Sunday, 25 May 2014

Kakadu Part 2. The Yellow Billabong Cruise

So as part of our ‘Who can get the most mosquito bites?’ Crazy Fun Times Competition, the Uys Huis got up before the crack of dawn and headed up the road for the Yellow Billabong tour in Kakadu one fine end of the Wet Season morning. Due to water over the road and the threat of crocodiles, there was no way to even get down to the Billabong except through a tour, and I’m so glad we did.

Ready for Billabong action!

Our guide was really enthusiastic and shared a heap of knowledge about the flora and fauna of the area, not to mention how Aboriginal people hunted it. The file snake is only hunted at certain times of the year and involves Aboriginal women feeling the bottom of the river with their feet, grabbing the snake and killing it by placing the snake’s head in their mouth and biting down henceforth breaking its neck. Might just get the Barra Burger thanks!

Yellow Billabong Sunrise.
In between slapping at the mozzies trying to bite us through our shirts, we saw a couple of crocodiles (all really close up), some beautiful birds, a golden tree snake and lots of amazing scenery. The Billabong in the Wet is gorgeous; green green grass and water lilies everywhere.

Our first Northen Territory crocodile.

Same crocodile showing off on the river bank.

Serial pest Miss M, drove our guide to distraction with questions which weren't always (ok, mostly) related to the tour.

Lotus flower

More Yellow Billabong.
Afterwards we ate the most enormous breakfast ever at the resort restaurant. This was the first really touristy thing we’d done since the Undara Lava Tubes, and I liked it! I needed a lie down afterwards, we abandoned all thoughts of doing a bushwalk (even got half way up to a lookout, met people who said the trees obstructed the view so came back down- so lazy) and went back to Camp Fatty Boombalada. It was great.


Crocodile. A small one apparently.

Ever the thrill seeker.
The next day, buoyed by the tour where he saw the waters of Kakadu brimming with life, Fiela went out on a charter with the Braggs (guess who turned up??) and caught a small catfish. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so deflated… But Mrs Bragg managed to snag a barramundi, and we all had a taste of it that night at the Gagadju Resort and Caravan Park where the Braggs were staying. It tasted like dirt, and I mean that in the literal sense. Apparently the better tasting Barra are found much closer to the sea and saltwater.

Golden tree snake.

Funny how my photos can never do what my eyes see and heart feels justice.

Miss M, bored after 10 minutes with no croc sightings...

Note the blood stained teeth.

The Braggs came down the next morning, marveled at the beauty of the Mardugal (a Kakadu National Park) Campground at $10 per night, wondered why they were paying $40+ at the caravan park for the same amount of mosquitoes and duly packed up and moved in. And I must say, I probably gave our campground a bit of a bad wrap in the last post, but it really was beautiful. Warm showers, massive sites and fireplaces abounded, and listening to the howls of dingoes at night was special to say the least. On the cost, we couldn’t actually find anywhere to pay, even the rangers just kept telling us that someone would come around “soon” to get the fees but they never came. There was a rumour amongst the (very) few people sharing this enormous campground that because only a few sites were open (the park had had quite a lot of late Wet Season rain which had delayed the opening of lots of bushwalks, swimming holes and art sites. Some of this was due to inaccessibility and creeks being too high to cross, and in other areas the rangers were still checking/ removing crocodiles from creeks and swimming holes.), they weren’t charging us. Whatever the reason, we ended up making a token donation at a different campsite where there was an honesty box you could put your fees in.

But don’t fret dear reader, that’s not the end of Kakadu just yet. Turns out there were more spectacular sites still to be seen, even in the Wet.

Yellow Billabong.

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