Wednesday, January 7, 2015

This is Australia - As a Grey Nomand: Part 5 - Katherine NT

There is a lot to be said about changing plans, I am so glad we decided not to head to Alice from Tennant Creek - we woke up and it was bloody freezing 3 degrees (we would experience colder days, but this wasn't what we were expecting from the red center), it is hard to break down with gloves on, jumpers and trackie dacks, but off we went.


When we go to Katherine, it was 33 degrees, this is what you expect in this part of the country at this time of the year - hot, beautiful and guess what, we now needed to turn the suit case upside down and find the summer clothes including our bathers, shorts and singlet tops - hip hip.

The other good thing we ultimately found travelling around this way was it seems to be anti clockwise to the way everyone else is travelling so for the next 8 weeks or so we hardly ever got caught in long 
caravan lines.- bonus.

WOW what a town, now I know it is a town like Alice, but to me its a town like Katherine, a bustling town, with mod cons like super markets - now remember folks we really haven't seen a supermarket, bank etc for 2 weeks now so it was so good.

 Once again we found a fabulous camp ground at the IBIS Styles just outside of town, it is an IBIS resort, so had all the wonderful thing resorts have like large swimming pools, restaurants etc, but also camping grounds attached to it all and with an ensuite as well - one that had just been finished being renovated so we were the first to use - sweet!

The walks are arduious
We actually got 2 camping spots for the price of one, so we had heaps and heaps of room (which was nice with the heat) so we could move around and find the shade - so funny just that morning we were whinging about the cold and now it is the heat - would hate to be in Katherine in summer it must be unbearable.  We were also next to the most lovely lady Nancy who was in her 60's and had moved to Katherine to work in the hospital and live in a caravan so funny, but lovely company over our many days here.

Derek made it to the top of the lookout
First up is the tourist office, and the supermarket to stock up on food - we went quite late to the supermarket and it was packed packed packed - I asked if they only got food in one a week because it was like a feeding frenzy in there, but no it is like that all day every day and we did experience the same thing every time we walked in.

The tourist office here is fantastic, they provide not only info on Katherine and all the fabulous things to do here (plus obviously sell tickets to everything), but have lovely rooms with free WIFI, and provide heaps of info on WA , Ayres Rock, Alice and Darwin as well, so it really gives you everything you need - so many other tourist office only provide info on their own town, but here you could just about pick up something on everything you might need to do over 2 months (so worth collecting).

Katherine Gorge (Nitmiluk National Park)

Day 1 of our stay in Katherine saw us doing the most typical thing anyone could and should do while here and that is head to Katherine Gorge.  We had already purchased a boat trip, we elected the 4 hour 3 Gorge tour while here hang the expense, lets see everything and there are some advantages to picking the post expensive tour - less people.

It was 33 again today, so it was hot - before our gorge tour we elected to do some of the great bush walks here - so off we went to hike up to the top lookout - sweat was pouring off us, but we did have water and there is a great cafe and souvenir shop here which is air conditioned - ahhh luxury.  

The 2 hour Cruise
Off on our 4 hour boat trip around the various gorges - so here is the difference between the 2 hour and the 4 hour tour, about $60 per person, but we had 7 on our trip and the 2 hour was packed like a can of sardines with over 60 people - now remember the boats are aluminium seats so being crammed up would have been hot in these temps, we had the luxury of being able to walk around, hear everything being told to us, and of course we had time to swim in the gorges, take walks around as well so this was just incredible.  We were now really seeing new things, enjoying fabulous views, scenery as well as a close intimate group and it was truly worth the money.  Yes we saw crocks, we saw heaps of aboriginal art, great rock formations, just spectacular scenery overall, but the swim was the best ... mid June, hot and swimming in the refreshing waters of Katherine Gorge (yes with crocks around) but the waters were so clear you could keep an eye on them.  We were exhausted by the end of the day and once again it didn't take too much rocking - it was a full on day starting early and finishing around 5pm.

Cutta Cutta Caves
Next day we were off to Cutta Cutta Caves - there are only 2 in the world that are tropical caves, and its only relative is in Madagascar or somewhere like that which helps to prove Australia was once a part of another land.  These tropical caves still have the stalagmites and stalagmites that shine like crystals, but they have fossils of fish, shrimp and sea creatures - and now snakes dwell in there so at points a little creepy, but absolutly beautiful - take cash though because they do not have EFTPOS facilities.  A wonderful day, in a wonderful and truly magical place.

There is quite a lot to do here in Katherine, even if it is just going into the town center and experiencing the locals (unique and a must do).

Some drives around the town including the Air Base, and other good points of interest saw us end our time in Katherine.

Loved Katherine - a friendly, bustling town full of wonderful things to do and see.

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