Nick & Gill's Round the World Trip 2006/7 travel blog

Katherine Gorge, NT

Only 16 hours to go!

Road train

Gill at Katherine Gorge

DARWIN / KATHERINE - Saturday 11th November to Monday 13th (Days 15-17)

Saturday was our last day in Darwin, we used the time to visit the Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. The highlight was seeing the stuffed croc 'Sweetheart', the most famous croc in the NT, a 5m monster famous for numerous encounters with fishing dinghies! (it tried to eat their outboard engines!). Had a final evening drink at 'Rourke's Drift' pub in Darwin - hoorah!

Sunday caught an early morning bus to Katherine, a short trip of 4 hours! Gill got a bit sunburnt sitting in the hotels outdoor spa, not surprising as it was 40c. Evening I took a punt on a 'Northern Territory Selection' for my evening meal; barramundi, kangaroo, and crocodile - can still taste the very unpleasant kangaroo! Gill spent the night awake convinced that she could hear rustling in our motel room. I did begin to wonder if she was going 'troppo'.

Woke up Monday morning to find that a foraging party of 'Ginger' ants had invaded Gill's bag. Could she really have heard them in the night? Anyway, took a morning cruise down Katherine Gorge (its now been renamed Nitmiluk), a spectacular and peaceful place.

Set off in the afternoon for Alice Springs, a mere 16 hours by bus, yes you read that right, a 16 hour bus journey! (1515k from Katherine to Alice). The bus was practically empty so we could spread ourselves out over 2 seats. It was a fascinating journey, the bus acting as the postal service for the small amount of communities along the Stuart Highway. The stop that stuck in mind was a place called Daly Waters, where we stopped at around 9pm. It looked like a typical Aussie outback pub, Merv Hughes types sitting drinking stubbies in laughably tight shorts and singlets (get the picture?). They all came out to the bus to help unload the parcels, including a bicycle! Some stops were like dead letter drops, where the driver unlocked a roadside box to leave the post, with no sign of any buildings or people around at all? The other thing about the journey was the Aboriginals that we picked up along the way. They would approach the bus out of the dark very slowly, blankets in hand, Gill thought a bit like a scene out of the Zombie film Night of the Living Dead. None seemed to have a booking or indeed a ticket, they would simply show a letter that the driver would spend along time reading with much discussion before allowing them on? All in all a very interesting, and long, experience.

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