shrub, Aerva javanica - a weed apparently

Cossack Cafe, at the rear of the Customs House

Cossack Cafe, at the rear of the Customs House

Thirsty Spinifex Pigeons!

Thirsty Spinifex Pigeons!

The ubiquitous Willie Wagtail

The ubiquitous Willie Wagtail

45ccb4c0-093d-11ea-89a2-b51c670b76fd.jpgPolice Lockup - complete with bushranger!

Police Lockup - complete with bushranger!

Heading out of town, to the coast, we reached Reader Head Lookout which gives great views over Settlers Beach and Jarman Island (named after the captain of the above-mentioned "Tien Tsin") sitting in the Indian Ocean, as well as back along Butcher Inlet towards the township. Near the lookout, is the cemetery in which many of the headstones refer to people who died at very young ages - it was a tough place to settle. On our way back through town, we went up the Tien Tsin Lookout and then down past the old schoolhouse. A cyclone destroyed an earlier building and children had to go by tramway to Roebourne for their schooling

Panoramic view over Settlers Beach

Panoramic view over Settlers Beach

View from the lookout towards Jarman Island

View from the lookout towards Jarman Island

Nankeen Kestrel in flight

Nankeen Kestrel in flight

The little cemetery

The little cemetery

Panoramic view from Tien Tsin Lookout over the township and the land-backed jetty on Butcher Inlet

Panoramic view from Tien Tsin Lookout over the township and the land-backed jetty on Butcher Inlet

The old Schoolhouse

The old Schoolhouse

What is left of one of the trucks used on the tramway to Roebourne

What is left of one of the trucks used on the tramway to Roebourne

We used to have a kelpie cross (courtesy of someone who dropped her, at about 5 weeks old, over our fence in Perth). She was a black and tan and she was the light of our life, so we became great fans of kelpies. Naturally, we had read Louis de Bernieres book "Red Dog", so had to make the pilgrimage to Dampier where they have a statue to this famous peripatetic dog as the town had been the main base for Red Dog's adventures. We had time for a brief stop at the North West Shelf Visitor Centre (natural gas being brought in from the seabed) but unfortunately were too late to visit the wonderful collection of Aboriginal petroglyphs a little further along the Burrup Peninsula.

Dampier was named after William Dampier (1651-1715) who was a colourful character. He had been a buccaneer and a privateer (i.e., a pirate!) before being being given command of HMS Roebuck, in which he explored the north-western coast of WA and then into the islands to the north of Australia. He landed at Shark Bay and collected the first known detailed record of Australian flora and fauna. Unfortunately, the Roebuck became unseaworthy and foundered at Ascension Island when Dampier was attempting to return to England. The wreck was found in 2001 by a team from the Western Australian Maritime Museum. He and his crew were picked up by an East Indiaman after about five weeks and returned to England. On his return to England, Dampier was court-martialled for having his lieutenant jailed in Brazil while on the outward voyage. He was found guilty, his pay was docked and he was dismissed from the Royal Navy. About a year later, he was appointed, as a privateer, to command the St George in order to act against French and Spanish interests during the Spanish War of Succession. He sailed with another ship on which was a seaman by the name of Alexander Selkirk. When he complained about the seaworthiness of his ship, the Cinque Ports, he was marooned for nearly five years before Dampier rescued him. Selkirk's experience is believed to be the basis for Daniel Defoe's story "Robinson Crusoe". Dampier's ship, St George, was eventually abandoned on the coast of Peru and he returned to England in 1707. He made a third circumnavigation 1708-11, still privateering but it seems unlikely that he received his share of the expedition's gains, as he died in 1715, in debt.

Red Dog welcomes visitors to Dampier

Red Dog welcomes visitors to Dampier

20190614_IMG_5644.jpgStatue of what I presume are riggers or drillers

Statue of what I presume are riggers or drillers

The gas burning off can be seen from a great distance

The gas burning off can be seen from a great distance

After our, as usual too short stay, we drove about 458km (via Fortescue River and Nanutarra Roadhouses) to Bullara Station, about half way between Exmouth and Coral Bay. On our way south, we stopped at Miaree Pool where we saw a small colony of Royal Spoonbills and the first Black Swans we have seen on this trip!

Some of the Royal Spoonbills

Some of the Royal Spoonbills

Royal Spoonbills and Black Swans

Royal Spoonbills and Black Swans

Flower of Solanum lasiophyllum

Flower of Solanum lasiophyllum

At Bullara we had a very good cosy hut, set among trees which were filled with birds throughout our stay. There are some good walks on the station and also plenty of opportunity to meet other guests - look out for Pommie John and his delicious damper!

Hale Hut and the Beast MkII

Hale Hut and the Beast MkII

b8630a30-0955-11ea-b68c-d9472465e982.jpgInside our hut

Inside our hut

b7e6ae40-0955-11ea-b68c-d9472465e982.jpgA Grey Shrike-thrush liked our vehicle but looked better in the bush

A Grey Shrike-thrush liked our vehicle but looked better in the bush

Blue-breasted Fairy-wren

Blue-breasted Fairy-wren

A treeful of Zebra Finches

A treeful of Zebra Finches

20190616_IMG_5666.jpgCockatiels finding a roost in the late afternoon

Cockatiels finding a roost in the late afternoon

Juvenile Butcherbird strutting its stuff

Juvenile Butcherbird strutting its stuff

Rainbow Bee-eater with a snack

Rainbow Bee-eater with a snack

The Grey Shrike-thrush came back - obviously the Hilux makes a good perch - or is it vain?!

The Grey Shrike-thrush came back - obviously the Hilux makes a good perch - or is it vain?!

Sunset from our hut

Sunset from our hut

Our original plans had included a cruise out to Ningaloo Reef but, after our dire experience on the Great Barrier Reef a couple of years ago, as this entailed taking a whole day - with a 6am start - we reluctantly decided to remain land-based. Outside the reef the seas were more than a little choppy, so we felt that it was probably a sensible decision. Our hosts had advised us to head for Exmouth rather than Coral Bay, so we took a drive north to Exmouth, stopping to look at the Potshot and Operation Jaywick memorials, just south of the town.

In 1942 the United States Navy established a submarine base under the code name “Operation Potshot”. Extensive facilities were built adjacent to where Learmonth Airforce Base now stands. Although the submarine tenders only stayed in the area for a very short period, the base continued to operate as a refuelling facility. Australian Army, Navy and Airforce personnel operated early warning radar, radio stations, anti-aircraft guns and provided fighter cover for submarines.

The famous Operation Jaywick which attacked shipping in Singapore Harbour departed from Exmouth Gulf. The Japanese bombed the location in 1943. A cyclone in 1945 extensively damaged the base and troops were withdrawn.

Road sign to the memorials

Road sign to the memorials

Potshot Memorial

Potshot Memorial

The scrub was fairly bland and the town did nothing to excite us but we stopped in a beach-side park to have our lunch.

In February 1818, the explorer Phillip Parker King was forced into the gulf now known as Exmouth Gulf. He spent eight days exploring the region and named the gulf after Admiral Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth. It would appear that there was no 'town' here until the US Navy built a submarine base (the above-mentioned Operation Potshot). Even then, the town was not really established, and named after the gulf, until the US Navy established a communications station here. They finally handed control of the station over to Australia in 1999.

Steve enjoying lunch by the sea

Steve enjoying lunch by the sea

A Silver Gull eyeing us hungrily

A Silver Gull eyeing us hungrily

We continued round to Cape Range National Park and enjoyed some bird-watching in Mangrove Bay. We had a pleasant time in the bird hide there but would probably have seen more birds if the water level had been lower. The bay itself was more productive and generally a very worthwhile stop.

df92b540-0957-11ea-9717-790e74b37e6d.jpgA Mangrove Grey Fantail kept us amused

A Mangrove Grey Fantail kept us amused

Eastern Reef Heron

Eastern Reef Heron

Little Egret in flight

Little Egret in flight

Mangrove Bay

Mangrove Bay

59525a10-0959-11ea-b30c-999c05a550d6.jpgWildflowers at Mangrove Bay

Wildflowers at Mangrove Bay

We returned along the coast, stopping at Tantabiddi, where we saw a White-bellied Sea-Eagle on its nest, right in the middle of the car park. A little further north we dropped in at the Jurabi Turtle Centre which was very interesting and must be wonderful to visit during the nesting or hatching seasons. Nearby Vlamingh Head Lighthouse stood tall at the end of the peninsula. As far as I can establish, Phillip Parker King named Vlamingh Head, when he visited the area in 1818, in honour of the Dutch explorer Willem Vlamingh who had visited the area 200 years earlier.

Brown Falcon

Brown Falcon

Rocky coastline near Vlamingh Head

Rocky coastline near Vlamingh Head

Vlamingh Lighthouse

Vlamingh Lighthouse

The Big Prawn in Exmouth

The Big Prawn in Exmouth

In all we spent 4 nights at Bullara, enjoying walks, relaxation, trips out and very good birdwatching. The station covers 250,000 acres in a region known by the local Yingarrda people as punurrba, meaning 'sea breeze'. However, the station was named after a state-owned boat that sailed up the coast in the 1900s. We enjoyed a few more birds near the hut before finally, and reluctantly, leaving.

Juvenile Collared Sparrowhawk

Juvenile Collared Sparrowhawk

Diamond Doves

Diamond Doves

Rufous Whistler

Rufous Whistler

Crested Pigeons

Crested Pigeons

Finally, it was time to leave and head further south to Carnarvon, some 315km, via Coral Bay. The latter is a delightful spot and we wished that we had had an extra day to come here. We could at least have snorkelled in the clear waters over the corals and perhaps seen some of the interesting underwater life there. It looks as if we are going to have to come back - yet again!

Our first view of Coral Bay

Our first view of Coral Bay

Judith with Jet Set at the viewing point

Judith with Jet Set at the viewing point

Jet Set solo at the viewing point

Jet Set solo at the viewing point

Jet Set really enjoyed the sand at Coral Bay

Jet Set really enjoyed the sand at Coral Bay

View over Coral Bay from the viewing point

View over Coral Bay from the viewing point

When we reached our cabin at Norwesta Lifestyle Park (an AirBnB place) only find that it was very compact and had no cooking facilities - far from the "complete flat/house" advertised! We were also not impressed to hear that our neighbours had paid considerably less than we had. We made our feelings known and Michelle, the new owner, was very apologetic and sympathetic. She quickly had the description changed and refunded one night's accommodation, so we felt that we had a fair deal.

The camp kitchen, which was close to our cabin, was brand spanking new with all mod cons. As the park is convenient and the cabin reasonably priced, we would probably still have booked it - but with the knowledge that there would be limitations.

Posted by SteveJD 08:35 Archived in Australia Tagged birds history coral_bay buidlings exmouth carnarvon karratha cossack dampier bullara_station pearling Comments (0)

Karijini National Park to Karratha

...and some cold nights!

sunny 24 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II & Travels with Jet Set in Europe & Return to complete the Lap on SteveJD's travel map.

Karijini National Park (formerly Hamersley Range National Park) is in the Hamersley Ranges of the Pilbara. Karijini means "hilly place" in the local Banyjima tongue. The region is rich in iron ore and consequently there are several large mining operations and the soil is a rich red - or **&&!?? red when the dust creeps through every gap of the vehicle, coating you and your clothes in a red film! The ranges and a gorge were named by explorer F.T. Gregory, after his friend Edward Hamersley, an early settler who had settled very successfully in Perth. The main geological features are banded ironstone formation, dolomite and shale. These have been cut through by rivers which have created spectacular gorges which reveal the layered - and folded - rocks.

On our first full day we visited the sights/sites (either is applicable in this case!) closest to the Eco-Resort, Joffre Falls, Junction and Oxer Lookouts and, a little further away Dales Gorge. Joffre Falls were almost dry but the gorge was stunning with lovely views across the flat landscape to the Eco-Retreat where we stayed. I haven't been able to find the origin of the name but assume that the falls were named after the French General Joseph Joffre who commanded the French forces in WWI and would undoubtedly have been known to Australian soldiers.

Our chariot awaits

Our chariot awaits

large_f31d50f0-ff1d-11e9-afc1-59f8e7b83bbf.jpgTwo viws of Joffre Falls

Two viws of Joffre Falls

The gorge below the falls

The gorge below the falls

People clambering out of, or through, the gorge

People clambering out of, or through, the gorge

View from the top of the falls to the Eco-Retreat

View from the top of the falls to the Eco-Retreat

Bush at the top of the falls

Bush at the top of the falls

Junction Lookout and Oxer Gorge are a short drive away (there are some fabulous walks through the gorges but they would have taken a lot more time - and fitness! - than we had). As the name 'Junction' suggests, these lookouts are situated where the Weano, Hancock and Red Gorges meet, giving an amazing panorama of gorges and cliffs, many of which are covered in spinifex grass and dotted with eucalypts. At Junction Lookout, there is a memorial to Jim Regan who lost his life in flash floods while attempting to rescue a visitor. If you do go into gorges, do remember to be aware of the conditions and think of those who may have to try to rescue you.

Panorama across the spinifex strewn junction

Panorama across the spinifex strewn junction

A closer view of spinifex with eucalypts dotted through

A closer view of spinifex with eucalypts dotted through

View down the gorges

View down the gorges

The memorial to Jim Regan

The memorial to Jim Regan

We had lunch in the Weano Gorge car park and were heading for Hancock Gorge, when a ranger came dashing by. A storm had been forecast and he was rushing to get people out of the gorge before the storm struck. As the storm was imminent, we also abandoned plans to go to Weano Gorge and drove to the other side of the park, to Dales Gorge. The camping ground here is, I think, the only other accommodation site in the park. We parked at the car park for Fortescue Falls and walked down the steps to this pretty set of falls. On our way across the park, we had stopped at the Visitor Centre where a young, and very helpful, Aboriginal woman at the desk had recommended a visit to Fern Pool. On paper this was a more testing walk but we were pleased to negotiate this and find a lovely pool fed by more small waterfalls. There were a couple of hardy souls swimming in the pool - at the bottom of the gorge, the temperature drops and the water must have been icy! We drove back to camp, intending to take some late afternoon photos at Knox Gorge but we found that the road was still closed because of the storm.

Looking back at the stormy weather we escaped from

Looking back at the stormy weather we escaped from

View into Dales Gorge from the steps to the falls

View into Dales Gorge from the steps to the falls

Fortescue Falls from the steps

Fortescue Falls from the steps

Judith on her way down to the falls

Judith on her way down to the falls

Banded ironstone formation with spinifex

Banded ironstone formation with spinifex

Fortescue - there always has to be someone wearing red!

Fortescue - there always has to be someone wearing red!

Pool above Fortescue Falls

Pool above Fortescue Falls

The bands in the rock are much narrower in some places

The bands in the rock are much narrower in some places

Fern Pool with brave folk under the falls

Fern Pool with brave folk under the falls

The waterfalls at Fern Pool

The waterfalls at Fern Pool

Looking up, we could see that the stom had just about passed by

Looking up, we could see that the stom had just about passed by

A solitary fold in banded ironstone

A solitary fold in banded ironstone

On our last day, a trip into Tom Price (WA's highest town at 747 metres above sea level) was necessary as we needed to refuel, ready for departure the next day. On the way we stopped at Mt Bruce (Western Australia's second highest mountain) and clambered up to the lookout (well short of the summit!), from which we could see Marandoo mine site in the distance. A little further on, we came to a sign to RIP Lookout and found an unusual site for people to pay tribute to friends who had died. We dropped into the Visitor Centre at Tom Price to check out the condition of Railway Road as we had hoped to use that to get to Karratha. We were told that for the most part it was "OK" but that the last stretch was in very poor condition and we were recommended to avoid it. We had expected Tom Price to be a rough and ready town, like some other mining towns we have been to in our travels. However, it was quite pleasant and, in hindsight, we would probably have been better staying in a motel here than at the Eco-Retreat, although the latter did provide some lovely night sky viewing which Tom Price could not have come near!

View to Marandoo mine site

View to Marandoo mine site

Part of one of the many, very long, ore trains encountered in the Pilbara

Part of one of the many, very long, ore trains encountered in the Pilbara

Typical terrain around Mt Bruce

Typical terrain around Mt Bruce

large_e7d44550-ff22-11e9-965f-dd42d7e043a0.jpgTwo views on RIP Lookout

Two views on RIP Lookout

From Tom Price we drove to Hamersley Gorge. This is not as deep as some of the other gorges we had seen but the gorge walls were spectacular in colour and form with a lovely pool at the bottom. The walk down into the gorge was again relatively challenging for us in parts and we were glad to have our walking poles with us, for balance if nothing else!

View to the top of the gorge from the start of the walk down

View to the top of the gorge from the start of the walk down

Termite mound, grasses and trees at the start of the walk

Termite mound, grasses and trees at the start of the walk

First clear sight of the incredible folding visible in the rock formations

First clear sight of the incredible folding visible in the rock formations

A closer view of the folds

A closer view of the folds

Lovely tree-fringed pool at the bottom of the gorge

Lovely tree-fringed pool at the bottom of the gorge

The pool squeezes through as the gorge walls narrow

The pool squeezes through as the gorge walls narrow

"Unfolded" bands of rock form a natural slide into the pool

"Unfolded" bands of rock form a natural slide into the pool

Rich colours in the folded banded ironstone

Rich colours in the folded banded ironstone

Steve still needing his net, although flies not quite as bad as in the Red Centre

Steve still needing his net, although flies not quite as bad as in the Red Centre

On the way back to camp, we saw more birds than we had seen in our entire stay. We saw surprisingly little wildlife during our stay and put it down to the dry weather conditions which tend to make animals scatter far and wide in search of food and water. I would love to be able to return in Spring when it must be fabulous with all the wildflowers.

Very red terrain on the way back to camp

Very red terrain on the way back to camp

A tangle of spinifex

A tangle of spinifex

A small shrub gave splashes of orange through the bush

A small shrub gave splashes of orange through the bush

Mulla Mulla flowering along the roadside

Mulla Mulla flowering along the roadside

A Mulla Mulla flowerhead

A Mulla Mulla flowerhead

Our last night in the restaurant in Karijini

Our last night in the restaurant in Karijini

As noted above, instead of taking a more direct route to Karratha, we had to retrace our steps and go via Port Hedland, so a relatively long driving day. We finally reached Karratha where we stayed in a, reasonably priced, 'de luxe' studio at Discovery Parks. This was lovely accommodation, even having our own washing machine rather than the usual communal, and often heavily used, machines in other places.

Pilbara landscape on our way to Karratha

Pilbara landscape on our way to Karratha

One of the larger road trains we met with

One of the larger road trains we met with

Posted by SteveJD 15:30 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls trees rocks western_australia gorges grasses karijini_national_park spinifex Comments (0)

Kakadu to Darwin

...with one or two side trips

sunny 37 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II & Return to complete the Lap on SteveJD's travel map.

The name, Kakadu, comes from the mispronunciation of "Gagudju" which is the name of an Aboriginal language spoken in the northern part of the Park.

On our first full day in Cooinda, (this is an Aboriginal word meaning 'happy place' (cooinda.net.au), we had booked on the Yellow Waters Cruise which was excellent, with our knowledgeable guide, Dennis, making it all the more enjoyable. If I listed everything that we saw, I would need another book, let alone a blog. I hope our pictures will tell the story. Dennis was part Aboriginal and part New Zealander so had some interesting and amusing views which he shared with us.

Sunrise over the South Alligator River

Sunrise over the South Alligator River

Saltwater Crocodile

Saltwater Crocodile

20190513_IMG_4724.jpgPandanus palms and a similar cruise boat to ours

Pandanus palms and a similar cruise boat to ours

77d067b0-9187-11e9-bdd6-41f42623f2b8.jpgNankeen Night Heron and Plumed Whistling Ducks (well-named!)

Nankeen Night Heron and Plumed Whistling Ducks (well-named!)

773f2430-9187-11e9-bdd6-41f42623f2b8.jpgWater lily and crocodile nest

Water lily and crocodile nest

White-bellied Sea-eagle

White-bellied Sea-eagle

20190513_IMG_4760.jpgComb-crested Jacana and chicks

Comb-crested Jacana and chicks

73f158c0-9187-11e9-b08e-ab34f523e853.jpgAustralasian Darter perched and in the act of diving

Australasian Darter perched and in the act of diving

Magpie Goose on nest

Magpie Goose on nest

Freshwater Crocodile

Freshwater Crocodile

Forest Kingfisher

Forest Kingfisher

20190513_IMG_4788.jpgAustralian Pelican on approach and splashdown

Australian Pelican on approach and splashdown

We returned from the cruise for an excellent breakfast (included in the cruise package) and then, with the company of a Gilbert's Dragon, relaxed for the rest of the morning before taking a drive out to Nourlangie where we saw some fascinating Aboriginal rock art. According to Wikipedia, "Europeans were first in the area of Noulangie Rock in about 1845, after Ludwig Leichhardt’s explorations passed through the area. By the 1880s, European buffalo and buffalo shooters had moved into the area, and local Traditional Owners joined their shooting parties. Traditional Owners told the buffalo shooters about the Dreaming stories at Burrungui and the many names of all the natural features of the landscapes. Chaloupka argues that the Europeans couldn’t remember all of the names, and called ‘Nourlangie’, a confused pronunciation of the name of the area generally called ‘Nawulandja’". This is the first I have heard of European buffalo in Australia but who am I to doubt Wikipedia?!

Gilbert's Dragon

Gilbert's Dragon

20190513_IMG_4806.jpgTwo styles of kangaroo paintings

Two styles of kangaroo paintings

7433ab80-9290-11e9-8901-91a2f9f6fab3.jpgPaintings to illustrate a story and information board about this story

Paintings to illustrate a story and information board about this story

73f08800-9290-11e9-8901-91a2f9f6fab3.jpgA strange figure and a basic figure with hand stencil

A strange figure and a basic figure with hand stencil

Both that afternoon and the following morning (after sharing our breakfast with a Pied Heron) we visited Anbangbang Billabong, near Nourlangie, as this had been recommended as a good place for birds. There was a good variety of waterbirds but had great difficulty with the light at the times of our visits.

Anbangbang Billabong

Anbangbang Billabong

Wandering Whistling Ducks and Magpie Geese

Wandering Whistling Ducks and Magpie Geese

You have been warned!

You have been warned!

We moved on a short distance to stay at Jabiru from where we visited Mamukala Wetlands which was a great area for both birds and butterflies.

Monarch butterflies

Monarch butterflies

Black and White Tiger butterflies

Black and White Tiger butterflies

Fruit of pandanus palm

Fruit of pandanus palm

Intermediate Egret

Intermediate Egret

Comb-crested Jacana chick

Comb-crested Jacana chick

Peaceful Dove

Peaceful Dove

Jabiru is named after the stork which is common in the area but the name originates from a similar South American bird. The South American stork has an inflatable neck bladder, unlike its Australian counterpart and its Brazilian name means 'blown out with with the wind', referring to this inflatable bladder!

On our last afternoon in Kakadu, we drove to Ubirr where there were some very different and interesting examples of Aboriginal art. We climbed to the top (almost!) of the rock from where we had sweeping views over the Nadab floodplain. The sunset would have been magnificent from there but we felt that we should do the rock scramble down while it was still light.

Interesting depiction of a person - hunting?

Interesting depiction of a person - hunting?

Various fishes - very detailed

Various fishes - very detailed

Steve looking up at some of the paintings

Steve looking up at some of the paintings

A Lined Fire-tailed Skink

A Lined Fire-tailed Skink

Thought to depict a Thylacine (Tasmanina Tiger, now extinct)

Thought to depict a Thylacine (Tasmanina Tiger, now extinct)

Mimi figures - some Aborigines believe these Mimi people pulled the roof of the cave down, painted their pictures and then put the rock back in place

Mimi figures - some Aborigines believe these Mimi people pulled the roof of the cave down, painted their pictures and then put the rock back in place

Steve looking out over the Nadab floodplain

Steve looking out over the Nadab floodplain

The Sun getting lower through smoky haze

The Sun getting lower through smoky haze

Judith wondering what Steve is up to!

Judith wondering what Steve is up to!

Generally, I have been able to find the meanings of place names but most of the places mentioned above seem to be just the names of places with no apparent meaning. I am sure there are Aborigines who could explain a meaning but even one official site was even now, still seeking a meaning for the name Mamukala.

On our way to Darwin (253km plus our detours), we stopped again at Mamukala and were again rewarded with good sightings, including a Brown Goshawk perched above the car park, devouring a lizard of some sort.

Our cabin at Jabiru in Kakadu

Our cabin at Jabiru in Kakadu

Intermediate Egret

Intermediate Egret

Blue water lily

Blue water lily

Comb-crested Jacana

Comb-crested Jacana

Brown Falcon ripping into its prey

Brown Falcon ripping into its prey

Brown Falcon - replete!

Brown Falcon - replete!

A short way along the road, we spotted a very scrawny Dingo - our first ever sighting.

large_20190516_IMG_4928.jpglarge_b8f5dcc0-95c4-11e9-9eec-bba98a3af2ad.jpg

We stopped again at South Alligator River where we had a coffee break while admiring a couple of Osprey. Not much further on (we do travel slowly when we can!), we stopped at some wetlands which were teeming with water birds of various sorts.

Black-winged Stilt

Black-winged Stilt

Pied Heron

Pied Heron

Not far from the park entrance, there was a sign to the Window on the Wetlands Centre, on the Adelaide River. Here we had to walk up a steep ascent (no wheelchair access here!) to the centre which was very interesting but, cruelly, their ice cream kiosk was unmanned! The temptation to take one and leave the cash was great but we were brave and made do with water!

We then drove on and stopped at Fogg Dam which is a wonderful place for birds, not far from Darwin. Having enjoyed the open wetlands areas, we decided to take a short walk (time was running away from us) in the monsoon forest. Other than huge spiders and squadrons of mossies, we were not as well rewarded here and we hoped to return at a better time of day. Sadly, the return visit was not possible.

Black Kite with prey

Black Kite with prey

Ibis and Egrets take to the air

Ibis and Egrets take to the air

Intermediate Egret thinking it is a Jacana!

Intermediate Egret thinking it is a Jacana!

Jabiru strolling by in stately fashion

Jabiru strolling by in stately fashion

White-bellied Sea-eagle in flight

White-bellied Sea-eagle in flight

Boardwalk through part of the monsoon forest area

Boardwalk through part of the monsoon forest area

Golden Orb Spider

Golden Orb Spider

White-breasted Gerygone

White-breasted Gerygone

We found Big 4 Howard Springs Holiday Park on the southern outskirts of the city, where we had a very comfortable cabin.

Parked outside the cabin

Parked outside the cabin

As our laptop had again be playing up, we decided to play safe and get a backup/replacement, so some time was taken finding a computer shop and then looking at the various options. In the end, we bought a neat little Acer which was exactly what we wanted in 2017 - it is smaller than our Dell, has masses more disk space and all the USB ports we needed - progress! As the Dell is limping along, Judith has laid claim to the Acer.

Having sorted our computer needs out, we then visited the Howard Springs Nature Reserve which is a lovely place just down the track from where we are staying. The main pool has a variety of, mainly quite large, fish and some turtles and then there are various walks into the forest area. A really great place for families to bring kids to play and for adults to generally unwind.

As the day was running out, we then drove into Darwin to take sunsets from the Esplanade before enjoying a meal of threadfish salmon - we had never heard of this before but it was delicious.

The "Streeter" crossing the bay as the sun lowers

The "Streeter" crossing the bay as the sun lowers

Sunset from the Esplanade

Sunset from the Esplanade

Sunset from the Esplanade

Sunset from the Esplanade

Darwin, or more correctly Port Darwin, was named by Captain J.C. Wickham, when he was exploring the coast in 1839 aboard the HMS Beagle, after Charles Darwin who had sailed on the HMS Beagle earlier. The name was changed in 1869 to Palmerston but then changed back to Darwin in 1911 (Aussie Towns).

We had, as usual, not allowed enough time in Darwin and most of the last day there was spent visiting the excellent Military Museum. A fairly small but very good indoor exhibition and extensive grounds with outdoor exhibits of vehicles and some of the huge guns used for Darwin's defence as well as other buildings containing artefacts from various wars.

Parked in one place too long?

Parked in one place too long?

One of the defences for Darwin

One of the defences for Darwin

The day was slightly marred by the beginnings of a bout of gastro-enteritis but we went towards Mindil Beach but it seems there was an event on so other than Judith having to undergo a Random Breath Test, we didn't even get close. Instead, we chose to go to the Waterfront which is a very smart area now. A Japanese four-master was in dock, we spotted a few interesting birds and the whole place looked great for drinking, dining, swimming and generally having fun. This, all too soon, brought our visit to Darwin to a close.

Japanese four-master in port

Japanese four-master in port

Some of the new apartments by the water

Some of the new apartments by the water

Fun and games in the large swimming area by the apartments

Fun and games in the large swimming area by the apartments

Wind-ruffled woodswallows

Wind-ruffled woodswallows

Having arrived in Darwin, we have reached the end of the part of our trip following Stuart and the following describes his coverage of this last stretch and the aftermath - Stuart and his party continued north carefully and Stuart named the Strangeways River before reaching the Roper River which had been discovered by Ludwig Leichardt. He was again in known territory and set his sights on reaching the Adelaide Rivers, some 320km northwest. On the way he named tributaries of this river, Priscilla Creek, Elle Creek and Anna Creek. Further on they were following Thring Creek when he realised that
they had reached the Indian Ocean. It is hardly surprising that the highway from Port August to Darwin is called the Stuart Highway. The Overland Telegraph was in due course constructed. Stuart was awarded £2,000 for opening the overland route and other members of his party were rewarded for their efforts. Not long after Stuart's return, Chambers died and Finke was ill. Stuart's hair had turned white, he was almost blind and his health had been severely affected. He returned to his native Scotland, to his sister and they both moved to London. In 1858 the Royal Geographical Society had awarded him a gold watch in recognition of his achievements and in 1860 the Society awarded him the Patron's medal (before him, only David
Livingstone had twice been honoured by the Society).

Posted by SteveJD 12:13 Archived in Australia Tagged birds darwin kakadu ubirr nourlangie jabiru cooinda mamukala fogg-dam Comments (3)

(Entries 1 - 3 of 3) Page [1]