For the last week of school holidays we headed west from Katherine to explore Gregory National Park (Judbarra). The landscape changes as you head west from Katherine, going from flat plains, gentle hills and sub tropical plant life to rugged, rocky terrain, bluffs, big hills, gorges, more arid plant life and of course the presence of the iconic boab tree. First stop was Timber Creek, a small town near the entry to Gregory National Park and a few hundred km from Katherine. We stayed at the caravan park there for the first night of our trip so we could hit the national park first thing in the morning. Timber Creek has a small shop, service station and a pub that we visited for a couple of drinks on our night there. The caravan park has reasonable facilities, is very green, but the managers are rather grumpy. It backs onto a creek which provides a pleasant setting. The park is busy with many caravaners.
In the morning we headed for Gregory National Park, the Western section of which is accessible just a few km from Timber Creek. We took the main road in the park to Bullita Homestead – an old cattle station homestead displaying the history of the area’s pastoral past. The road to Bullita is a well maintained gravel road, suitable for 2WD vehicles in my opinion. It is smooth and not corrugated, and although it does traverse a few creek crossings they are not steep and most of them have concrete causeways to drive over. The Bullita homestead is well presented and has good quality information boards on display. Makes you appreciate the tough conditions experienced in such remote and isolated areas.
Next to the homestead is the Bullita camping area where we stayed for the night. There are pit toilets, wood bbqs and picnic tables, and it’s set on the banks of the East Baines River. There aren’t many camp sites, and most of them were occupied. The grounds are very dusty – be prepared to get covered in dust if you camp here. There are many majestic boab trees around the camp grounds which gave us the opportunity to try some bush tucker. The white pith of the boab tree nut is edible. Bush Tucker Man gave it a good review, but I was less than impressed. Chalky, earthy tasting, with a hint of lemon. Maybe it’s an aquired taste. I’ll give it another go next time.
We stayed one night at Bullita. Had a quick go at fishing, but there aren’t many good spots because the vegetation along the river is very thick. The only spot I could cast from was into a very shallow area. First thing in the morning we were off to tackle the Bullita Stock Route, a 4WD only track that heads north back in the direction of the park entry.