Where are we now?

Where are we now?
Where are we now? Tahmoor, NSW. Updated 7th December 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day 164. Gungurul Rest Area to Jim Jim Billabong, Kakadu

Our first wild “Salty”

We moved about 30km’s up the road today to a new camp, only to find we could have come straight here yesterday. The plan originally was to stop at the Gungurul Rest Area, so we could make a quick entry into this one early this morning. This camp was supposed to be packed, but it turned out it isn’t, there are only about 8 other campers in here this evening.

Our Camp

After set up, we made our way over to ‘Cooinda’ to book tickets for the ‘Yellow Water Wetlands’ billabong cruise. There is a caravan park here with pool and restaurant, and I keep telling myself we are having the real adventure and seeing the true Kakadu camping out in amongst it all.
After convincing the tour company Scarlett was only 4 (she is really 5) so we didn’t have to pay the $60 for her, we decided to go and have a look at the Billabong/Wetlands where we would be doing our cruise tomorrow. ‘Yellow Water’ is part of the South Alligator River floodplain, and there is a boardwalk which gives good views of the massive amount wetlands and wildlife here. There is only one type of wildlife I’m interested in seeing, and today after weeks of searching I was lucky enough to see my first big salt water crocodile! I know he was a fair way away cruising across the billabong, but I saw him, and it was great.

There he is in the middle, our first salt water croc

Next we visited the ‘Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre’ which has been constructed in a circular design to represent the pig nosed turtle. The centre has a really large display developed by the ‘Bininj/Mungguy’ people detailing information on the aboriginal people here in Kakadu. It was very interesting, and Scarlett was amazed at all the types of wildlife they catch and eat in this area.

The day was really heating up, but there was one last walk we wanted to do before heading back for the evening. The ‘Mardugal Billabong Walk’ is only a 1km return that follows the edge of the Mardugal billabong. We stopped at the end at a picnic table and scoured the billabong for salty’s (as we are now hooked), but unfortunately it was just the amazing view for us this time.

When we arrived back at camp, we followed a 50mtr dirt track at the back of the campground just to see where it went. I was surprised to find a small jetty with a water pump pumping water back inland, for I assumed the rangers station nearby. I decided it would be a great spot for fishing, as it was raised up high and went all the way out over the water with railings, so no crocs could grab me. I have been pestering Shane all afternoon to get my fishing rod out and re-rig it with a lure, as bait is prohibited up here. I am eager to land one as I have a little bet going with my fishing buddy John (from 80 Mile Beach) who can catch the first big Barra.

Shane did get the rod ready, and I did pop down for a fish quietly on my own when no one was looking. The billabong at sunset was amazing; there were birds, fish and the odd movement under the water from something bigger. I did manage to hook a small barra, only to lose him as I lifted him out of the water. He would have been way under size anyway, barra up here need to be a minimum of 50cm’s. I did get a few more bites, but nothing on the hook again unfortunately. Just as the sun had finally set, Shane and Scarlett appeared with a torch to guide me home. There is always tomorrow I suppose!

Sunset from my secret fishing spot

Tonight was spent around the camp fire roasting marshmallows and discussing tomorrow morning’s exciting billabong cruise. It will have to be an early night into bed for us, as we need to leave here by 6am tomorrow morning, it will be worth it though.

Beautiful Water Lilly

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