I slept today longer than the other day and was wakening up through my iPhone. I wondered in the first moment, because who in the hell would call me in Australia, but then I remembered myself that I gave my number the nice guy with Dutch migration background from the Central Car Rental Office in the Hartfield Street where I have booked my car for my second tour in the outback. And his nicely voice told me that my car was ready for pick up.
After having a fruit salad, a sandwich and a coffee for breakfast I went to central car rental to pick up my 4wd which I have booked yesterday. I was little bit exited because of two reasons: at first I have never driven a 4wd, and at second the nice guy with the Dutch migration background should explain how I should drive a 4wd. And he did it excellently. I think he was wondering about me and he recognised my uncertainty a little bit. But he was dealing with it wonderful and asked me wether I need a container of 20 litre of water. My reflexes were reacting instantly. I said only yes, yes, yes. Maybe I read maybe to much travel guides in advance, but in every stood that water is important in the outback. I bought 12 1,5 litre bottles in the super market too. I thought later that it was too much maybe. But so am I.
So after 12 o'clock the car took me out of Alice spring in a southern direction on the Larapinta Highway to my next stop the Simpsons Gap.
I wanted to go there because the tour guide from the last tour told me that there should be a lot of wallabies. The Simpsons Gap is one of a beautiful landmark in the MacDonnel Ranges.
Wether I didn't see any wallabies there in the noon, the gap between the two steep rocks with the waterhole on the grounds was really beautiful. Because It is the home of a lot of birds
and insects like dragonflies
After that I dived in the beautiful valley of the MacDonnel Ranges, which was covered with small mountain crests and green hassocks like small hedgehogs and a wide variety of bushes I arrived Standley Chasm. There was a campsite and a bistro at the end of the street. And the Stanley Chasm trail for what you have to pay for. After a short explanation of the trail from the waitress who made me cappuccino, I decided it to do the walk.
And it was it worth it.
Beside the trail were a few Cyad palm trees, which should be one of the oldest palm tree in the world.
The trail guides to a typical valley in the MacDonnel Ranges ended in a tight gorge.
Afterwards I achieved a really amazing look out which was recommend to me from the nice Dutch guy in the car rental office in the afternoon. I was so impressed from the afternoon light and the different color shades of green that I couldn't hesitate to make a photo.
Now was it time to reach Glen Helen to get an accommodation for the night.
Arrived there I booked a low budget accommodation in the Bank House. It was very simple, but for one night enough. The staff in the Glen Helen Ressort was very friendly and I booked a dinner, for what the Glen Helen Ressort is well known.
But before that I wanted to take wonderful capture of the amazing landscape in the warm sunset light.
So I set myself in the car and drove the street against the setting sun.
And then I found a spot I have recognised already when we were going this street in the opposite direction in the tour with the group. But in this time I could decide when I want to stop.
The spot was really beautiful.
Lowlands with rock fragments in the foreground ranged itself in the deepness of the landscape to majestic brown shaded mountains covered with trails green an yellow bushes and hassocks in a warm sunsetting light.
I was really happy to find my spot
so that the absolutely delicious Dinner at Glen Helen was tasting wonderful. And finally I am sitting now in a comfortable chair and listening to the Barry Skypseys Red Center Show on a guitar who is singing old Australian country songs, the right final for this wonderful day.
I let wake me up through my alarm clock before sunrise, because I wanted to make some captures form the rising sun in the MacDonnel Ranges.
After that i had a small but sufficient breakfast in the resort. So the day could start with hopefully a lot of beautiful experiences. And the upcoming day should bring a lot of unexpected things, I had ever experienced in my life.
So I started my daily journey approximately at 9.00 o'clock in a western direction on the Namatjira Drive along the beautiful lightened Mt Sonder until my next break a look out to the Gosses Bluff.
Gosses Bluff (Gosse's Bluff) is thought to be the eroded remnant of an impact crater. The original crater rim has been estimated at about 22 km (14 mi) in diameter, but this has been eroded away. The 5 km (3.1 mi) diameter, 180 m (590 ft) high crater-like feature,now exposed, is interpreted as the eroded relic of the crater's central uplift.
After the break It went further over at least 80 km unsealed and dirty Larapinta Drive to the Palm Valley.
It was a real adventure for me to travel with a 4wd with 80 km/h across seemingly endless red dirt streets. And I have to say it was real fun to me. But I didn't know at this time that this first experience wasn't the definition of 4wd driving. ;-)
After a couple of time I arrived the side road which should lead me to the Finke National Park with the famous Palm Valley. I knew that the road to the Palm Valley was a dirt road too, but I had never imagined what kind of.
So after a trip over sandy roads which changed with stony roads often and which crossed the dried-out Finke river more then once, I arrived the Finke National Park and the entry of the Palm Valley in around one hour. As I have arrived the Palm Valley it was around 9 o'clock but it was really hot again.
But what my eyes could see was very impressive to me.
I was climbing the Kalarranga Lookout at first and had a great view across the mountain chain and hills in every direction.
For instance to the Mpaara rocks, or to the Campground in the valley or to the entry of the valley.
On the top of the lookout i met a couple, who seemed tobe from Germany too, because one of the camper in the carpark had a german label on the car.
I was wondering a little bit, because i was asking myself how they get their car to Australia. So I asked the couple from who I guessed that they were from Germany. And they told me, that they shipped their car to Australia and that the are traveling through Australia for 8 months.
I was a little bit jealous with my seven weeks. But they told me, that it should be only 4 km to the valley with the ancient palms which has survived her in this arid clime because of the special geology here. So I thought 4 km isn't far away. I will do it too.
But this trip was my exam in 4wd driving. It went across large rocks which i could take only with step speed, followed by real sandy roads, followed by large rocks in dried-out river beds again.
Whether i was driving very slowly depending from the road situation I was whipsawed by my car heavily.
So that I was thinking to turn around. But unfortunately there wasn't a chance because the road didn't offer to turn around.
So I had to go straight forward. But at the end I reached my goal safe and sound. And i was really happy that i did it for my own. And the goal was it worth.
The Valley is really beautiful and it is the only place in Central Australia where Red Cabbage Palms (Livistona mariae) survive.
After enjoying the valley and a short picnic in the picnic area I went back in the direction to Alice Springs but with a break in Simpsons Gap again to watch Wallabies hopefully in the afternoon.
When I have arrived Simpsons Gap again, there was already a tour group there. And I was getting a littrle bit annoyed becauseI thought when so much people will be in the gap the wallabies won't show themselves. But it was my luck that the group was there.
Then the ranger or tour guide was recognizing me with my professional equipment and my large zoom objective and gave me tipps where the wallabies were.
So I had a nice small talk with him and i was happy that i had seen wallabies and i did a few nice captures of them.
So I went happily out the Simpson Gap in a wonderful afternoon light
and went back to Alice Springs with 2 days full of new experiences.
After I returned the 4WD to the car rental service, where I had i nice talk about my first adventure in a 4WD with the owner of the local service, I decided to visit the Old Telegraph Station, which Alice Springs owes his existence.
The owner showed me the way to get there. And how it seemed on the map it shouldn't a long way then the station was located a little bit outside of the city. But I had miscalculated myself a little bit, then at first the way took longer as I though and to the second it was very hot this day too and there wasn't no shady way. So I was thinking already to return, because i had not much water with me. But as I reached the first sign of the Telegraph Station I decided to go further.
And the visit of the station was it worth whether it was really hot this day.
In the late 1800s the Adelaide to Darwin overland Telegraph line was established to bridge the isolation and communication gap between Australian towns and cities as well as Australia with other countries.
The Telegraph Station was the first site of European settlement in Alice Springs where it was in service for 60 years before becoming a school for indigenous children.
The telegraph line played a pivotal role in Australias history and with 12 stations along the line, the Alice Springs Station is the most well preserved of them all.
The Telegraph Station became the centre of activity in the area and gradually outbuildings were added. These included policemen's quarters, harness and buggy sheds, a Stationmasters residence, a battery room, blacksmith's shop and a kitchen-mess room.
Like the original Telegraph Station these were all built with local stone and lime mortar. They had thatched rooves which were later replaced with galvanised iron.
The Telegraph Station operated 24 hours a day and was one of 11 along the 3,000 km line, It was basically self-sufficient, relying on provisions from the south only once a year. Sheep, goats, cattle and their own vegetable garden ensured adequate food and the blacksmith made much of their equipment.
The first Stationmaster was Johannes Mueller (1872-1879), other staff consisted of 4 telegraphist-linesmen, a teacher-governess, a cook, and a stockman-blacksmith.
The station operated until 1932 when more modern facilities were established in the new township of Stuart, at the corner of Railway Terrace and Parsons Street.
This facility has also been replaced by the modern Post Office in Hartley Street and the Telecommunications Centre at the corner of Bath Street and Parsons Street.
This was waiting day, because my train departured on 6 o'clock first. So I was hanging around the whole day in Alice Secrets Hostel, talked with two guys from Germany who has arrived this Alice Spring the day before yesterday from Sydney. One of the guy was a clerk and he has canceled his job because it was to boring. They met each other in Sydney and decided to go together toi Alice Springs to find a job here. So they brought a car in Sydney together. But on the half way to Alice Springs the engine exploded midway through the outback. They had luck because the next settled place was onle 4 km far away. The reason was that the engine hasn't got enough oil. So somebody gave them a lift to Alice Springs. It was funny to hear the story which was really an adventure.
So on 6 o'clock my shuttle picked me up and brought me to the train, which was standing on the station already. I had to check in like on an airport. But my luggage was to heavy, so i had to put a part of them in another bag.
After this i went to my carriage which was K6. The carriage has got a windy aisle, and on both side of it were the Gold Service Single cabins with all comfort you can imagine.
Shortly after my arrival in my cabin, the stewardess gave me all advices for a relaxed and comfortable journey. Ask me whether i would like to have a coffee in the morning before breakfast, about the dinner, breakfast and lunch times and so on. I felt very comfortable quickly.
As the train left Alice Springs slowly it was time to have a drink in the lounge carriage on the bar.
In a few minutes I reached the lounge carriage. and I wondered then the lounge was pretty busy already and filled with older couples and people. I had to laugh a little bit in my own.
The drinks except hard liquor were free. So I had there two Pale Ale was chatting with some older guys and felt myself really good.
For dinner in a really old fashioned, but very comfortable restaurant carriage, I was sitting with an older couple and Carol Sharp (When you should read this, maybe you can give me the name of the others) on one table. The dinner was delicious and I enjoyed the company of the Aussies very much. We had a inspired conversation about their families, which came from the Netherlands, about policy in Australia, about Facebook and on and on, have had a few good glass of wines, while the sun was setting and the landscape was drifting past outside the window.
In the morning i was wakened up from the stewardess with a coffee. And after a tasty breakfast at 9 o'clock we arrived Katherine.
On Katherine tour was planned to the Katherine Gorge with a trip on the gorge which was included in the fare for the train.
We arrived the gorge after a 20 min drive with the bus. While the drive the tour guide an driver explained something about Katherine, the history , the scholl, the council, the last flood and the crocodiles.
The Katherine Gorge is a gorge in the Nitmiluk National Park.
Nitmiluk National Park is in the Northern Territory of Australia, 244 km southeast of Darwin, around a series of gorges on the Katherine River and Edith Falls. Previously named Katherine Gorge National Park, its northern edge borders Kakadu National Park. The gorges and the surrounding landscape have great ceremonial significance to the local Jawoyn people,
who are custodians of Nitmiluk National Park. In Jawoyn, Nitmiluk means "place of the cicada dreaming".
The tour on the Kathherin Gorge was really nice and was revealing about the upcoming travel goals like the Kakadu National Park in the next days.
In the late afternoon we arrived Darwin finally. A shuttle brought us directly in our hotel.
In the next morning I had breakfast in the city center of Darwin and attended the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory which was quite interesting.
I got a lot of information about the Northern Territory the history of it and the history of the aborigines and the wildlife in the NT.
I did it in the afternoon, and it was a good decisions, then on the afternoon the day has got its hottest temperature. And the museum was air conditioned, what was a real cool experience then the climate in Darwin was really hot and humid.
After i had picked up my car in the late afternoon, i decided to go to the East Point Reserve from where you had a good lookout on the sunset.
Today I was getting up very early, then I was facing a long ride from 255 km on the Arnhem Highway to Jabiru in the Kakadu National Park.So I packed my baggage in my car and went to the super market Coles. There is another one called Woolworth, but Coles was the closest one to my hotel. So I bought some fruits, a simple cooling box, bread, sausage, juice also all what you need for a simple breakfast and plenty of water, how I have read in every travel guide. Then one I don’t want to do was to die of thirst. ;-)
After I had my stuff all in car I headed out in my destination Jabiru.
After a half of an hour I had left Darwin and turned on the Arnhem Highway. All what i could see was a wide street which knew only one direction: straight forward. Straight forward along mango farms, bushland and wetlands. The mango farms became rarely, after one hour drive, but the landscape changed from eucalyptus dominated open woodland to floodplains. Often the trunks of the trees ad the soil were black colored from the last bush fire maybe. I have seen this often on my further trips through the National Park. It was quite interesting because the branches further above of the trees m palms had green leaves already again. It looks to me like phoenix which was reborn from the ashes.
My first stop was on a typical motorway roadhouse the
Corroboree Park Tavern where I has having beans with a toast. The road houses are often a mixture of all: pub, shop, casino, dance hall with 3 screens and a unusual menu at the card.
So my way went further in eastern direction ay the Arnhem Highway for 1 hour until i have reached the Wetlands Visitor Center on the Beatrice Hill with a great lookout over the wetlands.
After a drink on this place I drove one hour again along this endless street along the bush land. And the first time in my life i was overtaking a really large road train with i think three carriages. A road train consists of a relatively conventional tractor unit, but instead of pulling one trailer or semi-trailer, a road train pulls two or more of them.. When I was doing this I had a feeling of a little bit proud but fear too. Because road trains can be very large.
After I while i reached the first highlight of the Kakadu National Park, the Mamukala Wetlands. The Mamukala Wetlands were located a few hundred meter beside the Arnhem Highway. I stopped my car on the car park and went around 10 minutes the viewing platform behind thick bushes. And what I catch sight of was another world. A really large wetland area which was covered with a carpet of water lilies.
And on the beach of this water, in the water and over the water hundreds of different kind of birds were wheeling in the air.
Hawks were sitting on a tree and were watching what happened on the wetland and I guess they were looking for booty too.
A wallaby was sitting beside a flog of ducks and nothing could disturb them.
With the concert of the different noise what the birds were making,
the saturated colors of the water lilies and the smell in the air It was really a breathtaking sight for me,
because i had seen it maybe sometime in a ZOO but never in such a large extension in the wildlife.
After this amazing break I was going in the eastern direction further and i reached my stop for this day the Kakadu Lodge in Jaburi, a small village in the Kakadu National Park, around 5 o'clock in the afternoon.
After I have checked in I was hurrying to get so fast as possible to the Ubirr Rocks to watch the sunset there. I have read so much about it so that wanted to see this on the evening already. So I drove the 54 km through the Kakadu National Park to the well know place across windy street and along a amine beautiful scenery of wetlands at one side and browns shaded high rock formation on the other side as I reached the car park of the Ubirr Rocks finally.
So I took the trial to the rocks. And after I have climbed the rocks in ca. 15 min I catch sight of a breathtaking lookout across a larger wetland area than before.
I was really georgous. And I reached this place before sunset shortly so that I could do a few beautiful captures here.
So the first day which I could experiences in the Kakadu National Park was one of the best.
Thats why I enjoyed my kangaroo dish which I had for dinner later in the bistro of the lodge very much and slept very well and satisfied later.
After a self-made breakfast in the Kakadu Lodge around 8:30 o'clock I was thinking what i should o during the day. I knew that I should postpone my activities in the morning, because in the late afternoon the temperature will reach around 37 degrees and its to hot to do anything. Thats why I planned for the afternoon to rest at the pool of the lodge. So I decided to go to the Nourlangie Rocks and Art Site which were located in a southern direction and around 11 km far away.
I got a first look on the Nourlangie Rocks from the Nawurlandja plateau.
It was only 10 o'clock but the sun was burning really hot on my skin. And the air was humid too. I had the feeling that i could see the humidity because the air was really foggy.
From the rock I hd an amazing lookout across the endless tropical bush land and on the horizon I saw the smoke from a few bushfire.
Bushfires are part of the annual cycles in Kakadu. In the dry woodlands and grasslands, controlled burns are carried out in the early dry season to stimulate new plant growth and protect the habitats from more destructive fires. This prescribed burning follows the pattern set by the traditional people of the land who are still consulted regarding annual burns.
After the visit of this lookout it was time to get closer to the Nourlangie Rocks and the famous Art Site. The one reason why the Kakadu National Park is world-famous is that it contains a World Heritage - natural site and cultural site. Then in a lot of place you can find aboriginal arts like drawings, paintings and engravings which partially thousands of years old.
The paintings provide a fascinating record of Aboriginal life over thousands of years. With paintings up to 20,000 years old, this is one of the longest historical records of any group of people in the world. The main rock art galleries are at Ubirr and Nourlangie.
The paintings are often describing creation stories of the land or giving advises of the landscapes for instance where are the next waterholes or what kind of food i.e plants and animals are in this area and have been very important for the survival of the generations of aboriginal people which have been living here for generations and 30.000 of years.
As i attended the rock art sited a ranger was explaining the creation story of the Ancestor Namarrgon or the the Lightning Man.
The stories say that Namondjok and Namarrgon took the form of short-eared rock wallabies as they travelled this area, where they cut two crevices in the rock as they passed, these are visible today.
After this little excursion in the world of the aboriginal people I climbed to the Gunwarddehwardde Lookout, and be rewarded with sweeping views of both Kakadu's escarpment and Nourlangie Rock.
After this early but eventful experience I visited the village Jabiru shortly where a small community of aboriginal people have been living. I bought something in the local supermarket and went back to the lodge for a break on the beautiful pool there which was the best i could do in this hot afternoon.
Relaxed and refreshed I would like to go to the Ubirr Rocks again.
Because I enjoyed to stay on this beautiful place yesterday evening so much, that I wanted to do it twice.
So I took a seat in my car and went through a wonderful landscape of wetlands and brown shaded sandstone cliffs to the Ubirr Rock again.
I enjoyed the breathtaking look out across the green wetlands which were touched in a glooming warm light of the setting sun very much.
For me in of the most beautiful places of the world.
After a good sleep in my comfortable king size bed I woke up around 8.00 o'clock am. I was waken up from a loud screaming outside my room.
Whilst I was going to the amenity to do my morning toilet, I saw what was happened outside in the beginning morning.
I think a few dozen cockatoos sat in the trees and on the ground of my veranda and were looking for feed. Their feed were the seeds of the trees which are standing around my cottage. And it was interesting to observe how they were managing it together to get their breakfast.
A few of them were sitting in the trees and picking up the seeds from the branches.
But the coockatoos didn't eat all of the seeds which they have picke up. But they dropped some of the seed to the ground, so that the other birds could take their part of the meal.
After their vegetarian breakfast they were resting for a while in the trees
and then leaving the place with loudly noises.
After this spectacle in this lovely morning mood I finished my toilet, prepared my self made breakfast, which tastes always delicious in the nature whether it was very simple, and packed my luggage, stowed it in my car to go to the next station on my trip through the Kakadu National Park. And the day should bring a lot of stunning experiences.
The next stop wasn't so far away from Jabiru. Its was the Gadudju Lodge in Cooinda which was only 60 km far away from Jabiru and which i reached after a on hour.
It was a really nice lodge with a shop, a bistro, cottages, a campground, a beautiful swimming pool, which was really necessary by the high temperatures of 37 degrees in these days and all facilities you need for a comfortable stay. I have booked 2 nights here to have time to explore the Yellow Water region, which was close by to the lodge.
So I went to the reception after my arrival, got my key for my cottage, which was well equipped and comfortable too, and I book a Yellow Water Sunrise Cruise in the evening, which should be the best.
After a chat with the receptionist about what I should or can do in the Jabiru region, I went to my lodge, dropped off my luggage there and observed then the close surroundings of the lodge with my car. So I went to Yellow Water at noon, to hope to see a little bit of the wildlife there, from which I have read on the internet site and in my travel guides. But I was little bit disappointed when i have reached the landing stage of the cruising boats. Because the only bird which i have seen, was one heron standing in the water.
So I could only wait for the evening and I am thankful that it was changing then.
The afternoon with the peak of the temperature of 38 degrees I was using to relax in the beautiful swimming pool of the lodge, where some other tourists an travelers were seeking for the same. a shady place and a refreshment in the pool.
The Yellow Water Sunrise Safari started at 4.30 o'clock pm. We were picked up from a shuttle from the main car park of the lodge which brought us to the landing stage, where i have been at noon already. The group was mixed crowd from tourists and travelers from different countries.
The suns stood still high above the horizon, but the light started to get warm touch already.
After all passengers has found their seats on the flat cruising boat, the captain gave some security instruction about the usage of the life jacket and of course the important advice to the behavior on board relating to the crocodiles, which should swim in these waters obviously. But in my mind I thought that the explanation for the usage of the life jackets could be useless in an emergency case when the the Yellow Water is fill of crocodiles. And that meant, that every passengers shouldn't avoid to lean their hands over the railing. After a few minutes I understood why ;-).
Then after a few minutes of the start of our cruise we could see the first crocodile which were swimming in the water not far away.
The tour guide steered due the crocodile directly to get a closer view to this massive about 3,5 meter large saltwater crocodile. He was explaining a lot about the gender, how you can figure out it, about their behavior, what they eat and so on. Whilst he was telling us so much about these creatures, which are livid in this earth over million of years we were approaching to it to only one meters distance, so that it was swimming close to our boat. And now I understood the importance of his warning before not to hold the arms aver the railing.
It was really an impressionable view to see this creature swimming so close to the boat.
The tour went further on the very calm river which was touched in the warm light of the sun. Then on one riverside between a row of trees a sea-eagle was sitting and feeding its booty.
The river was meandering itself further through a beautiful pastureland.
A lot of different birds were standing on the riversides of the river like the Juvenile Nankeen Night-heron.
Or the the Com-crested jacana, which were adapted to run over the leaves of the water lilies.
It was really funny to watch them, because when they were running to slow
they were sunken in the water because of their weight.
And you could see a lot of crocodiles during the tour. Either they were sunning themselves in the sun.
Or they were laying on the riverside with an open mouth to cool down the temperature of their brains.
It was a stunning experience to me to see all these crocodiles and birds in the wilderness. I was feeling like in a ZOO with the difference that we weren't watching the animals but they were watching us.
And I was surprised about the rich variety of birds like the Australian pied cormorant, which was sitting in the trees,
or the different kind of ducks like the Magpie gooses, which were fishing for booties in the muddy water and
the Buff Breasted (Paradise) Kingfisher sitting in a tree and
the White-necked Heron, which was still standing in the late afternoon sun and
the Australian Darter, wich was drying his wings in the sun and wind.
This experience remembered me on my youth, when i was playing on the riversides of a smaller river close to the village in where I was growing up and playing in some hot summer and where i was fishing lurches and frogs and watching birds. But this world here was another. The combination of the three different senses of viewing of the landscapee with these birds, buffalos and crocodiles in this late afternoon light, the smelling of the smack of the murky water and listening of the various noises of the different birds made the Yellow Water Cruise to an mazing experience to me.
After around 1 1/2 hour our the boat turned around and went back through a beautiful lighted pastureland.
Where at the end a beautiful sunlight were expecting us.
After the wonderful Yellow Water Cruise yesterday evening I decided to do the cruise once again, but in the morning. I could imagine that the same cruise will be different. And otherwise the recepionist told me yesterday afternoon, if i have booked the evening cruise i could get the morning cruise for only 25$. So it wasn't a long decision.
So the same procedure like last evening the tour started at the car park where the shuttle picked us up for the short drive to the landing stage of the cruising boats only with other passengers and in the morning of course. I had to get up very early for the cruise. Whether i am a long sleeper, it was it worth again.
The morning mood on the landing stage was wonderful. These silence was overwhelming.
The river was covered with thick waft of mist, which were disappearing very quickly through the power of the rising sun.
After all passengers of the tour has found their seat we were starting again. Afterwards we have let the landing stage behind us the morning sun was welcoming us with a warm glooming light over the horizon.
And whilst we were going slowly over the peaceful river the birdlife showed itself on the riverside of the Yellow Water again.
There were a Australian Darter drying his wings again on one side. It seems to that it hasn't change its place very much.
On the other side a sweet still life of a white heron and ducks which had their heads all in the water looking for booty.
Colorful parrots like a green parrots was flying through the air,
whilst a really large saltwater crocodile was observing every movement of any other animal in its neighborhood with Argus-eyed.
The tourguide was explaining to us that this crocodile was the largest one in this area and it was the alpha leader of the population in this river.
No other male crocodile was allowed to copulate with the female crocodiles in this river. The criteria for the alpha leader by crocodiles is only the size or light of them. So the only chance for the other male crocodiles to become an alpha leader here is to eat more fish.
After we had passed the crocodiles we touched in a side arm of the South Alligator River which was bordered with beautiful carpets of water lilies. The tourguide explained the every part of this plant can be eaten.
And the aboriginal people who has lived here, did it over thousand of years.
After another river curve
we could watch a not so common bird in the Kakadu National Park. The The black-necked stork in Australia called Jabiru, although that name refers to a stork species found in the Americas, is the tallest flying bird, often standing nearly the same height as the flightless and thus much heavier American rhea. The black-necked stork is a large bird, 129–150 cm (51–60 inches) tall having a 230-cm (91-inch) wingspan. The average weight is around 4,100 grams. The plumage patterns are conspicuous with younger birds differing from adults.
And on the other side a pelican was standing a little bit bored.
But maybe it was only watching on the other riverside where a sea-eagle was engulfing a big fish.
An Australian Darter were making strange noises o the other side while we were approaching to it, and it seems that it wanted to say to us this is my reich here.
But it sounds very harmless to me. But not what should happen as the next.
Whilst all the other passenger were watching at the Australian Darter, which were very lose to the boat and making photos with their small pocket cameras, I was directing my Canon 70-200mm objective at a water buffalo which was swimming in the distance.
At the time it was recognizing our boat the buffalo wasn't pleased anymore.
You could really see and feel how it was getting angry very much and fast, while we were approaching it. It seems to me that the buffalo didn't like it very much that we were disturbing its morning bath in its river at this time.
After another angry eye to our boat, while it was stumbling out of the water,
the buffalo was running its head with its horns in the morass at a full power.
Afterwards it was hurling the whole mass of morass with more enormous velocity in the air, I think to show us, where the king is here.
It was a really spectacle to watch this in the free wilderness and showed us the strength of this wild living creature.
After this performance of the nature our boat turned around and went back to the landing stage.
Because of that day was very young, the sunrise tour on the Yellow Water started before sunrise and took only 2 hours, I decided to make another trip until the afternoon when the temperature should reach 38 degrees again. I wanted tu sue the late afternoon when it should become very hot for a rest at the pool.
So the next goal for this day should become the Maguk Gorge which was only around 50 km from the lodge far away.
After a half hour drive over sealed and 18 km unsealed road along terms hills beside the road,
I reached the visitor information site of the Maguk Gorge in the late morning. Because I had recognized that it was really hot at 11 o'clock I took 1,5 liter water with me wheter the gorge should be only a 2 km walk far away. But after this walk I had to learn that I can't extrapolate the amount of water which i need for walk only with the distance and the temperature I will expect. And i learned what dehydration can mean.
The first part of the walk directed me through a beautiful monsoon forrest with butterflies in the air.
The high trees, which were surrounding small billabongs, were spending still enough shadows so that the increasing heat was tolerable to me.
After maybe 20 minutes the forrest cleared and I had to walk through a greek over stocks and stones than cross the river.
The heat was increasing in the more tighten getting gorge because there wasn't protecting trees and the stones were reflecting the warmth from the ground. But I continued walking than i wanted to see the Maguk Gorge with the hopefully beautiful waterfall.
But the stressful walk was it worth. At first I could take a bath in the cool water of the waterhole. And at the second I took a beautiful capture of this beautiful surrounded waterfall at noon.
But so nice it was here so hot was it too.
While I was making my captures on different places here, I was sweating like when you are poring your plants with a watering can. When i was recognizing that i couldn't drink as much I was sweating I decided to go back to the car park.
And I noticed too that i didn't have much water in my bottle. But I thought there are only 2 km to walk. what should happen.
So I started to go back, but couldn't find the right way in the middle of the walk because i didn't see the last walk sign. Luckily I noticed my mistake and went back and could the sigh for the right way. Because it was so hot, I decided to drink my last water in the hope that the carpark isn't so far away and because I had reached the monsoon forest already. But the last part of the way extended so much that I was getting in panic a little bit. And I didn't know if it was a beginning dehydration or was it only the panic itself. I think it was a little bit both of it. Because i noticed a little bit headache and small changes of my consciousness. And I was feeling only the heat which was surrounding me.
But then I could see the car park in a distance and my car of course.And I knew there is a lot of water in it and an air-condition. At first i was taking a bottle of water which I was pouring out on my head. You can't imagine how relieved I was. I drunk at least a half of a bottle of a 1,5 liter at once.
After this small exercise of dehydration I took on my next walks sooner one bottle more in my bag whether the bag became a little bit more heavier. But it can happen so fast. And I understood the warning sign more clearly
After a deserved rest on the pool in the lodge in the afternoon I went to the landing stage of the Yellow Water again at first to make this beautiful moody photo and for the second to say good bye to this wonderful place on earth.
This day was the day of changing of the national parks. The goal was a caravan park, where i had booked a campsite yesterday which was located close to the Litchfield National Park. The park was 285 km far away from the Gagadju Lodge in Cooinda, so it shoulld be a plenty of time to reach the goal stressless.
So I packed my luggage in my car, turned my bluetooth loudspeaker on and started my daily trip in the early afternoon. When I turned on the main street and looked along the endless street which disappeared in the horizon something happened inside myself. I recognized that I was the only car on the street only bordered from the rain forrest on both side. No car before and behind me, only myself in this tropical landscape. I felt like in a road movie, start to sing, was so happy and felt the freedom in my heart.
On the way to the Litchfield Park the Gunlom Falls were located on the left side of the street. I reached the turn-off after on hour driving. I didn't plan to visit them, but it was early in the morning, I decided to visit the falls too. The falls were around 29 km from the main street away, but the way lead over bumpy dirty roads. So it was really fun togo there again.
The drive to the falls took more time than i thought because the last 6 km were very rough and I have to drive very carefully. At the end i was a little bit disappointed from the waterfall. The fall itself was higher what have seen before, but the fall didn't have much water. But the receptionist of the Gagadje Lodge was telling me this in the morning. But I can't change the nature. It is how its. The reason for the less water was that we were on the end of the dry season. And it hasn't rained since month here. It will be changed in around 2 months when in the Kakadu National Park the wet seasons with large thunderstorm will start and change the landscape here completely.
After a short break on the falls I continued my trip and made a stop after 2 h drive in Pine Greek. Pine Greek was typical small Australian village withe wide streets, with a fuel station,
a pub with one drunken guest, an old train station from the 19th century which was already a museum
and some other funny buildings.
But the coffee in the pub was good and i had to fuel my car.
After another hour over endless streets I reached my goal the Litchfield Caravan Park.
I had a geed sleep in my container this night. So I woke up very good relaxed in the morning and was ready for new adventures in the Litchfield National Park. After I to off my container I recognized that it was really hot for this early time. I could imagine this will become a hot day. And it should up to 38 degrees.
I took a small breakfast in the caravan park which was ok. And I noticed that there wasn't so much guest which were staying overnight here. Yes it wasn't the main season.
So I started my car and went on the Litchfield Park Road and headed out to the first attraction of the Park the Magnetic Termite Mounds.
The magnetic termite mounds rise to as much as three meters in height, look relatively flat and they all face the same direction with their thinner edges facing the north and south like the needle of a compass. The currently accepted hypothesis is that the precise alignment allows the termites to keep their homes comfortable. Northern Australia gets extremely hot during the day and cool at night, and researchers believe termites have somehow harnessed the power of the earth’s magnetism to strategically climate-control their homes.
The next stop on my route through the Litchfield National Park should be the Florence Falls.
The Florence Falls is a spectacular double waterfall set amid the monsoon forest which cascades into a swimming hole. The lookout from the top proves a panoramic view.
Open all year round, there is a 160 step staircase down to the swimming area. There is also a viewing platform at the top of the falls if you do not wish to swim.
Shady Creek Walk (from Florence Falls) is an easy 1km walk one way (30mins duration).
There are a lot of sights in the Litchfield National Park, but I decided for myself not to do so much because of the high temperature of this day.
So the next stay should be the popular Wangi Falls.
Wangi Falls is one of Litchfield’s most popular and easily accessible attractions. It is open all year round; however swimming is not always possible due to water levels. This place is simply magic in the Wet Season!
The Wangi Falls Walk (start at the Wangi Plunge Pool) is approx 1.6km return, 1 hr in duration, level (moderate, however steep in sections). This walk is to the top of the falls and offers a great opportunity for photography.
I stayed the whole afternoon with swimming and taken photos there because it was a relaxing atmosphere and it was to hot to do something else. I met a few people there with whom I talked. A german speaking guy was asking me what kind of lens I use. I responded in german and he was wondering a little bit. So we talked at least one hour in the water whilst i was going my photos. He had finished his study months aga and was traveling with a group of other young people through Australia. and we were talking another german was jumping in the pool. It was a little bit crazy to meet so many germans here, but funny too. The other guy has just arrived in Australia and was on the way from Darwin to Perth. It is a long distance and i I had a lot of respect that he did it alone in 4 weeks. Bit I like such people. who open for such an adventure.
So we were talking and talking in between I made a break on the kiosk not far away and was walking a trail which leads through the surrounding monsoon forrest. Whilst i was walking I heard strange noises from the tree tops. And after i was looking in the tree tops I saw hundreds of flying foxes hanging in the branches, which were fanning with their wings. It seems to me that they had problems with the hot temperatures too.
While I was observing the flying foxes, I didn't recognized how fast the time was running away. So I did my last capture of the waterfalls in the late afternoon and decided to go back to the caravan park.
I made a stop close to the Tolmer Falls on my way back to make this beautiful photo of the sunset in the Litchfield National Park.