Here are photos from our three-month trip to Darwin in 2011

Written by Pamela Shell, adapted.  This introduction is a brief version of our Blog.  You can view the text of the blog here, or purchase a pdf file of the full version complete with photos  in our store.

We drove up the North Coast Pacific Highway to Byron Bay, and then into Queensland to Hervey Bay where we took a flight over Fraser Island. Then north to Agnus Waters, Lady Musgrave Island, Mackay and Rockhampton, Airlie Beach and Townsville.   Finally turning west, we then travelled to Charters Towers, Cloncurry, Mt Isa, Katherine, and famous outback settlements on the way to Darwin. After some time in Darwin we ventured into Western Australia as far as Kununurra and Lake Argyle. On the return journey we took the inland road to Alice Springs calling to see friends at Broken Hill, Hay and Griffith.

Hervey Bay to Rockhampton 24th June 2011. We could not miss Agnes Waters and 1770.  I had heard so much about them from Sandra.   Our park was in the bush, but the one on the beach is a beauty if you book and can get into it.  1770 is where Captain Cook brought the Endeavour in for a “look see”.    It must have looked magic to him as it did to us.  Few people live in 1770, but it is a wonderful place and we enclose a sunset from the lookout. 

Gladstone is the most “go ahead” city you can spot up this way. The suburbs are set in bushland, the waterfront is amazing. The harbour ships mined products and processed metals off to all parts of the globe.    I do not quite know how to describe the devastation caused by the industry and its processing and carrying on amidst beautiful waterways, harbours, rivers, power plants and huge dams as big as Sydney Harbour to run everything.

Northern Territory: 5th - 7th July 2011.  We travelled from Townsville via Mt Isa, which is on the way, to Katherine for five full days covering 450 to 550 km per day to cover the “Outback”.  We stayed at a variety of places, like Barkly Homestead and Springvale Homestead, Katherine, which dates to 1878.  Katherine is about 350 km south of Darwin.  

Katherine Gorge 10th July 2011.  We drove the 40 km to Katherine Gorge.  Then we took a helicopter along the canyons that make up Katherine Gorge.  We also did a landing out there in the middle of the valley in which Katherine Gorge is situated.  

Kakadu, 12-13 July 2011. We spent sunrise in Kakadu on the water, and  took an 11am cruise, so we had more light.

Darwin - Berry Springs, Territory Wildlife Park, 20th July 2011. Yesterday we went to Berry Springs to find a Wildlife Park.  After a swim, we went next door to the Territory Wildlife Park which was beautifully done and served wonderful fresh food.  The hosts were well trained and extremely helpful.  Little “trains” take you around to all the different “stations”.   There was so much to see, birds, aquarium and coral, wetlands, ponds with fish, native wildlife hopping around, nocturnal houses and a wonderful indoor aviary that went on and on forever.

Lake Argyle and Kununurra 26-30th July 2011. Lake Argyle is on the site of the old Durack homestead and was the brainchild of Kim Durack who also gave the region its name – “Kimberley”.  Lake Argyle is formed by the damming of the Ord River.  There is a giant spillway, which can fill Sydney Harbour in just 4 hours in a wet year like this one.  They had 3 metres of rain in the most recent wet season.  

Kununurra is quite an interesting place with a population of about 7,000 it is also the site of HCJB, a Christian Broadcasting Station, broadcasting into SE Asia.  They also grow bananas and sell banana jam or spread, it is delicious.   

Lake Argyle, Bungle Bungles, Jacana, Grotto 1st August 2011. Finally, a flight to the Bungle Bungles.  This also included The Argyle Diamond Mine - the richest diamond mine in the World. 

Final Days at Kununurra and back to Victoria River - 2nd-4th August 2011. We took a 4WD bus into El Questro.   It was a most enjoyable day and we were delighted to be in somebody else’s vehicle instead of our own on the Gibb River Road.   Graeme bravely strode up the gorge to visit Emma Gorge.  A few of us chickened out for one reason or another.  It was quite a climb. 

Mataranka - 6th August 2011. We chose to come here rather than Katherine, because of the beautiful springs here.  The water there is warm and there are several places where you can swim.  The one we like has a current and carries you down the river gently.  We found we can swim against the current without too much trouble.    We wore our goggles to do the swim, which gives us such beautiful clarity in the pool.  

Alice Springs - Gorgeous Gorges - West MacDonnell National Park - 11th August 2011

We had a wonderful day on Thursday exploring the gorges and chasms from Alice Springs on just two roads.  Larapinta Drive in Alice Springs and Namatjira Drive.  An early morning start found us in the freshness of dawn at Simpsons Gap, which is scarcely out of Alice Springs.  It was beautiful in the early morning light, but a bit early for great photographs, so we called back in the afternoon for some more shots.  A great start to the day. 

We drove a short distance then to Standley Chasm where we had to pay the Aboriginal custodians a small entry fee.  It was a great hike up the riverbed to the chasm. 

Ellery Creek Bighole was next. A beautiful chasm with high red walls and a huge lake of water that is very deep. It is surrounded on two sides by white sandy beaches and a great spot for a swim without the fear of crocodiles this far south - breathtaking. 

Following lunch, we found ourselves at the Ochre Pits.  This was the biggest surprise.   The beautiful cliffs are made up of a chalky substance from which the aborigines take their colours used for body painting.  The colours were like streams of rainbows.  

Ormiston Gorge was the next site to visit.   Ormiston Gorge was such a beautiful place with so much to photograph that we just stayed for hours and could not leave.  Finally, we made it to Glen Helen Gorge and there was a resort there - another beautiful spot with a lot of water and fantastic cliffs. 

Alice Springs to Pt Augusta SA 14-18th August 2011. We headed south to Uluru, which is 500 km return off the Stuart Highway.  We arrived in time to photograph Ayres Rock and a quick photo of The Olgas.  There is a 45-minute drive from Ayres Rock to The Olgas. 

Broken Hill - Hay - and Griffith, and Home 25th - 31st August 2011. We had quite a few days in Broken Hill. The “Line of lode” still runs through the city and it is 38 years since we were there and nothing much had changed except Woolworths had built a small shopping complex.  

Griffith is full of multi-million-dollar wineries these days.  We took a nostalgic look over CSIRO and we had a great tour of the place.  The town has doubled in size, as far as the business premises go.   I do not know of any other town that could do that during a 12-year drought!  

2011 Trip to Darwin DXO

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