Today started out in a novel way…….it was quite chilly, like 12 degrees C. Quite a change after Darwin. Mind you, it warmed up pretty quickly, reaching the low 30s. The difference is that the humidity was 10%, not 70%. Much easier to take.
We started our day by going out to Katherine Gorge, or Nitmiluk Gorge, as it is known by the aboriginal name. It is pronounced “Nit-me-look”.
We opted to take a relatively short walk to a lookout.
The path up was made mainly of local rocks. Check out the roots on the tree reaching for the most moisture.
I love how they worked around the trees.
Like much of central Australia, the rocks are sedimentary. They reckon this was part of a huge river delta from about 1,650 million years ago. How can they figure that out? Anyway, gradually the silt and stones turned into conglomerate and sandstone. The stone is up to 2,000 metres deep in places, but averages 900 metres. The gorge was formed by water wearing through cracks in the rock, starting about 120 million years ago. They believe the river has been in its current course for about 20 million years.
During the wet season the water soaks into the porous sandstone, slowly being released during the dry season, to create permanent waterways.
As we climbed further up, the path gave way to stairs. Mick, being a metalworker, thought they were very well made.
Wow! What a view. Definitely worth the climb.
Seeing the tour boat on the water gives you an idea of the scale of the cliffs. We will be on one of those boats tomorrow morning.
The return loop of the walk took you closer to the water.
As we walked along, Mick noticed a bower bird’s bower. This one is different to those near home, as the items collected are white, not blue. The one in our area is the Satin Bower Bird, which is nearly black. We had seen a Western Bower Bird at Alice Springs, which is brownish with a pink spot on the back of its neck, but not the bower, and this bower belongs to a Great Bowerbird, which is grey with a large pink patch on the back of its neck. We didn’t see the bird.
Back at the visitor’s centre there was in interesting interpretive section, featuring the seasons as recognised by the local Jawoyn aboriginal people. It was really interesting seeing how they read the seasons by observing nature.
For example, we have been seeing this plant quite a bit in the top end and had no idea what it is. It is the Yellow Kapok plant. When the flowers are out and the green fruits have developed, as we see now, it means that the freshwater crocodiles and turtles are carrying their eggs.
Once the flowers have finished and the pods have opened it signals that the turtles and freshwater crocodile eggs have hatched.
There were also some great sculptures on display.
After we left the park it was time to go into town and do the groceries. We called in at the Red Cross op shop and I came away with a brand new cotton cot sized doona cover that will be perfect to back a couple of baby quilts.
I noticed a plaque in the footpath commemorating the bombing of Katherine, so they suffered too, but mainly the airfield. There is a major air base not far from here now and lots of fighter jets have been flying over. They are actually louder here than when we were opposite the airport in Darwin, as we are directly under the flight path.
We have to be mindful that we use all our fruit and veg and honey before entering Western Australia, so after we got back to the van I made a batch of banana muffins. They were nice with an afternoon coffee, and it isn’t too hot and sticky to enjoy a coffee.
We have a very early start tomorrow, so an earlyish night for me today.
The highlight of the day was fresh muffins.