Tag Archives: Travel

Katherine and the Nitniluk Chalets

Okay. So I’ve been busy working through all the facets of self publishing and have neglected my blog. I promise I will finish it and get back on track again in the New year. At least I now have a cover for the next book, but now comes the formatting etc. I guess I was spoilt with my first two publishers doing all that for me, but at least I will know all of the process involved when talking to my memoir writing class next year. We break up for the Christmas holidays on Wednesday 4th December 2019. But for now it’s back to the Darwin blog

Top of my ‘to do’ list was a boat trip to see Katherine Gorge.

When we were last here in 1975 we couldn’t afford to go on this tour. This year, Paul had booked us into the Nitniluck Chalets, The name is indigenous . Nit (the sound cicader’s make) niluck (country) means cicader country in the local language. This time, instead of camping we were in a stand alone chalet with two bedrooms and a large living space with all mod cons. Even a full sized refrigerator. Paul and Marian had their own chalet so we could spread out to our heart’s content. Alan was soon ‘testing the bed’ and gave it a big thumbs up.

The next morning I walked over to the swimming pool while Alan had his shower. In a chair in the open camp kitchen I waited for for the pool to open at 8:am It was so peaceful listening to the birds and watching Rosellas squawk and flit amongst the gum trees. I’m amazed at how different they are in colouring to those at home. Familiar Plovers stately patrolled the grass and tiny birds searched for a breakfast of bugs and worms. Overall was the distinctive call of a black crow. The breeze made the trees, and our washing, dance. The pool didn’t open at the prescribed 8am (the chalet owners obviously hadn’t made the transference from the wet season to the dry season) so I’ll walk back to our chalet in warm tropical sunshine enjoying every moment, especially after a cold Melbourne winter.

  

Over a cup of coffee out on the chalet deck we began reminiscing about our trip in 1975. How different this trip is compared to then when there was no air-conditioning and certainly not in our truck, no mobile phones, little money, a fridge that didn’t cope with the heat and bush camps most nights. But I fondly remember two small boys, cooking over open fires, being warm, stars that beamed rather than twinkled in a huge open sky, of being able to see for miles.

Tues 23/4/2019. We finally make it to the Katheryn Gorge Cruise. Paul wheeled Alan down the long ramp and onto the first boat. We look up at high red cliffs on either side of the first gorge. There are thirteen individual gorges, all connected during the rain fed wet season and separated in the dry, but only two are ever open for public viewing. Today’s trip comprises of those two gorges with a walk from our boat to another in the second gorge. Alan and I decided to wait in the shade for our group to arrive back from their second gorge tour. Our leaders had put chairs under a strategically placed shelter on the natural rock landing . Iced water is nearby in case we get thirsty. It is easy to dehydrate here. We found it such a delight to quietly sit listening to the water and feeling the cool breeze fan our faces.

I saw steps up to my right and decided to have a look. They led to rock paintings on an overhang, drawn many years ago by indigenous people while they waited on this Arnhem Land Plateau  for the wet season to end. Hidden for many years it is just now being set out as a place to visit. I hurry back to tell Alan all about it when we see a line of people heading back to the landing and our barge appearing.

 

Katherine Gorge was named by Scotsman John MacDow Stuart in 1862 after the daughter (Katherine) of his Adelaide sponsor, James chambers. 

Paul had to push Alan’s wheelchair back up the slope and two people offered to help. It is amazing how many kind people offered while we were away. I love it when Paul calls the small tent- like cabins with wire netting for back packing tours ‘Budgie cages’.

 

We relax in our luxurious surroundings. It is so peaceful here but we still need Paul and Marian’s anti mozzie wipes, jell and coils when we sit outside. Washing dries so quickly. I washed out a blouse in the morning, hung it on a hanger and wore it that afternoon. Alan is happy and well as this trip is a great pace for him,

Tomorrow we go to Mataranka and I can’t wait to see what it is like now.