Week Eight. (Sunday 25 August to Sunday 01 September)

We leave Darwin, and head straight down the Stuart HWY to Kakadu. The weather is hot and very dry. We are entering Gurrung, one of the dry periods in the Aboriginal seasons. They have six up here; cold, dry and hot, the build up, monsoon, knock 'em down storms, then cooler but still humid. Kakadu has more lightning strikes than anywhere else in the world (80 a day average) and more thunderstorms than anywhere else as well. We didn't see either variety of activity.

We stayed the night in the Fogg Dam Conservation Park, enjoying 45 billion mosquitos. Our new mosquito screens (hang from the rear Kombi door and the side front window) are working well. The next day we headed off towards Jabiru and spent the hot parts of the day in an olympic swimming pool. The drive to Jabiru was so draining, it was all we could do. In the cool of the evening we headed south and stayed near Nourlangie rocks off the road somewhere, near yet another crocodile infested billabong (waterhole). Early morning, without a breakfast start, we explored Nourlangie and saw lots of Aboriginal rock art of lightning man, his family, animals and dancing people. Later we stopped by Yellow Waters to see more invisible crocodiles.

Then we endured our most difficult drive yet, as we headed furthur south, and out of Kakadu towards Pine Creek and then back north towards Litchfield. The heat was oppressive, our drinking water became very warm, and the sun unrelenting. The only way to drive was in one hour shifts and with wet towels over our heads. We had to stop frequently as XQU was reaching very high oil temperatures, about once every two hours for half an hour. We arrived safetly at Litchfield under the spell of a promise of crocodile free waterfalls and swimming rivers filled with cool refreshing water. And it was true! ahhhh. We camped under the stars next to Florance falls and watched the international space station fly overhead at 7.29pm that evening. We cooked on the open fire and fell fast alseep in a mosquito free cool evening breeze.

The next day, i changed age with a new birthday celebration. We drove to lots of different waterfalls and waterholes and enjoyed ourselves. Litchfield NP was very rewarding. All the soft animals in XQU gathered to celebrate my birthday with ribeana and peppermints. Puggle said 'it was the best birthday party' he had ever been to. We camped that night in the same place again and set fire to the abundant amount of wood we had collected from the side of the road.

We left early the next morning and headed back to Darwin to get XQU checked out for any rebuilt engine problems, and also for a replacement mirror handle (which became very important for us). We arrived in peak hour in a four lane highway with everyone driving at 100km/hr or slightly faster. Northern Territory (NT) people drive fast as there is no speed limit on most roads. We had breakfast once more at our local cafe, the Roma Bar, got more food supplies, more petrol, more water and then after a week of being locals in Darwin, we bid our farewells and moved south back to Katherine. The Stuart HWY is a very well trekked piece of road for us.

One the way back down we stopped by eight thousand crocodiles at the crocodile farm and watched the last moments of the feeding frenzy of fresh dead chickens hand fed to large saltwater crocs. That was very exciting. Look at the photos. Now we can say we have seen these large 150 million year old reptiles at first hand and within hairs breadth. They are indeed frightening and amazing creatures that roam this planet. BTW, crocodile tastes like chicken with a hint of salt water. They feed crocodiles chickens, so i'm not sure if there is a relationship here. I just hope Red Rooster and KFC don't catch on.

We arrive in Katherine, take a right at the second lights and head for Katherine Gorge to camp the night next to XQU's brother from Perth. We swap kombi stories and specifications and VW mechanic numbers. Next morning we headed for the gorge for a swim before heading off towards Lake Argyle and then Kununurra in WA. We are about to start leg three of our fosh around Australia trip which will be from Katherine to Perth, a distance of about 2000km. We need to eat all our fruit and vegetables before crossing the WA border. We also go back 1.5hrs in time.

See part two of Week Eight

View the images below as columns.