Thursday, 7 July 2011

Corroboree Lagoon,Darwin,NT Wildlife Park,Litchfield Nat Pk & The Daly River

I love a good lagoon & bird life. We chose to go on the Corroboree Lagoon for the sunset cruise, & hopefully see more birds than there would be during the heat of the day. The huge lagoon is part of the Mary River Wetlands catchment area another large river system like the alligator rivers in Kakadu.The area is teaming with birds & supposed to be the largest concentration of salt water crocs in the world.

We got to see brolgas, couple of Jabiru's, Magpie geese, Whistling ducks, Radjah ducks, Jacanas, few Ibis many Herons, & the list goes on.

The highlight of the cruise was the guide showing us  the adult Magpie geese getting their young chicks to another part of the water way to avoid being taken by the hungry crocs. 1-2 adults fly across a small stretch of water, checking for signs of crocs. Then another adult will lead a small number  of chicks across. Safer in small numbers, so if a croc picks of some, it's only taken a small number. The routine was repeated several times till the 2-3 dozen or so chicks were on the other side - amazing site. No pics of this - have it on video :)
We also got to see another amazing sunset.

We visited another lagoon in the Mary River Nat Pk & did a 2 hr walk around it. Nearby were some really old cycads - some over 2 mtrs in height. These cycads are used to the yearly burn offs. New growth appears soon after. This specimen is a baby compared to some that were up to 2 mtrs high.
 We visited Fogg Dam, not far from Darwin, but this rather large lagoon / dam is much the same as many seen so far, with much the same bird life, but still spectacular to see

Darwin isn't a big city in number of people, but the space planning certainly gets a thumbs up. The road network is great with many major roads. Some of the southern states could take some lessons from Darwins road network!
Darwin is steeped in military history. She was the major port that Japan bombed 64 times in 8 mths 1942.
There's old WW2 relics almost every where you go - Esplanade area in the city, wharf precinct, East Pt Reserve, Charles Darwin Nat Pk & many more areas.
One such area is the WW2 Oil Storage Tunnels - they are HUGE! They were built underground during & eventually not used for oil, but 2 tunnels were used for storing aviation fuel. This 1 here is the longest @ 171mtrs long capable of holding 3.8 million litres of oil.

Walking around these areas was pleasurable.

 This is the wave pool, 1 of the few safe area around Darwin for swimming.
 Views of the wharf & Port Darwin
 View from the Esplanade
The many coloured cliffs that are slowly being eroded by the weather will eventually consume some of their gorgeous parks.
 These cliffs are at East Pt Reserve
The parks near these cliffs @ Nightcliff are lovely. An unusual public toilet too - press a button on outside wall to open the door & it self flushes when you leave. Oh  - & piped music in there too!!

We had to visit the Mindil markets that thousands of people flock to x 2 a wk. The major attractions are the sunset over the Arafura Sea & the food! Dozens of food vans set up, some selling same, same food. Mostly asian food as well. We had a try of crocadile & buffalo on skewers. Unfortunately I couldn't swallow the small mouthful of croc! & the buffalo was chewy - but I guess that's cos it's cooked en mass.
Of course we joined the hundreds of other people buy who their food from the food vans, go down to the beach with their deck chairs & wine to watch the setting sun.

This wine was picked up in Pine Creek - Pussy Cat van pk & racecourse. It comes from S.A., but was an appropriate drink to buy I thought!

After Darwin we had to call into the NT Wildlife Pk near Berry Springs. It took us >4hrs to see all the attractions in the pk. They too have a birds of prey show.
 This fellow is a black breasted buzzard. They can break open large emu eggs by bashing a stone onto it until it breaks.
There was a couple of lagoon. No Jabiru, brolgas or magpie here unfortunately :(

 An aquarium with hundreds of species of fish from the rivers, creeks, lagoons & ocean of NT

 Also a dingo compound - showing & keeping the pureness of the dingo going as other wild dogs are interbreeding with the dingo.
There were many aviaries large & small,showing many of the birds of NT. There was also a natural spring fed creek meandering through the rainforest & open woodlands.

Had been looking forward to seeing Litchfield National Pk for so long. I wasn't disappointed.
 For a change, most of the park was fairly green & like most say , better than Kakadu. For different reasons as well - Litchfield is mostly beautiful waterfalls & swimming holes. Kakadu is lagoons, wetlands & it's bird life & rock art.
 The Cascade Falls is a newly opened attraction as of Nov 2010. By the look of the track to get to it, it's been a popular place as is most areas of Litchfield. 1st pic is the upper cascades & the curtain falls
 This pic is the lower cascade with it's bigger swimming hole
 Wangi Falls is probably the most popular falls in Litchfield - easy access as well & it also has a beautiful rainforest next to it - lovely & cool during the heat of the day
 Unfortunately the large pool under the falls was closed due to too high a flow of the water coming over the falls :( Guess it's better to see more water than usual over them.
At the top of Wangi Falls there's a series of more rock pools to swim in with lookouts as well.

Bluey Rock holes was extremely popular - hard to find somewhere to put your gear whilst taking a dip in the beautiful crystal water. Bluey rock holes flows over many mini falls for a length of at least 100mtrs. The pool in this pic is quite deep & many people were diving into the water.
Bluey rock hole flows into the Florence Falls downstream - views from a look out before descending 125 steps down to the falls pool

 This is the view of Florence from below. Another popular swimming hole. Rather too popular. Problem was getting into the water as you can see from the pics below. We had to walk over rough edged rocks to get into the water. There were many large rocks in the water as well. I took the liberty of wearing my thongs to get into the water!
 Proof that I /Sue got wet! This was taken after I'd been in the main pool area - getting a little too crowded ! dozens more people piled into there after this pic was taken
Bottom of the Tjaetaba Falls was not accessible due to it being a sacred site & getting a good pic from the viewing platform was spoilt by bushes. This pic is the smaller cascade pool above the Tjaetaba - also great for a dip to cool off.
Sunning itself on the rocks next to the cascade pool was a Mertens Water Monitor - I love the yellow dots on him.

 So I'm into looking anything a bit unusual as well. Not sure what this fern is called & that red 'plant' looked like some moss. The fern here is all as 1 leaf of the stem - lots of it & really pretty.

The Lost City only opened the day before we visited it. The 4WD track had been wrecked in the wet season.
The area is a few acres of sandstone formations that are remnants from much larger blocks that have eroded over the millions of yrs since 1st layed down. Kakadu has them as well especially around Ubirr. We saw only a few formations in other parts of Litchfield. A better description is below.

I took far too many pics as usual & decided to include most here & they can show you why I like them.

Driving out of Litchfield there was another phenomena  with a few acres of termite mounds.
The termites build their mounds with the biggest surface area away from the heat of the sun. The points are facing north / south direction. Ants are smart little buggers.

After a few days in Litchfield, we thought we'd go down to the Daly River region.
There's very little @ Daly River except for the fact several dozens of people travel from all over Australia to spend many months there tucked away in the numerous van pks for km's, along the river & the main thing on offer is fishing! & more fishing! Some folk come back every yr for decades.
Oh, there's another industry in the region too - dozens of  farms with thousands of mango trees.

The Daly river is famous for it's barramundi. Every yr the area holds the Daly river classic barramundi fishing competition. The van pk we wanted to get to was cut off at the Daly river crossing which is still too high to navigate across unless you owned 1 of these vehicles

Record floods there again this year & it dumps plenty of sand as well.

I went bird watching at the local lagoon whilst Roddy had an afternoon of fun :)

Paid good money to go out on 1 of these vessels

To catch 1 these beauties - an 89cm heavy weight. - no scales on the boat to weigh it unfortunately :(
 Look at his face - he's beaming with glee!!
In fact he caught 10 barra. 1 was under the legal 55cms & 7 were over 80cms were all thrown back into the water. It's an unwritten rule on the Daly to throw back barra over 80cms as they change gender to female & start breeding! He brought home 2 large filleted barra bagged & ready to eat. We divided 1 fillet into 4 serves - pan fried some for dinner that night - of course! The rest is in the freezer.

Our van pk for the 2 days we were there is  called Sinclair's Fishing Retreat. They don't like to do some things the modern way - these 2  pics shows the hot water system..............

They should have cheaper electric bills at least!!! Good hot showers though was assured every night.

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