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This is the last installment on our trip that took us from Perth in Western Australia across more than 6,200 km to Darwin in the Northern Territory.
When we arrived at Katherine we went for a dip at the hot springs next to our caravan park before heading out for a tour of the Katherine Gorge system the following day. Our sail up three of the gorges and swim in one of the pools was very refreshing, and helped us really appreciate the size and power of the water system.
When we went to the visitors centre I randomly noticed a “Goldfields Loop” that sounded interesting. When we went north of Katherine we hooked up with the “Goldfield Loop” track which turned out to be a rather neglected dirt road. In some places the road not only had grass growing on the sides but also in the middle. We managed to visit some of the sites on the loop, including the mine pictured below.
We were certainly glad to have a 4wd with high clearance because it was very rocky and difficult to reach the mine. Like the WW2 sites, most of the mines and other attractions were quite neglected along the loop. The difference is that new technologies are making some of the goldfields financially viable again, and so they are being revitalized. Of course on a much greater scale then previously. In the evening we reached a very small community based around a pub called Grove Hill. We decided to have a beer and meet some of the locals. This turned out to be a great idea as we met not only the owner and barkeep Stan, but also some other interesting characters. After several beers we had made friends with Stan and the men that were repairing the dirt road we were driving on. It was really fun and interesting to hear their stories, so much so in fact that we forgot to eat dinner. The following morning I took this shot of an old car outside the pub.
After breakfast we again headed north towards some very hot springs called Douglas Hot Springs. When we arrived, there were only a handful of people relaxing in what was essentially a stream that had a hot spring feeding into it. It was a great place where a person could just sit and relax, until we saw a snake swim by that is.
Seeing the snake gave as an excuse to head north to Litchfield National Park and some of it’s wonderful sights. Below is a photograph of Florence Falls where we had another nice swim, without snakes this time, only some decent sized fish.
We enjoyed the waterfalls and other natural phenomena like the magnetic termite mounds (which actually weren’t magnetic, they just all faced the same direction to optimize temperature control). Some of the places we really wanted to visit were still closed due to the rains, so after two days we headed to Darwin.
When we reached Darwin we had to turn in our trusty camper, a bittersweet parting actually since we had spent so long living in it constantly. We managed to take in some of the sights in Darwin, like the B-52 at the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre.
Darwin is well known for it’s day and night markets, so we took two of them in. One night we went to the Mindil Markets with their abundance of tasty foods and heaps of people. We had a great time even though it was hot and humid. Our last day we went to the other large markets in Parap where we had a nice lunch. While eating I noticed a man cleaning and carving pineapples which led me to take the photograph below.
This trip was such a success that we have started thinking of doing something similar, especially because we did not have a chance to see Kakadu National Park. This trip has been truly unforgettable in so many ways, and I would recommend it to everyone that has any interest in seeing Australia and it’s amazing landscapes. Despite a few small hiccups the trip was an overwhelming success. Can’t wait to for our next trip, when we go to Thailand.