We spent a day at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary just out of Brisbane. There’s heaps of koalas to see as well as many other animals. Many of the koalas were still tired after their new years celebrations, often found slumped in the trees. I think you could dedicate an entire photo gallery to the various forms of a slumped koala. We watched a border collie sheep herding demonstration. These dogs are impressive. Super energetic, intelligent and highly efficient at herding sheep. They love doing it too.
Leaving Roper Bar, the Savannah Way heads into some pretty remote country, through Limmen River National Park and towards the Gulf of Carpentaria on Nathan River Road. This road is all dirt and with the recent rain made it an interesting drive. There were many muddy puddles and flowing creeks to cross and generally the track was rough and slippery, giving us plenty of sideways action. The corrugations managed to break our CB radio antenna. This wouldn’t be the last thing to fall victim to corrugations on our trip across Savannah Way. We checked out the St Vidgeon ruins then headed to Towns River camping area for an overnight stop. There’s a good fishing spot near the campsite off some rocks along the Towns River. The water was very clear and we could see plenty of fish including some pretty big sharks. I hooked up a couple of small barra but they shook off. Then I hooked up something huge, like a truck. It felt like a shark. Whatever it was the fight didn’t last long, breaking off my line in a few seconds and taking away my favourite lucky lure.
Our Savannah Way expedition kicked off with the first segment heading east from Stuart Highway – taking the Roper Highway from Mataranka to Roper Bar. This section is mostly sealed road and had not seen much rain so was pretty easy cruising. We camped on the side of the road half way to Roper Bar for a night. Saw plenty of wildlife, many of them feral introduced species and a few natives. Sharni called it Australia’s feral safari trip. The feral species were donkeys, horses, buffalo and pigs. We saw plenty of birds, including one which we mistook for a baby emu until it started flying. From that point we coined it the flying mini emu bird. Please excuse some of the photos – wildlife is hard to photograph as they tend to run away. We made a conscious effort to pull out big bertha, our SLR camera, so hopefully you’ll notice an improvement in some of our photos. Also we saw abandoned cars in ridiculous proportions. They’re everywhere on the side of the road.
Roper Bar is a very small community. It consists of a general store and a few dongas. We grabbed a coffee at the store where we asked about the road conditions of the road to Borroloola. They said there’s been some rain but should be passable. There’s a historic police station near the Roper Bar crossing which we checked out. The information plaques are completely cactus. Illegible. We crossed Roper Bar river crossing and checked out the Aboriginal community of Ngukurr, then headed off back on Savannah Way towards Borroloola. The Roper Bar river crossing is where Ludwig Leichhardt crossed the Roper River on his way from Morton Bay, near Brisbane, to Port Essington on the northern tip of the Northern Territory in 1844. The bar is a natural shallow rocky shelf that provided a safe route for Liechhardt’s expedition to cross the Roper River.
Sharni’s friend Lydia came to visit us for a weekend of fun in Darwin. Jumping crocodiles were high on the agenda. The jumping crocodile tours operate about an hour out of Darwin, down Arnhem Highway on the way to Kakadu National Park on the Adelaide River. Good fun it was. We were lucky enough to see Brutus the famous three legged crocodile. He’s huge – around 5m long. The photos don’t do justice to his immense size since it’s difficult to gauge scale in the shots I took. It was scary having his huge head along side the boat. His head is about 70cm long. Get caught in those and you don’t have much chance.
Got plenty of good photos of jumping crocodiles and crocodiles wallowing on the muddy banks of the Adelaide River. The tour guide said the crocs cover themselves in mud to escape the flies. You’ll see in some photos the flies that constantly attack the crocodiles. To me they look like march flies or sand flies – biting flies that suck blood. One way to help spot crocodiles on the muddy banks is to look for swarming flies.
It’s impressive the extent that the crocodiles can clear themselves out of the water by. They do not use momentum to jump which makes it even more impressive. They jump from a stationary position on surface using sheer tail power. Instead of making them jump, another way to feed them is leaving the bait on the surface. The speed that they snap up the surface bait is extraordinary. One moment the bait is on the surface, next there’s a splash and the bait has disappeared.
Apart from the crocs, the tour also does the swooping kite demonstration. This involves throwing bait in the air with a bird swooping down to grab the bait mid-air. The species of bird is whistling kite. They are super fast and skillful at capturing the bait whilst flying through the air.
The tour was exciting and entertaining. Tour guide was friendly and knowledgable and pricing was reasonable. A good time had by all. It gets my recommendation.
At the moment whilst walking the streets of Katherine you’ll notice a pungent odour in the air. It’s stinking hot so a contributing factor would be my body odour. Also the bats are in plague proportions so bat sh!t (guano if you’re sophisticated) would also add to the bouquet. But a significant factor is the flowers. The trees up here are hitting a big time bloom, gearing up for a huge reproductive rampage when the wet season arrives. I wasn’t very busy today so I went for a cruise around town and took some photos.
Apart from the flowers, we also get mangos growing on the side of the road up here. So much free mangos in gargantuan quantities, anyone who loves mangos would be jealous. They’re not ready yet, but when they are it’ll be mango for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Remember if you’re going to touch power lines, only touch one at a time, unlike this chap who decided to touch two. The little guy made a wrong move and paid for it dearly with a severe toasting. He’ll likely fall off some time soon with a bit of wind. The toasting action gives a brittle, crumbly characteristic to animal flesh.
We had a power failure in Katherine a week or so ago. I wonder if this fella was the culprit.
These photo’s were taken whilst at Mataranka on grand final day. Got the big SLR out for the first time in yonks. The bats were going crazy towards the end of the day. Excited about Sydney winning the premiership perhaps.