So, here we are, already up to the letter “N” in the A-Z Challenge for 2017 and once again I have left it to late to write a post about my homeland, Australia. There’s no real reason why I typically don’t write much about home, it’s certainly not from a lack of things to talk about … this is an enormous country, with so much to offer it would take you months if not years to make a dent in all it offers. I make no apologies for saying that I’m fiercely proud to be an Australian and am fully prepared to acknowledge my total and utter biased in thinking it’s the most magnificent & beautiful country. I do love it.
I’m a landscape lover. Without a doubt, it’s beautiful scenery that gets to me and moves me like nothing else. And we have plenty of variety when it comes to landscapes … stunning white beaches bathed in golden sunshine, crisp tree covered mountain ranges, deserts of the most staggering burnt orange, lush tropical rainforests … the list goes on. We have also been blessed with some of the world’s most unique and unusual wildlife … kangaroos & wallabies, wombats, platypus, koala, quokka and quoll, and Tasmanian devils among them. And yes, before you say it, a whole host of deadly spiders and snakes, plants and marine life. I think one of the best places to see quite a few of those things is the Northern Territory. So, today I’m taking you to Nitmiluk National Park, or Katherine as it’s also known. The map below shows the path of my first big Australian trip when I was only a kid. You can see Katherine listed right near the top along the blue line, near the crease in the centre of the page.
Nitmiluk is a national park area of approximately 2946 square kilometres (or 1137 square miles). It has many natural features well worth a visit, such as the beautiful Edith Falls or the hot spring waters of Mataranka. But I’m concentrating on one site in particular … Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge. The gorge is essentially a series of 13 separate gorges connected by a series of falls and rapids. You can canoe through them, or take a guided scenic boat ride. There are sections of the Gorge where you will need to disembark from the boats and climb over some rocks and boulders to get to the next gorge, but that is all part of the adventure of exploration. In fact, that’s your best opportunity to view some of the ancient aboriginal rock art. In terms of wildlife, you will see quite an array of beautiful bird life, but most prevalent are the crocodiles. Nitmiluk is home to both the Saltwater and Freshwater (Johnsons) Crocodile. Yep, that’s right, the very deadly saltwater crocs are found in both fresh and salt water, particularly in the wet season. The freshwater crocs are not man-eaters and so you need not fear them. In fact, if you’re the adventurous type, you can go for a swim in the gorge (only above the first gorge and only in the dry season though) … it’s quite an experience, swimming across the river with the freshwater crocs lounging on the banks around you. I first did it back in 1986, when I was just a kid, and with my Dad nearby! I can tell you, it’s a thrill you aren’t likely to forget.
This post is part of my contribution to the April 2017 A-Z Challenge
For a list and links to my other challenge posts, click here
For those interested in revisiting my 2016 challenge post for N, here’s the link: Nature at her best