Diana was your writer for the two first weeks, now it’s up to me, Annabel, to share our bus story adventure, the girl who “makes sure you won’t miss anything on your journey”, I guess it was a good description.
First day with the new crew. It’s time to welcome a new member, a young guy from Norway who made his way from Darwin, willing to share a camping trip for the highlight of the trips with all the famous national park around NT.
This day was pretty chill, we all decided together to enjoy a new hot spring in the Katherine region, but before that we had the “grocery mission” to accomplish.
We all decided to get this done before relaxing. The grocery shop is a task most of the group doesn’t like, to make it easier we made our shopping list before going there. We could give you some tips of what to get to make your camping trip easier, and with a good cooking team it’s also simplifies the camping life.
It can be a chore, but after this we could finally do an activity fun together, and we were ready to go to the Katherine Hot Springs.
The Katherine region is really the place to be for hot springs. We had a really nice time in Mataranka swimming and snorkelling, and in particular we enjoyed Bitter springs as it was the most wild and natural hot springs so far.
We had been recommended this place by people living in the Northern Territory. This is the magic of a road trip, you can meet people and exchange good tips.
The Katherine hot springs was the “attraction-to-see” in the city but they weren’t as attractive as the other springs to be honest, they were loud and not so ‘wild and natural’.
Still, they were in the city, easily reachable from our camping spot, and it was a good activity to check out.
We enjoyed spending some time chilling there, swimming, and feeling refreshed as the water is not super warm.
That’s why we still recommend that you check out this place if you are in the town of Katherine.
But if you have more time, we highly recommend you to spend more time in Mataranka, the water will be warmer, and the place is so natural and peaceful.
After the relaxing time, we decided to check Nitmaluk national park as it was the next stop on our trip.
We went there at the end of the afternoon, and did a small walk with a nice lookout at the end. It was time to do some exercise after all the time spent relaxing in hot springs.
Then we had to decide where to sleep for the night; again when you are backpacker on a budget, you will choose a free campsite, we didn’t really need a shower after the time spent in the hot springs anyway ;).
To make your camping stay a bit more comfortable; we recommend you make a campfire, and cook with the fire, we added some veggies in a foil. We all agreed on potatoes baked (in foil) in fire, yummy dishes and so easy! It’s the simple things in life.
We also enjoyed the open space, it was such a nice sky to do our ‘stargazing’.
We had to go to bed a bit early, as we planned to do a long walk the following day.
Day 14 :
When you camp, your clock is the sun, you wake up both with it and bird sounds. However, this day we woke up too late, as we had to drive 50 minutes to go back in the national park.
We did a long walk called Butterfly Gorgewhich was supposed to be 8km but we did more than 10km. We started around 9 am, but it was already hot, and it was a rocky track. We struggled, the track sometimes was hard to follow, we missed some signs on the way, but we made it !
The good thing in this park is that there are water points/stations along your way (Water is essential and caused us some worries, later on the article).
The end of the track is much nicer, as you walk along the gorge, you realise the name is not a lie! You walk surrounded by butterflies. Amazing. The track ends in the gorge, where we all chilled out and enjoyed a swim. By chance, the way back was a different track and easier.
You can reach this place by canoe, we did it the “hard” way, but if you have the budget , we recommended you to hire a canoe for a half day, and enjoy the gorge. It is pricy but the scenery is worth it. (70 dollars half day)
As we suffered a lot from the heat, we all agreed to say that the easy way, is to spend 20 dollars; stay at the campsite in the national park enjoy the amenities, and then you can wake up early without stress, pack your bag and go (no need to worry with packing down everything and driving).
This option will avoid you the risk of having a heatstroke, or discomfort during the day.
After, as we planned to go to Edith falls the following day, we all agreed to spot in a new free camp stop not too far from Edith falls.
Day 15 EDITH FALLS
This track was much easier than the on before, so after the hardest day we had so far, this one was so easy for us, I guess we became so “adventurous”.
The track was not too rocky, and easy for everyone; and there was a lookout on the way to the falls.
Another day with some swimming! We recommend going to the upper pool, it’s the nicest one. And we heard that someone got leeches in the bottom one. During the dry season, the heat is still a problem, so it is better to get back not too late, and chill in the shade.
If you prefer enjoying the water (as I do) I recommend you to stop at the river, and swim there. Take your goggles and have a look underneath, its deep and you can see some fishes and barramundi. You can also get a ‘pedicure” in the water, with small fish who will bite the dry skin off your feet. Its not dangerous, but really funny.
After we all chilled out and had our alone time, (sometimes in a group you need your own ‘moment”), we had an another good surprise, this park had showers for free! Australia has good amenities!
After 3 days without one; we were so enthusiastic to have our shower, I wont describe again, Diana did it well before, cant add more.
We were all fresh like a Mr clean, (This feeling doesn’t stay long when you free camp, you will be back in the dust). Then we drove to Kakadu National park, 3h away.
A good piece of advice is to check the opening hours of the visitor centre, we forgot about it but in Australia working hours finish at 4pm. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it in time; but you can still go in the park and pay for your pass the day after.
We drove 40 more minutes to get to our camping spot “Kamboglie creek”. This was the corrugated road part! Originally, we choose this camp because we had the idea of doing a walk nearby.
But you know that when you travel, you never have fixed plans, and this night we had the chance to meet nice Australian neighbours, who recommended us to check out an another place Gunlom Falls.
Stay tuned for the next update