So what is all about? Well... hopefully, by the time we are done, it will be a comprehensive journal about a family of 5 who have travelled around Australia to see the sights and also do some volunteer work around the country! In Mid 2010 we started thinking about what it would take to fulfil a life-long dream... We wanted to bundle up our 3 kids, pack-up the house, jump in the car and hit the road - probably for about 12 months. It sounds so simple ... At the start of January 2013, after almost 15 months on the road; we finally completed Our Big Aussie Road Trip. We hope that you enjoyed following our adventures, trials and tribulations as much as we enjoyed having them!

31 July, 2012

Darwin with Grandma and Grandad (Part 2)

On Tuesday the 10th of July we all took a big roadtrip to Litchfield National Park (in the Kia Carnival that Grandma and Grandad had hired for their time in Darwin).  It's about a 130Km drive to Litchfield and so we tried to get away from the caravan park at a reasonable time (but the kids still managed to have some pancakes with grandma and grandad before we left). We were at Litchfield by 11am and stopped at the magnetic termite mounds to have a look at this fascinating sight.
Standing with the magnetic termite mounds in the background
Our next stop was Florence Falls. We donned our swimmers and walked down the the plunge pool at the bottom of the waterfall for a swim. We had a great swim at Florence Falls and then walked back to the carpark at the top.
Florence Falls, Litchfield National Park

Natalie and Grandma
Swimming at the bottom of Florence Falls
When we left Florence Falls we passed the sign to Buley's rockholes and Grandma mentioned that it was worth a look. We are so glad that Grandma said this, because this was definitely the kid's favourite spot in Litchfield! It was a fantastic cascade of water running through half a dozen large (and very deep) rockholes. The kids found a small 'cliff' to jump off, and we spent at least an hour jumping off the rock into the beautiful water below.

Buley's Rockhole, Litchfield National Park

Buley's Rockhole was definitely a highlight for us

Sam loved jumping off the cliff into the water!

Natalie about to go 'Splash'

Josh practicing his diving

We stopped for lunch a few kilometres up the road at tabletop swamp (which wasn't much of a sight to see, but was a nice place for a picnic lunch).  After lunch we drove out to Wangi Falls which was a large waterfall with a big pool at the bottom.
Wangi Falls, Litchfield National Park

There are no saltwater crocodiles in these waterholes, only freshwater crocs (although we're glad we didn't see any crocs at all). We swam across to the waterfall on the far side of the pool and climbed up the cliff a little way into a small waterhole to splash around. Mike also swam over to the large waterfall to have a look around.
Mike at the bottom of Wangi Falls

The sun was starting to get quite low in the sky (because it was 5pm) and the kids were getting a bit cold, so we hopped out of the water, got changed and got back into the car for a long drive home. The kids were pretty tired, but we'd had a fantastic day at Litchfield National Park and we were very glad we made the effort to go out and see it.

On Wed the 11th July, we were all quite tired and so we just spent the morning around the caravan park. We spent most of our time in grandma and grandad's cabin. The kids did some drawing and colouring and played many games of 'rat-a-tat cat' with grandma.   In the afternoon, we drove out to Berry Springs - which are some thermal springs not too far out of Darwin. We all had a nice swim in the warm water. Even though the days were quite hot (and unusually humid for Darwin in July) it was nice to relax in the warm waters of Berry springs.
Swimming in Berry Springs
 We swam down to the lower pool and found a small cliff where Mike, Josh and Natalie spent some time jumping and diving into the water. When we got back to the caravan park, we brushed up and all went out to Hogs Breath Cafe in Palmerston as a farewell dinner for Grandma and Grandad. It was a great night and we all enjoyed another great time together.
Mike and Bruce (Grandad) had organised to join a fishing charter on Thursday morning because Mike thought that if there's one place to catch fish, it would be the North of Australia! Mike and Bruce needed to take Bruiser so that Liz and Sandy (Grandma) could take the kids out to a movie, and when Mike tried to start the car, our brand new battery was totally flat!! Needless to say, this was quite unexpected (and quite annoying). Nonetheless, we jump started the car from the Auxiliary battery and drove to Cullen Bay to join our Fishing charter. We toured around Darwin Harbour and fished for 4 hours at many different spots around the harbour. Mike and Bruce both caught a few fish but only managed to get 2 keepers (and unfortunatly, neither of them were very big). Even though we didn't reel in 'the big one' we had a great morning on the harbour and we were constantly getting bites on our lines as we fed the fish with the bait off our hooks.
Mike and Bruce on the fishing charter

While Mike and Bruce were fishing, Liz and Sandy drove to Palmerston and took the kids to see Ice Age 4 at the movies. This was the first time Sam had been to a cinema, and we were a bit unsure whether he would last the movie, but all three kids loved it and had a great time. After their movie and lunch, the kids, Liz and Sandy went to the caravan park pool to splash around for some of the afternoon.

Sam, Natalie and Josh on the Jumping pillow

When Mike and Bruce had finished fishing, Mike wanted to take the car to an Auto Electrician to see if they could diagnose what was wrong with it (and hopefully fix it!), so after a bit of hunting for an auto electrician who would look at it, we found one who would have a look. It turned out that one of the diodes in the alternator had blown and so the alternator was just sucking power from the battery when the car was idle (and so the alternator needed replacing). Unfortunately, after a couple of hours of waiting, the alternator they put in was faulty and they needed to order another one and fit it the next day! That night, we didn't end up eating a huge meal of fish (like we had hoped we would), but we did eat the fish we caught as well as some crocodile meat that we got from Crocodylus Park when we were there. The croc meat was quite bland but was nice enough - it is almost like a cross between chicken and pork in texture.
Friday the 13th of July meant that we had been on the road for exactly 9 months, it was also Grandma and Grandad's last day in Darwin. In the morning Mike and Bruce dropped our car up to the Auto electricians at 8am and when they were back at the van park, we had an early birthday party for Natalie (whose birthday is on the 24th July).
An early Birthday party for Natalie's 6th Birthday
It was then time for Grandma and Grandad to check out of the caravan park. We all said our Goodbyes and thanked them for such a wonderful time in Darwin. Sandy and Bruce then dropped Mike back to the Auto Electrician's to pickup Bruiser (and his new alternator that wasn't faulty this time), and then they drove to the airport to wait for their flight home.

On the day that Grandma and Grandad were heading home, another couple from our home church in Turramurra (Raymond and Helen) were arriving in Darwin. They had contacted us some weeks before and we had organised to catchup for afternoon tea at their caravan park. So in the afternoon we met them (and John and Margaret - another couple from our church who were also in Darwin at the same time) and had a good chat with them all over a cup of tea and some biscuits while the kids entertained themselves.

When we were planning our stay in Darwin, we had decided to give ourselves an extra day's stay (after Grandma and Grandad had left) to organise anything that we needed to do while we were still in a big centre (ie shopping or fixing things) and so on Saturday the 14th July we hit the shops again to stock up on our food and groceries before we headed South. That afternoon, we had a bit of spare time and so we decided to wash Bruiser for the first time in 9 months. We were all very surprised at how well he washed up!

Our time in Darwin was so much fun. We absolutely loved catching up with Grandma and Grandad and spending time with them as we explored Darwin and it's surrounds. We certainly crammed a lot of things into a farily short amount of time, but loved every minute of it.

Thank you Grandma and Grandad for coming up to Darwin to see us, and thanks for all the fun we had together.
The kids with Grandma

Darwin with Grandma and Grandad (Part 1)

Our first full day in Darwin was Tuesday 3rd July.  We were all really looking forward to Darwin because this is where we were going to meet Grandma and Grandad (they were flying in from Sydney to spend a week with us).  Additionally to this, none of us had ever been to Darwin before and so we were very excited at having a look around the capital of the Northern Territory.  Grandma and Grandad weren't going to arrive until Thursday, so we had a couple of days to check off the long list of things that we needed to get done while we were in a big city.  The most pressing need was to get a new water tank installed in the caravan, so we dropped the caravan into the service place on Tuesday and then went to the Casuarina Shopping centre and did heaps of shopping before going to a huge free water park (called Leanyer Water Park) for lunch and a play.  The kids had a great afternoon using the water slides, swimming in the pool and playing on the playgrounds.

Liz and Natalie enjoying the free Water slides at the Leanyer Water Park

Sam at Leanyer Water Park
We picked up the van in the afternoon and it had a brand new water tank installed.  Unfortunately we couldn't put an 85L tank back in (apparently it wouldn't fit), so we've had to settle for a 59L tank instead - but that should be OK for what we need.

We hadn't completed our shopping list, so the next day we went back to Casuarina for a few hours to buy the rest of the items we needed.  After lunch, we decided to have a big clean out of the van (because it had been a while since we'd pulled everything out and had a good cleanup).  Mike also tested the water tank and found out that it leaked from a hose :( so he had to fix the connections.  He also did a few other odd jobs around the van (it's quite amazing how there's always something that needs doing to the van!  For example, now that the water tank was fixed, the water pump started failing intermittently and we had to order a new pressure switch for it to fix!  It seems that there is always something to do).  Nonetheless, we got all the things we wanted to do done before Grandma and Grandad arrived the next day.

Thursday the 5th July was the day that grandma and grandad arrived - which was very exciting for everyone.  We were out and about that morning picking up some mail, going to the hardware and doing a few other odd jobs.  Howard Springs (where our caravan park was) was 20Km out of the city, so we hadn't yet ventured into Darwin, so we had a brief drive around the city before driving back to the van.  We did a few more odd jobs on the caravan (and the kids played on the jumping pillow) while we waited for Grandma and Grandad to arrive.  They arrived about 3pm and so we spent the rest of the day catching up with them at their cabin.  It was great to see them after almost 9 months of being away.

Catching up with Grandma and Grandad in Darwin
Grandma and grandad had hired an 8 seater car so that we could all travel around the city together (which worked really well), so the next morning we transferred the kids booster seats from Bruiser into the hire car and then drove into the city to visit the Darwin Museum.  We had a good look around the museum (at 'kids pace :) ) and after we'd finished there, we went to have a look at the Fannie Bay Gaol.  We decided to have lunch at the Leanyer water park and then played at the water park for a while before heading back to the caravan park for another play and then dinner.

Natalie and Grandma outside the Fannie Bay Gaol
Fannie Bay Gaol's newest inmates!
 The high tide on Sat 7th July was in the morning which meant that the Aquascene Fish Feeding was on between 8am until 11am, so we drove down to Doctors Gully to go to the fish feeding.  We stayed there and fed huge amounts of fish for an hour or so and all enjoyed watching the vast array of sea creatures that came in for a feed.
Natalie feeding some fish

The fish feeding at Doctor's Gully, Darwin
After the fish feeding, we went to the World War 2 Oil Storage Tunnels to have a walk through this historic part of Darwin.
Inside one of the WWII Oil Storage Tunnels (which were never used)

When we'd finished in the city, we drove out to the Palmerston Water Park.  this is the newest of two FREE water parks in Darwin!  We were very impressed with how the Northern Territory seems to cater for families with free things (like the water parks) and also in a lot of places Kids were free or very cheap compared with similar things in other parts of the country).  When we'd had enough fun at the water park, it was time to head back to the van park.

The 'racing slides' at the Palmerston water park
Mike and Natalie at the end of the Palmerston water park

The kids hosing down dad at the Palmerston water park
That evening our friends, the Guse's, came over with a challenge for us to help them find and break into a coconut, so we all went on a coconut hunt, found a coconut and had some fun trying to crack into it.
Scarlett, Klara, Sophia, Josh, Sam and Natalie after cracking the coconut

One of the things that we wanted to go and see in Darwin was Crocodylus Park, so on Sunday the 8th we all drove to Crocodylus Park to have a look at this famous reptile park.

Crocodylus park is a crocodile farm that breeds Saltwater crocodiles for their skins and their meat.  The park runs feeding tours to feed their salties and then at the end of the tour you can hold a baby crocodile.  We joined the midday tour and listened to the guide as she gave us lots of information about crocodiles.
One of the pens hodling lots of saltwater crocodiles

There are over 700 crocs in this pond
 We watched the guide feed some of the crocs with bits of chicken.  After the tour, the guide got some baby crocodiles for us to hold.  We all had a hold, and Josh (who is normally a bit reserved when it comes to holding, patting or riding animals, was first in line to hold the croc!  He really has grown up a lot on our trip and it's great to see him getting the confidence to hold a baby croc).
Josh holding a baby saltwater crocodile

And Josh holding a corn snake
Natalie is our little wildlife girl
Crocodylus park has 3 distinct sections: the Crocodile part, a 'zoo' with lots of other animals, and a museum.  We wandered around the zoo and saw the lions, and tigers. kangaroos and all the other animals in the zoo section. It was a really hot day that day (and very humid - which is quite strange for Darwin in winter) and the kids were a bit exhausted after wandering around the park for almost 2 hours, so we went into the airconditioned museum to have a look.
Crocodylus Park with grandma and grandad
Sam wanted to hold the corn snake too

Looking at the animals in the 'zoo' section of Crocodylus Park

Josh and Natalie were pretty hot walking around Crocodylus Park

We had lunch on the balcony at Crocodylus Park before driving back to the caravan park.

Darwin's Mindle Markets operate on Thursday and Sundays from 4pm to 9pm, so at about four o'clock we drove out to Mindle beach to stroll around the busy markets.

After a big day, Sam fell asleep on the way to the markets
Josh had been wanting to buy a crocodile tooth necklace since the Nullarbor plain but we had told him that it would be best to wait until Darwin, so Josh bought a crocodile tooth necklace at the markets and was very happy with his purchase.
Josh showing off his new crocodile tooth necklace

Grandma and Grandad bought Natalie and Sam some Balloon characters (which were made while we waited) and Natalie was very happy with the fairy she got.
Natalie and the balloon fairy that was made for her by that talented lady

When we'd finished walking around the markets we bought some dinner from some of the food outlets and sat down to eat our dinner on a nice warm evening.

Sunset at Mindil Markets
 After breakfast the next morning we all spent some time around the caravan park.  We had a dip in the pool (which was fresh, but nice), jumped on the jumping pillow, and played in the playground.  Time always seems to go pretty fast when the kids are playing or swimming and it wasn't long before it was lunch.  We weren't driving Brusier (our 4WD) much while we were in Darwin because we were using the people mover that grandma and grandad had hired.  Mike tried to start Bruiser that morning and found that we had a flat battery (which had happened in Jabiru also!).  So after lunch, on our way to the city, we had the battery tested and it was apparently not healthy and needed replacement!  So with a new battery in the boot of the people mover, we made our way to the wave pool in the waterfront precinct for an afternoon of fun.  The wave pool was a real bargain at $12.50 per family.  We spent a good 2 hours at the wave pool.  Josh, Natalie and Sam all loved riding the waves on the tubes and boogie boards which were supplied by the pool.
Darwin's Wave Pool

Mike, Natalie and Josh waiting for the waves to begin again

Mike, Natalie and Josh riding the waves

Once we'd had enough at the wave pool, we jumped back into the hire car and drove back to Howard Springs.  That night, grandma and grandad had the kids over for dinner and a sleepover in their unit, so Mike and Liz went out to dinner in the city.  We went to Darwin's jetty and looked for somewhere to eat.  After a bit of looking, we found a fantastic buffet at a restaurant called 'The Jetty'.  We had a beautiful seafood dinner and then went back to the van for an uninterrupted nights sleep (thanks grandma and grandad!).  The kids really loved their sleepover with grandma and grandad.

17 July, 2012


Entering Kakadu from the South
We left Katherine and headed to Kakadu on Sunday the 24th of June.  We stopped in at the Mary River Roadhouse to pick up our park passes and get some information before heading to Gunlom for our first night in Kakadu. The road to Gunlom was a dirt road.  The lady at the information centre had told us that the first 13km was very corrugated, but it seems that she forgot to mention that the rest of the road after that (about another 30km) was absolutely shocking! and we should probably think twice about taking our none off-road caravan down there (even though the campsite is supposed to be suitable for caravans).  Anyway we made it to Gunlom and were surprised to see another non off-road caravan there, the owners of that van came over to say hello and see what damage we had sustained after the trip down because in their van the screws that kept their fridge in place had sheered off and their fridge door had completely come off!  They had spent their whole first day at Gunlom searching the campground looking for someone who had the right screws to fix their fridge.  Thankfully we had got through to Gunlom with no damage.  By the time we had fully setup the van it was quite late in the afternoon.  We had a quick walk down to the plunge pool at the bottom of the Gunlom Falls to have a look before dinner.
Mike, Natalie, Sam and Josh in front of Gunlom Falls

That night we went to a slide show (where a Kakadu ranger gives a presentation and talks about the subject of the slideshow).  The slideshow that night was about the local Jawoyn (Aboriginal) people, we found it very interesting and the kids loved it too. 

Monday 25th June:  Our body clocks were still a bit off (and it was a bit of a later night the night before), so we didn’t get out of bed until 8am which was quite nice (normally we are up at 7am).  After some bacon and eggs for breakfast, we did our school work for the day.  Once school was out of the way we donned our swimmers and walked up to the top of Gunlom Waterfall to have a look at the falls and go for a swim at the pool at the top - where there are no crocodiles.  The water was nice and refreshing.
The pools at the top of Gunlom Falls

Mike and Josh at the top of the Gunlom Falls
After a great time at the top, we headed back down the track to the bottom for a late lunch.   We didn’t do too much that afternoon - just had some quiet time, the kids watched a movie and then we went for a small walk to Murril Billabong, which is not far from the campsite.  Afterward, we decided to have showers while the sun was still up (so that there was still hot water left in the solar showers).  That night we lit a campfire, cooked dinner (which included some damper that we cooked on the campfire) and ate marshmallows while we sat the campfire until bed time.
Josh and Mike getting their hands dirty making damper

Natalie loves toasted marshmallows
Tuesday 26th June – After doing our schoolwork in the morning, we drove back out of Gunlom to the main road.  Before we left Gunlom, we filled our water tank because we knew that the places we were going to for the next few nights didn’t have any drinking water.  Unfortunatly, the 40Km of bad dirt road took its toll on our poor old van…  When we got to the top of the road, we decided to have a look around the van to see if it had sustained any damage.  When we opened the door, it looked like we had been ransacked - our belongings (which normally do not move when we stow them in their usual travel positions) had been thrown all over the caravan!
The view of our 'ransacked' caravan at the top of the road out of Gunlom
Mike decided to stick his head under the van to check it was all OK.  When he looked under the van he saw that the straps which hold our 85 Litre Water tank to the bottom of the van had broken off and the whole water tank (and a wooden protective cover) was missing from the van!!  It had been ripped off somewhere on the trip up!!  Thankfully, it had cleanly broken all the hose connections to the caravan, so it didn’t rip the water pump out through the floor of the caravan, but nonetheless it meant that we no longer had a water tank on the van.  A 4WD pulled in behind us, and we asked the lady if she happened to see our water tank on the road somewhere, but she said she didn’t come across it, so we really have no idea where it went!  Although this event was unfortunate (and we’d had preferred if it didn’t happen) Liz and Mike thought it was quite hilarious (if you don’t laugh at these things, then you’d probably just cry!).
I could have sworn there was a watertank under this van last time I checked!!
So with a fairly philosophical view on the whole event, we drove to our next campsite – called Mardagul.  We did have our 2 jerry cans of water in the back of the car, and we keep a 10L emergency container inside the van, so we had enough water to keep us going for a few days at least.  Once we setup the van, we drove to the Aboriginal cultural centre for a look through the displays (which were very well done).  Next, we drove to Nourlangie rock to have a look at the Aboriginal rock art in the area.  We listened to a ranger talk about the rock art and some of the meanings behind the art.
Some of the rock art at Nourlangie Rock
On Wednesday 27th June we didn’t do any school in the morning because we knew we would have a pretty big day.  We left our van at the Mardagul campsite and drove to Twin Falls.  The 60Km dirt road was very rough and then it turned into a real 4WD track on the way to Twin Falls.  We did a 70cm water crossing through a river (which was fun) and they know there is a crocodile in the area near this crossing, so we were glad that Bruiser made it all the way through (and back) without breaking down in the middle.

The drive to Twin falls took 2 hours as the road was quite rough and the 4WD track was very slow going.  Once we got to Twin Falls, we needed to get on a boat to visit the falls.
Taking the boat out to Twin Falls

The view of twin falls from the boat

We were so glad we went there because they were absolutely spectacular.
Twin Falls, Kakadu National Park
A saltwater crocodile trap - a reminder that swimming anywhere in the top end can be dangerous!

We had a good look around the falls and then walked (and rode the boat) back to the car.  We had some lunch there and then drove to Jim Jim Falls.  The walk to Jim Jim falls was quite challenging; with large boulders to hop across, but the kids all did very well.  Sam takes 3 steps to every 1 of dad’s steps, so he walked a long way! 
 On the walk out to Jim Jim Falls
We got to the falls and it was another very spectacular sight - even moreso than Twin falls.
Jim Jim Falls, Kakadu National Park
We didn’t know that you could swim there, and unfortunatley we hadn’t taken our swimmers!  Nonetheless, the kids stripped off to their undies and went for a swim in the freezing water.  Mike swam in his shorts and enjoyed the icy waters too.  Josh and Mike went across to the Plunge pool at the bottom of the 100 metre waterfall to have a look and a brief swim.  After Jim Jim falls, we drove back to the caravan at Mardagul campsite.  We drove to the resort at Cooinda after dinner to watch a slideshow about Saltwater Crocodiles (called Ginga in the local Aboriginal language).  It had been a very big day and everyone was exhausted, but we had a fantastic day and saw some great sites.

Thursday 28th June – We weren’t far from Yellow Waters, so that morning we drove there to have a look.  We decided not to do the famous Yellow Waters boat cruise (as it was too pricy and the kids probably wouldn’t appreciate it fully at their ages), so we walked along the boardwalk and admired the wetlands – it really is a beautiful place.  Unfortunately some of the walks were still closed due to the water level being too high.
Yellow Waters wetlands from the boardwalk

Josh, Sam, Mike and Natalie at the end of the Yellow Waters boardwalk

Some of the stunning scenery at Yellow Waters
After Yellow waters, we picked up the van from the Mardagul campsite and drove toward Ubirr.  We stopped in at the Bowali Visitor Centre to have a look at the exhibits and watch a brief film on Kakadu.  When we left the visitor centre, we were thinking that we would head to the next campsite (called Merl) near Ubirr, but we had to stop in Jabiru to get some food and thought we’d check out the price of the caravan park.  It turned out that the kids were free, so we only had to pay $38 for a night (for a powered site (with water too – which was helpful because we didn’t have a tank)) so we opted to stay in Jabiru for the night.  We swam in the lovely big pool (which was pretty cold).  We met Cara and Michael and their 2 year old son Kevin.  Our kids had a ball playing with Kevin at the pool and Liz and Mike enjoyed chatting with Cara and Michael for a while by the pool.  We watched another slideshow that evening about Kakadu Wildlife.

Friday 29th June – The weather was really hot (mid 30’s) and we decided that we needed a rest day, so we re-booked into the caravan park in Jabiru and stayed there for another day.  We got all the schoolwork done to finish Term 2 for Josh and Natalie before heading back to the pool for a refreshing swim.  After lunch, we went back into the pool for the afternoon.  The park was showing the movie ‘Crocodile Dundee’ that evening, so we went to watch it with the kids.  Josh and Sam didn’t want to stay so came back to the caravan with Mike while Natalie and Liz watched till the end.  Overall, it was a pretty restful day - which was exactly what we needed.
Saturday 30th June – When we were starting to pack up at the Jabiru caravan park, we noticed that our car battery was dead!  We jump started it off our auxiliary battery and hoped that it would keep charge.  We thought that the central locking unit which Mike installed had a problem with one of the mechanisms in the door, so Mike disconnected it until we get the chance to investigate what's going on.  So for a while we've had to live without central locking on the car – and it’s amazing how useful it really is - when it works!  Nonetheless, we packed up and hooked up the van and drove to Merl Campground near Ubirr.  It was another 35 degree day (and quite humid too), and so we all felt a bit hot and tired.  We also saw some clouds roll overhead that day – something we haven’t seen for quite some time!  There was no rain of course (we’re not likely to see any rain for another 2-3 months) and the humidity blew through fairly quickly.  We continually thank God for the weather we’ve been having.  We really haven’t had much rain for all of our trip, and we quite like not having to think about taking wet weather gear - just in case the weather turns!

After the van was setup (which only takes about 10 minutes in a free camp because there’s no water or power to hook up), we went and had a look at Cahill’s Crossing – one of the crossings over to Arnhem land.  After some lunch, we went back to Cahill’s Crossing to try and spot a crocodile (but we didn’t see one).  Later that day we drove out to Ubirr to listen to the ranger talks about the Rock Art in the area.  The Ubirr Main Gallery has hundreds of Aboriginal paintings (some over 5000 years old – and even one of a Tasmanian Tiger!).  It was really impressive to see the rock art and the detail is quite amazing.
Some of the Aboriginal rock art at Ubirr, Kakadu

A 5000 year old painting of a Tasmanian Tiger, high up on a cliff face in Ubirr
We climbed to the top of the lookout and saw a beautiful view across the flood plains and over to the mountains.  We didn’t stay for sunset (but weren’t too far off) and left the hordes of people (at least 300) and walked through the empty art sites below.  We ducked back to Cahills crossing again to have a spot for crocs (and have a fish) but didn’t see any - or catch any fish. 
The beautiful view from the top of the rock at Ubirr

Hundreds of people enjoying the beautiful view!
 We needed to eat breakfast inside on Sunday 1st July, because the mozzies were absolutely terrible at Merl Campground (especially in the bathrooms!).  We were glad we only stayed at Merl for 1 night because the mosquitos were just so unbearable.  Later that morning, we went down to Cahills crossing again to spot for crocs (and have a fish).
Mike trying for a Barra at Cahill's Crossing

Some other fishermen trying their luck (with the fish and the crocs in the water!)
Liz spotted a croc swimming along down the river a bit but Mike didn’t catch any of those elusive Barra.  We packed up the caravan and drove to Marmukala wetlands and walked to the bird hide to look at the birds in the wetlands.  After the wetlands, we drove to the Aroura Kakadu caravan park in South Alligator.  Shortly after lunch, we went back to the South Alligator river to look for crocs, and we saw eight salties in the water or on the muddy banks of the river.
A big saltie sliding back to the water

I hope his put on his sunscreen!

Another Large Saltwater Crocodile
When we’d done enough croc spotting, we went back to the caravan park for a swim in their pool to cool off.  The rest of the afternoon was spent around the caravan playing soccer and riding bikes and practising with dad's stockwhip.  After dinner we saw a few fireworks because it was Territory day in the NT – the only day where you can buy and use fireworks.

We had been wanting to go on a Jumping Croc Cruise, so we had booked into one on Monday 2nd July.  We had to rush a bit to make it on time because it was a bit further than we had thought.  We made it on time and had a fantastic cruise watching crocodiles be fed and having them jump right next to the boat.  It was great fun and the kids enjoyed watching the crocs.
It's amazing how high the crocodiles can propel themselves with their tail

Feeding a huge crocodile called 'Brutus' - they really are massive animals
When we’d finished the cruise, we drove into the Big 4 in Howard Springs (not far outside of Darwin) and setup the van (in a very full caravan park).  Our friends the Guse Family and the Leonard Family were both staying at the same caravan park, so we all had dinner together.  For us it was a bit of a farewell dinner for the Leonards because we are unlikely to see them again on our travels as we’ll head in different directions.
Liz, Mike, Kev, Sonia, Catherine and Dean
Overall, we really enjoyed our 9 days in Kakadu.  For us it was the perfect amount of time to see everything that we wanted to see without rushing it too much (and also have a rest day in the middle).