Thursday, April 23, 2009

Day 54- Katherine

Jordy was up crazy early this morning. Lucky we all had to be up for our tour anyway cos he was knocking on Grandma and Grandpa's door before the sun was even up. We had our picnic packed and were all in the truck at 8 and on our way out to the gorge.

When we got to the helipad area Tim stayed back a little so that Jordy would not see the helicopter. Tim had already flown over the gorge before so he decided he would wait with the kids in at the park while Mum, Dad, and i did the tour, and we did not want Jordy to see what we were doing because he just loves planes and helicopters and would be upset if he saw us. BIG MISTAKE. I have to say that i am so, so, so disappointed that we did that cos we found out afterwards that he could have come and sat on my lap for free. I am still so disappointed now when i think about it because he would have loved it.

Anyway, no point having regrets and i think one of us will do another flight at Kakadu or somewhere just so he can have a turn as well.

The pilot was great and they were really generous with the flight. We were there early and were their first tour of the day so it was supposed to start at 9:00 but we were in the helicopter at about quarter to nine while he did his pre-flights and then in the air well before 9. We had paid for an eight gorge (12min) flight and added an 8minute extension to do a landing. But we did not get back until about 9:30.
The divisions between each of the gorges are not what i expected. I thought they might be divided by narrower openings in the rock or maybe by a waterfall or something but it is often just a shallow section of rapids or not much at all. From the air we could see little pools off to the sides and get a good appreciation for how high the water gets in flood time.

We landed on a little rocky outcrop at the tenth gorge and from there we could see the last three gorges. We had heaps of time to wander around and take lots of photos. I was absolutely busting to go to the toilet! LOL! And, unbelievably, the National Parks have not seen fit to build an amenities block up there amongst the rocks so i had to hold on for forever!
I tried to spot the truck parked down at the tour centre on the way back but could not see it. After we landed we headed into the visitors centre and had a look around (and went to the toilet!!). They have a nice display about the land around the gorge and it's history.

We had thought about doing a boat cruise as well but there is a 7am breakfast cruise where you can see the sun rise over the gorge and i think the colour in the rock and the stillness of the water would be amazing in the morning so we decided to leave it and see if we can get back this way and camp overnight at the gorge on one of our weekends off further in the season. The gorge is still closed to swimmers and canoes cos they have not finished their croc surveys and have found two salties in the gorge this year and i would love to go canoeing as well so even more of a reason to come back.

We had our picnic lunch down in the park and had a look at the gorge from ground level. Then we went for a bit of a wander to see if we could hunt down a geocache in the area. No luck! Too well hidden for us. But we managed to track one down closer to town on our way home.

We grabbed a couple of water li-lo things on the way through town and were home just after lunchtime. Sat around for a bit and then packed the kids in the bike caboose and rode over to the Low Level Nature park at the river. There is quite a flow to the river and it goes over a few small rapids. We have driven over it a few times and have been keen to get in there for a swim. The water was super nice and warmed just enough from the hotsprings upriver that it was beautiful to swim in. Lots of kids fishing up near the bridge too catching black bream and even the odd barra using cast nets.

Tim blew up the massive li-lo! and we took the kids floating down the river. Splashed around for quite a while riding down the current and walking back up to the bridge again.

Then we rode back to the park for a drink and some chips. Would have been lovely to have a beer but Katherine is a dry town and you can't have open bottles of alcohol away from home.
We saw a few FA-18s flying overhead and Jordy wanted to see more so we rode home and got changed and headed out to the airport. We managed to totally luck out and two fighter jets landed just as we arrived. Then one sat on the runway and blasted his engines for about a minute. It was crazy loud!! Incredible! Then it took off and was out of sight before you knew it.
Took the opportunity to hunt down another cache! LOL! Jordy found a gnome inside that he quite liked. Then we drove over to the other side of town to see the Ghan which was due to depart this afternoon. I was hoping to have a look inside the train but when we got there i think people were boarding so it must have been not far off leaving. Plus i will admit from the outside it did not look all that impressive. Not sure what i was expecting. Tim said "it's a train!? What did you think it would look like!?" I thought maybe flashier! ?? It did look nice though- as opposed to your regular Sydney commuter train. Nabbed ourselves another cache out near the station and then home for a quick dinner.

Tim made some great fritters. We had left over corned beef and he chopped up heaps of vegies and we told Jordy they were Dinner Pancakes. We made some dairy-free ones for Darcy and he just hoed in! And Jordy usually eats two mouthfuls for dinner and that's it (seriously) but he kept saying "How good are these!" and ate half nearly a full pancake. Miracle. We will be having Dinner Pancakes again in the near future.

I totally crashed at 8pm putting Darcy to bed. Tim fell asleep too putting Jordy to bed but he woke up later and then web-cam chatted to some friends from home and ended up staying up past midnight.

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