We spent the morning having a look through a great collection of old mining machinery and had a good read through the history of the area with all the mining booms and busts and such a range of nationalities coming and going through different decades and centuries as people either struck it rich or hit rock bottom. The bloke who runs the steam train museum opened it all up and we had a good look around the old trains. The claim to fame of the train is that is featured in ‘ We of the Never Never’.
Off down the highway to Katherine we pulled in at the visitor information centre hoping a delivery of a spare part for our tent might have arrived but no luck. We decided that a soak in the hot springs was in order and the boys had a great time sliding across the small cascade from one pool into the next – the current then started to wash them away so they had to turn and swim hard to get back. The group in their named them the “Otter Brothers” and they provided some entertainment while everyone soaked up the thermal goodness. We decided to find somewhere in town to stay and ended up at a caravan park on the other side of the river from town – it was ok for a night but the permanent residents and cluttered layout made it a bit creepy.
Out to Katherine Gorge – Nitmiluk NP and we booked in to the campground. The unpowered camping is great because you choose your spot and everyone can spread out a bit. The punters in the powered section were lined up like a shopping centre carpark – most struggled to even reverse their vans and trailers into the tight spots that were given. We set up and then headed up to the first gorge lookout and looped back around to the campground.
The next day we hit the main walking trails and opted for a big walk – about 15kms all up once we’d deviated off on side tracks into gorges and lookouts. Pats Lookout is a good spot.
We walked down into the Southern Rockpool but it’s a bit bland in the dry – more a wet season spot when the falls would be spectacular.
Judba Lookout and then down into Butterfly Gorge which literally has thousands of butterflies flittering around in the moist, cool, shady gorge.
At the end of the track you could swim in the deep water of the main Katherine Gorge but with the crocodile situation as bad as it is, we weren’t interested! The swimming pool back at the campground was freezing but it was good on sore leg muscles.
Being Saturday night, a local couple were playing some great music at the small bar/bistro area next to the pool and we decided to sit back, have some dinner there and a couple of BYO beers made it an enjoyable evening – at one stage Lachie and Cam were on stage helping out the band on tambourine and castanets!