Katherine and Adelaide River

Lower reach of Katherine River downstream of gorges
(Click on the image above to see images of our trip through the Katherine Gorges and Adelaide River War Cemetery)

Travelled through to Katherine today which was only a short run of about 100km from Mataranka.  The caravan parks here are starting to get into the upper bracket of price with some around $45 a night for a powered site.  In my opinion that's bloody outrageous. We opted to stay about 13km out of town at Manbulloo Homestead Caravan Park for only $25 a night on an unpowered site.  This caravan park is right on the Katherine River too which is a bonus.  There were some lovely walks along the river.  Of course, this is croc country now, so you don't walk too close and certainly don't go for a dip.

Once settled in, we drove back into Katherine and had a good look around the town.  Obviously a major centre and the point where the Victoria Highway heads west to Kunnunurra and Western Australia. We took the opportunity while we were in town to book a trip to explore two of Katherine's thirteen gorges the next morning.  We would have to leave Boof at the campground as it would be in the National Park.

The next morning we headed out to the National Park to take our cruise.  The first gorge was absolutely breathtaking with towering rock walls on either side of you. Our guide pointed out on a number of occasions the level that the water gets to in the wet season as the water pours through the gorges.  At the top of the first gorge, we had to alight our boat and walk a couple of hundred metres over a defined rock path to catch our second boat.  The water isn't deep enough in the dry to allow the boats to traverse each gorge so there is one at each of them.  Not sure if this is the case further up, but you can always go the quick way if you can afford it - a helicopter flight over all thirteen.

The second gorge was just as magnificent as the first.  The rock formations are amazing in the manner they have been formed by the torrents of water over thousands of years.  It was a fantastic experience to visit just the two gorges.

Afterwards, we headed back to the caravan park to check on Boof and then did some more exploring around the town.

Adelaide River

The next morning we packed up and headed north once more.  This was to be our last day on the road before arriving in Darwin. Melanie, our daughter, had told us to make sure we stopped at Adelaide River on the way through and visit the war cemetery.  I'm not really big on war cemeteries. I tend to get very sad at the huge waste of life that lies before you in such places. This is probably because the first one I ever visited was Bomana War Cemetery outside Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.  It seemed as if ever second grave bore the inscription of "An Australian Soldier Known Unto God".  It was so sad that the men buried there hadn't even been identified.

Adelaide River was certainly better than this and recorded the deaths of people killed during the bombing of Darwin in February 1942. It did surprise me that the graves and the cemetery was in Adelaide River, 200kms from Darwin though instead of in Darwin itself.  The cemetery was certainly well cared for and caused one to pause and reflect on the futility of war.  To me, war is two governments having a pissing contest with each other where none of the politicians do the fighting.  Consequently you won't find any of them in any of these war cemeteries.

We had our lunch in the gardens near the cemetery and then headed off on the last leg of our trip to Darwin.  We arrived in Darwin around about 3pm and parked our van outside Melanie and Mark's home in Gray.  It was exciting to see them and all the grandchildren.  This would be our base for the next 5 weeks at least which would give us a thorough opportunity to explore Darwin and its attractions.

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