Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Freshies Springvale Homestead, Katherine, NT, Australia, Tuesday, 14 June 2011 10:00pm

On my way out of the park, I got to drive through several bushfires, including one that had jumped the road and was burning both sides at once. I was lucky to have a car a short distance in front of me (the roads here are often empty for stretches) so I could follow its taillights through the thick smoke.

The rest of the drive to Katherine was fairly uneventful. I passed over the Edith River, which reminded me of my grandmother Edith, who is a great traveller herself and is probably who I inherited the wandering gene from.

The camping area where I'm spending the night is on the grounds of the historical Springvale Homestead, the first, and probably worst, attempt at large scale grazing in the history of the Northern Territory. Drovers led 12000 sheep and several thousand head of cattle over a two year trek to this region. Within three years they had 70 sheep. The grass here has sharp seeds that injured the sheep, it was too hot for them, and the was no easy access to a market for the wool. The property was originally 500 square miles, and is now less than one, the rest having been sold for a pittance to try to recoup some of the losses.

There's a billabong on the property that hosts some local wildlife. There's a freshwater crocodile about two meters long that just lies on the bank near some of the camping areas. He's so still that most of the people who came by while I was there were convinced he was stuffed. However, I was feeding bread to the turtles nearby and when one of them walked over him one time too many to get a piece of bread, he did shake his head to rid himself of the annoyance. He would also sometimes open or close his mouth, which is supposedly to regulate brain temperature.

In the evening, I went on a cruise on the Katherine River to see some freshwater crocodiles. For the most part they were both timid and fast. We got to see one galloping from the bank into the water, but often they would just slip under the water they were swimming in before we got a good look. There was one notable exception. We were having dinner at a BBQ spot on the riverside and a croc came up on the bank and had some steak. It seems he's been coming for feedings for over 20 years.

I've mentioned the three different ways to fix tea in my camper van. After dinner, the guide used a fourth: a kettle placed over an open campfire. One of the other tourers (all Australian but me) asked if we had tea in the States and asserted that you hadn't really had tea until you'd had it made this way.

Returning to the van after the tour, I disturbed lots of wallabies aroud the campsite. They bounded off in a flash.


Edith Pa (Anonymously) Saturday, 18 June 2011 8:59pm

Will send your comment about the wandering gene to Grandma! Love, Pa