We head out of the top end toward the Gulf

Where are we now ? >>http://goo.gl/maps/DhBPM
Sunday 2 June 2013
We left Darwin this morning to make the relatively short 280 Km run out along the Arnhem Highway to Jabiru in the heart of Kakadu. Darwin was our most northerly point on the trip and we have now started to move South again. The day was a steamy 33c and the ride was relatively warm humid. The road was pretty straight and flat for the whole distance. The country was relatively green with smallish trees and lots of pandanas palms in amongst the trees. The undergrowth was sparce which is a product of the annual burnoff practiced in the Territory in accord with the age old Aboriginal practice. We followed four local “weekend warrior” type bikers out from Darwin on sports bikes who rode 140 km to the Bark Hut Roadhouse. They stuck rigidly to the speed limit (130 km/hr) all the way attesting to the vigilance of the local constabulary. We chatted with then at the stop and found they were making the return trip after their coffee and the ride was just a regular Sunday blast. 140km of dead straight and flat roads then return. Not much of a Sunday blast by Southern standards!!. We arrived early at our Hotel,  the verrry nice Gagudhu Crocodile Holiday Inn at Jabiru (Good ole Wotif again). We spent the afternoon lounging around (and in) their pool. It is hard work but somebody has to do it!!. We are taking a day tomorrow to look around Kakudu and decided to blow our budget and take a flight to see it all in one go! from above.

The obligatory self shot of us and the bike in front of stuff, in this case, the entry to Kakadu

The obligatory self shot of us and the bike in front of stuff, in this case, the entry to Kakadu

Enjoying the pool at the Crocodile Hotel after a hot ride out from Darwin

Enjoying the pool at the Crocodile Hotel after a hot ride out from Darwin

Monday 3rd of June 2013
We took a one hour flight over the Kakabu region today which was great. The plane flew at about 800 to 1200 feet most of the way which gave us a great view of the escarpment, rivers and flood plains. It was a bit bumpy due to the air turbulence so close to the ground and several of the other passengers (we were six plus the pilot) succumbed to air sickness. This did not stop us having a great flight and taking some good photos.   We spent the afternoon at our Crocodile Hotel vegging out a bit in preparation for some of the big rides we will be doing over the next week or so as we first head south then east to Mount Isa then North again up to the Gulf at Normanton and Kurumba. Having said that, we are heading to Mataranka tomorrow to enjoy their famed thermal springs.

Part of Kakadu from the air

Part of Kakadu from the air

Kakadu flood plains

Kakadu flood plains

The intrepid flyers

The intrepid flyers

Tuesday 4 June 2013
The 450km ride from Jabiru to Mataranka Springs was mostly pleasant albeit straight and flat. The temperature topped out at a more comfortable 28c. For the first 100 ks or so out of Jabiru the  vegetation was smallish trees with lots of Pandanas in the relatively sparse, fire cleared undergrowth. As we moved out of the Kakadu National Park the Pandanas gave way to a return of the termite mounds. We arrived at the Mataranka Springs at around 3pm just near a replica of the old Elsey Station homestead of “we of the never never” fame. This was of particular interest having recently reread the book whilst on this trip. We plan to spend the day here tomorrow and sample the thermal pools.

Our Mataranka Springs mansion

Our Mataranka Springs mansion

Replica of the old Elsey Homestead which was made for the movie version of "We of the Never Never" made in 1982

Replica of the old Elsey Homestead which was made for the movie version of “We of the Never Never” made in 1982

The Roper River adjacent to the Mataranka hot springs

The Roper River adjacent to the Mataranka hot springs

Wednesday 5th of June 2013
We spent the day at Mataranka Springs enjoying the thermal pool and catching up on some housekeeping.

The Mataranka hot springs pool

The Mataranka hot springs pool

 

Here is a little video of some snippets
from the past few days >>>http://youtu.be/mWdaw29OUug

Bye for now

Ros and Dick

 
 

 

 

 

 

The top end

Where are we now ? >>>http://goo.gl/maps/0btQJ
Wednesday 29 May 2013
We had an easy morning off the bike in Katherine then rode 30 km in the afternoon to take a two hour boat trip up the spectacular Katherine Gorge. Fantastic!. We ate in the little sports Club next door to our Motel again. Excellent food and drinks at very reasonable prices. A far cry from some of the other places we have stayed at over the past couple of weeks.  Heading to Darwin tomorrow for a three day pit stop.

Part of Katherine Gorge

Part of Katherine Gorge

Thursday 30 May 2013
The 400 km run into Darwin was pleasant albeit a little warm again at 33c. We took a 100k “scenic” route detour part of the way along the Daly River back road which was very nice but the road surface was heavily water effected. It was difficult to get over 80 k/Hr due to the many dips, bumps and floodways. The vegetation is getting more sub-tropical and greener as we get closer to the coast. The termite nests in this part of the world are much taller than those seen in the west with some seen at over 4m high. The tall ones are supposed to be anything from 25 to 60 years old. Amazing!. Tomorrow we are getting a new tyre fitted to the bike and also getting it serviced again in preparation for the long trip up to the gulf and across to the NQ coast. The bike is still running beautifully and hasn’t missed a beat in the 12,400Km we have travelled so far. o:

There are certainly some heavy duty drinkers in this part of the world !

There are certainly some heavy duty drinkers in this part of the world !

Some of the many huge termite mounds in this part of the world

Some of the many huge termite mounds in this part of the world

Friday 31 May 2013
We spent a pleasant day mooching around Darwin while the bike was being serviced and new rear tyre fitted. We also enjoyed the amenities of our up-market, downtown hotel which we managed to jag for three days at an unbelievably low tarriff thanks to our last minute booking on Wotif. (Way to go Wotif!!) . A real pleasure after some of the high priced, low grade digs we have encountered at other places where the choices were minimal to non existent.

Saturday 1 June 2013 (Day 53)
We took a tour from Darwin to the Adelaide River then the Lichfield National Park finishing the day back in Darwin for champagne, prawns and sunset over Fanny Bay. During the day we saw some great close up action with huge saltwater crocodiles in the wild, lots of bird life, some unbelievable termite mounds and some beautiful water falls and swimming holes. All in all a fantastic day. We are heading off tomorrow for a two day stopover at Jabiru and Kakadu.

One of the thousands of saltwater crocodiles in and around the Adelaide River

One of the thousands of saltwater crocodiles in and around the Adelaide River

One of the many Kites and Hawkes seen everywhere in large numbers throughout the Territory

One of the many Kites and Hawkes seen everywhere in large numbers throughout the Territory

Wangi (pronounced Wongie) Falls in Litchfield National Park

Wangi (pronounced Wongie) Falls in Litchfield National Park

A colourful native Rosella plant

A colourful native Rosella plant

Another sunset, this time over Fanny Bay - Darwin

Another sunset, this time over Fanny Bay – Darwin

Another one of the massive termite mounds. The mound is only 30% of the nest with the remaining 70% below ground. Amazing!

Another one of the massive termite mounds. The mound is only 30% of the nest with the remaining 70% below ground. Amazing!

 

 

Bye for now
Ros and Dick