We decided to take one more tour, this time exploring some of the Northern Territory aka Top End. Five days of high quality camping in Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land up through Cobourg Peninsula. Six of us road hundreds and hundreds of miles through the bush and wetlands, past billabongs, swam in Maguk under Barramundi falls, visited ancient rock art sites and cultural centers, spotted countless birds, dingoes, roos, buffalo, horses, and wallabies and crocodiles. We were wined and dined all along the way and slept in comfortable beds in the outback and treated to daily outdoor showers. Our guide, Dave, is a trained chef, knowledgeable about the Aboriginal culture and exceptional tracker of wildlife. We learned about the importance of land management through slow checkerboard-style burning. He explained the history of the land and how the animals arrived here. He talked about the Wet and the Dry (their seasons) and how the land is affected. We came away with a greater appreciation for Australia and it’s varied peoples, and a deeper understanding of what makes NT or the Top End so different from the rest of Australia.
We took a ride down the Corroboree billabong (isolated pond after a river changes course) and spotted lots of birds and crocodiles. We drove past termite mounds taller than Jim. We drove through streams and watched birds fish and we swam in Maguk, a big water hole in the gorge, under a waterfall. Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve gave us an opportunity to see flocks of birds. The evening was spent in Jabiru. I wasn’t quick enough to photograph: royal spoonbill, orange footed scrub fowl, bee eaters, Jabaroo, pig dogs that wear kevlar chest guards, wild pigs – but no worries I got to see them. And that’s just day one.