Victoria River Roadhouse

Flowing for 560 Kms (350 mi) from its source, until it enters the Timor Sea, the Victoria River is the longest singularly named permanent river in the Northern Territory. On 12 September 1819, Philip Parker King became the first European to discover the mouth of the Victoria and, twenty years later, in 1839, Captain J. C. Wickham arrived at the same spot in HMS Beagle and named the river after Queen Victoria.

Katherine Gorge

Nitmiluk National Park is 244 kms from Darwin. Previously named Katherine Gorge, its northern edge borders Kakadu. 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”.

Katherine Gorge is made up of thirteen gorges, with rapids and waterfalls. During the Dry, roughly from April to October, the Katherine Gorge waters are placid in most spots and ideal for swimming and canoeing. There may be freshwater crocodiles in most parts of the river, as they nest along the banks, but they are harmless to humans. Saltwater crocodiles regularly enter the river during the wet season, when the water levels are very high, and are subsequently removed and returned to the lower levels at the onset of the dry season.

Cahill’s Crossing

During the dry season the platform at the river-crossing from Kakadu into Arnhem Land (aka Cahill’s Crossing) is a fantastic and popular place to watch crocodiles in action. The best time to see them here is at high tide. A tide over six metres pushes up over the crossing, bringing bait fish like mullet and barramundi, and the crocs move downstream to wait for these treats.

So when do we arrive ? Yes, low tide so no crocs this time but we do spot a red Mitsubishi that got washed of the crossing and is now a permanent reminder of what not to do at Cahill’s Crossing.

Ubirr

Ubirr is within the East Alligator region of Kakadu and is well known for its rock art. It consists of a group of rock outcrops on the edge of the Nadab flood plain where there are several natural shelters that have a collection of Aboriginal rock paintings, some of which are many thousands of years old. The art depicts certain creation ancestors as well as animals from the area. From the top of Ubirr rock there is a panoramic view of the floodplains and escarpments. (A view made famous in the Crocodile Dundee movie).

Siobhan sitting in on the top of Ubirr rock in July 2007, August 2013 and June 2019.

Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park is a heritage protected area in the Northern Territory of Australia approx 171 Km southeast of Darwin. It covers an area of 19,804 km2 (7,646 sq mi), extending nearly 200 Kms from north to south and over 100 Kms from east to west. It is the size of Slovenia, about one-third the size of Tasmania and nearly half the size of Switzerland.

More Darwin For Mairead

More sightseeing, including a trip to the Museum and Art Gallery to see the Darwin Cyclone Tracy exhibit. Cyclone Tracy was a tropical cyclone that devastated the city from 24–26 December 1974. The storm was the second-smallest tropical cyclone on record (in terms of the area it covered).

After 10:00 p.m. on Dec 24 damage became severe, and wind gusts reached 217 Kms per hour (134.84 mph) before instruments failed. Residents of Darwin were celebrating Christmas, and did not immediately acknowledge the emergency, partly because they had been alerted to an earlier cyclone (Selma) that passed west of the city.

Tracy killed 71 people, caused A$837 million in damage (1974 dollars), or approximately A$6.41 billion (2014 dollars), or $4.94 billion 2014 USD. It destroyed more than 70 percent of Darwin’s buildings, including 80 percent of houses. It left more than 25,000 out of the 47,000 inhabitants of the city homeless prior to landfall and required the evacuation of over 30,000 people, of whom many never returned. After the storm passed, the city was rebuilt using more stringent standards “to cyclone code”.