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Jenolan Caves

We’ve just had three days away during the school holidays at Jenolan Caves, formerly known, and I like both much better, as Fish Creek Caves and before that, Binoomea.

We explored The Orient, Chifley and Imperial caves.

The girls were excited after exploring the Chifley cave

The girls were excited after exploring the Chifley cave

I only took my iPhone into the caves

I only took my iPhone into the caves

I had to carry Sarah often up and down steps but Lucy bounded ahead. I would have liked take to photos in the caves with my D90 but it wasn’t really going to be possible. I did have a nice walk along the river and took a few shots though.
River Walk

River Walk

Unidentified but calm and curious bird

Unidentified but calm and curious birdCaves House

River Walk
Caves House

Caves House

 

 
Really!

Really!

Also, I spotted a platypus but my hastily shot photo is not great.
We all had plenty of laughs, especially at Sarah's one-liners

We all had plenty of laughs, especially at Sarah's one-liners

 

It was relaxing trip and the girls were in good form. It was interesting to swing by Springwood, 3 years after we moved. Our old house had a fence and the new owners are obviously ‘dog people’ if the mad cacophony of barking was anything to go by.

Kakadu slideshow

Here are some of our Kakadu photos taken with a Nikon D90 and iPhone.

Lucy and Sarah enjoyed their camp experience and playing with Catherine, the owners’ daughter named, after Cathy Freeman.

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However, we were a bit disappointed with this camp experience. The tent and all that were fine but only three people (Andy, Doug and Jenny) seemed to do everything – talks, cooking, cleaning, boating etc. – and the experience felt rushed and lacking any freshness. On Trip Advisor the reviewers raved about their experience but thought it was pretty bad, especially the fact that we were hoping the kids would get to try real bush tucker (just had some barramundi) and have more of a chance to talk to the people (who were just too busy making money – get ‘em in get ‘em out as the next crowd has arrived).

Not much was spotted on the night cruise to a billabong but I quite enjoyed Andy’s horror story of the guide who took his backpacker clients swimming and of course, a croc ate one of them. We heard this, moored in the moonlight, but neither of the girls seemed too scared.

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The ranger talks at the art sites in Kakadu were excellent and fresh. Amy at the Angbangbang sites at Nourlangie Rock and later, Annie at Ubirr, gave high quality talks.

Ubirr is a spectacular, awe-inspiring place. We looked at the rock art of course, but felt that the ranger talks really allowed us to appreciate what we were experiencing. Ranger Annie was particularly willing to chat and answer questions.

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It was interesting to meet Dorothea, a German, making a documentary about Indigenous art in the Top End. She will send me the link to the film, which will be available online in August. We both agreed that Annie’s talk explaining kinship and skin names was of an incredibly high quality. In fact, her explanation of the local Bininj peoples’ cosmology was very clever and illuminating. She had good analogies for most of the concepts that are captured on film and I should be able to link the documentary here in August.

Unfortunately, I did not have a powerful enough lens to truly capture these two jabiru storks, probably mother and offspring, magnificently perched in the distance.

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Lucy and Sarah enjoyed the talks too, especially the children’s creation stories about the Rainbow Serpent which led to a great discussion about religion and belief. Lucy asked some smart questions.

I’ll make a slideshow of my rock art photos when I get home and upload to this blog.

Kakadu

It is an easy drive to Yellow Water, Cooinda where we stayed two nights at Gagadju Lodge. We had some elegant frog companions at our front door.

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The cruise, commencing at Yellow Water billabong, was magnificent and Margaret, the ranger guide, excellent. I snapped 300 photos of crocodiles and birds. We had one of those moments; you know the kind where you’re watching a predator close in for the kill on some cute, defenceless animal, and you are willing it to escape. A crazy bird wandered within a few feet of a largish croc and we waited 20 minutes expecting the lunge and swirl of feathers. The guide guessed the croc was either, full or too cold to be bothered as it basked in the early morning sunshine on the banks.

I am pleased with these few photos:

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Mindil Markets

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I have been to Mindil Beach Sunset Markets before but they were much bigger and bustling this Thursday night. The girls eschewed face-painting for hair braiding which seems pretty permanent. It was a long process but both girls were steady as Vanessa worked her braiding magic.

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There was a wildlife show which the kids liked as it had much drama and tension, culminating in a woman being menaced by a snake.

I bought a good hat made, it sounds bad I know, of old truck canvas. Kate got a bag and we ate deliciously well from an organic stall, Japanese tempura and Malaysian halal with juices.

The kids danced hard to the band.

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The Kimberley

Flying over The Kimberley, from Broome to Darwin, was especially thought-provoking as I am reading Peter FitzSimons’ latest tome, on Charles Kingsford Smith. Coincidentally I was at the part where ‘Smithy’ was speaking about his experiences flying over this very region. He knew that engine failure would mean near certain death as the Aboriginals and terrain is unforgiving and hostile.

We landed at Kununnura and Sarah and I disembarked to stretch our legs. I wanted to take some snaps but there was some kind of security audit in progress and security prevented my shots of the airport and surrounds. From the air, the land around here seems so fertile and the waterways designed brilliantly well to irrigate crops.

Darwin was hot but we quickly picked up our hire car and went for a dip out our resort pool. The girls were highly impressed with the waterfall.

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