KAKADU NATIONAL PARK & MATARANKA

Wednesday, Oct 19, 2011 at 01:00

Member - Greg S2


While in Darwin, Ingrid passed her vaccination qualification for the Northern Territory. Yes she has been studying while we are on the road and was a little stressed when she had to complete the practical part of the qualification. I was brave and let her use me as a guinea pig! Only once though – big softy. Anyway she passed with flying colours and we celebrated by going to the Jetty for dinner, it is a seafood and Asian buffet type restaurant. The food was beautiful, service outstanding and ambiance fantastic. We can highly recommend this place to you all when you visit Darwin next time.
We left Darwin and headed into Kakadu NP on Friday. We stopped on the way at Fog Dam, a place with plenty of birdlife in the wet but not much at this time of year! A pleasant coffee break though. Had lunch at Jabiru and set up camp at Cooinda Lodge for 3 nights. From there we managed to have a look around the local area including a couple of walks (one very exhausting climb in hot muggy weather) to get a taste of the escarpments, some rock art and caves that were used for shelter many years ago. The highlight of our stay in the park though was the evening and morning cruises we did in the Yellow River billabong and South Alligator River. The birdlife was incredible and the crocodiles were huge! There were 3 types of native kingfisher birds, jabiru, brolga, whistling ducks, magpie geese (a local delicacy) sea eagles to mention a few. We also saw brumbies and buffalo – just like a safari really. Our photos do not do it justice but you’ll get the picture! At Cooinda there is also a very informative and well produced aboriginal cultural centre. The centre goes into detail of how the traditional owners’ ancestors lived, fed themselves and dealt with the seasons.
The lodge had a TV too so we were able to take in the 2 semi-final matches. Very relieved to see the AB’s beat the Wallabies and will be playing France in the World Cup final on Sunday.
The on-going saga of our aircon system continues! We did get it re-gassed in Darwin by the Dometic agent but it stopped cooling 5 days later when we were in Cooinda. The guy agreed to refund about half of the cost as it was too far for him to check out what the latest problem was. We will now have to make do with blowing the hot air around until we get to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland – oh well!
We have just spent the last two days at Mataranka Homestead Resort. The thermal pools here are lovely, crystal clear water flowing from nearby Rainbow Springs at 30.5 million litres per day with a constant temperature of 34. This place is also the breeding grounds to millions of little red flying fox. They fly out on dusk to feed on nearby eucalyptus flowers and return at dawn to hang out in the palms to squabble poop and generally smell ferrel.
The Homestead Resort is as far from a resort as you could possible imagine- not much money available for maintenance etc. - but we made the most of it. The local wildlife (peacocks, wallabies and goat) made up for the rundown state of the place and facilities. We spent the morning at another caravan park – Territory Manor – watching a Barramundi feeding show and enjoying a coffee with fresh scones jam & cream.
Now on our way to Queensland via an overnight stop at Banka Banka Station (something in that name eh?). See if you can find that place on the map!
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