We have just finished what is our first, and hopefully not last trip on the Ghan… an iconic rail trip back in time and place. The Ghan was named for the Afghan Cameleers who traded and transported goods, water, medicines and culture, throughout the outback and across the vast distances of Australia in the colonial era in Aus’. The Ghan, these days as one Aussie put it, is up there on the ‘bucket list’ for many Australians… as it was for us. Continue reading
Having just experienced the tropic savannah wilderness of Litchfield NP in the Top End, I find myself sitting on the edge of the ocean, to the roll of the endless waves against a sandy beach. We set the swag up last night, just north of Darwin, to watch the lights of the city and those of Casuarina from a beautiful spot called Gunn Point.
I wanted to do a blog purely on camping out. Mainly because we usually use the freecamps, National Parks and Forestry’s when we can and this is the true and traditional Aussie camping out experience. This is a choice of ours and a clear preference of many, although we do have a holiday every now and then in a holiday park… or caravan park, like everyone else who uses occasionally or actually prefer these ‘plug in’ settings every now and then.
It’s the beginning of the Dry in the Top End, it’s the edge of winter and the weather is divine. Litchfield is gunna be crowded! Knowing this is the season for the tourist in the Top End, knowing already that people are out and about, and knowing that Litchfield is a short 100 klm from Darwin and a renown tropical savannah of considerable fame, we were expecting crowds. We however had a plan.
Certainly there were crowds. The primary tourist camp in Litchfield is Wangi Falls and it is a lovely well serviced camp but it is not the experience we are looking for. Walkers Creek, also a popular camp and exceptionally pretty, is designed for walkers and back packers… you carry your gear to your camp but the beauty of the water and surroundings is exceptional. Florence Falls are also lovey with a spectacular waterfall and plunge pool that is much loved.
Hidden in the Limmen National Park in the eastern corner of the NT is a wonderful and rare oasis, a permanent natural water pool where you can swim in complete safely. There is nothing like a quiet dip in cool fresh water after long distances travelled across the dusty territory roads. This is Butterfly Springs and we took time to enjoy the peace, the quiet and the early solitude before others arrived during our overnight camp.
The Savannah Way is made up of many alternative routes, from the tame tar to the corrugated tracks. It has many pitfalls, from crocodile infested rivers to deep bull dust holes hidden in the track and the endless trial of corrugated roads on the Development roads. The Way stretches from Cairns to Broome but the later part in WA has been tamed mostly to tar as has the stretch from Cairns to Chillagoe… in between remains the dusty Development roads for which the Savannah Way gained its reputation.
We have travelled vast distances in the last few days, across The Top End, headed to a pre-arranged rendezvous. We are travelling fast, sleeping under the stars in the swag at night and settling up for longer breaks in the tough little camper trailer. In places we are revelling spotlighting for croc’s, enjoying the birdlife, the dancing brolga’s and breathtakingly majestic eagles feasting on varied offerings of varied road-kill on these dusty Outback roads of the Channel Country in the Carpentaria’s Gulf. We have been enjoying the wildlife along the dusty tracks, the wallabies, emu and so many others along with the fattened cattle healthy from the lingering Wet season… the Stations are preparing to muster.