Friday, April 24, 2009

Day 56- Katherine to Adelaide River

I'm a couple of days late with this entry so let's see if i can remember what we did!

While we were in Katherine we had a look at the map to see where we might want to stop next. It's not far from Katherine to Darwin but there was no reason to make it in one day when we could stop and have a look around. Plus we thought it would be good to call into Litchfield on the way past. There were a couple of options halfway between Katherine and Darwin, like the Douglas Hot Springs (although we were probably all hot-springed out), or Edith Falls (seen a few waterfalls) or the Douglas Daly region, or Adelaide River. So we had a look at what was in the area and where might have some kind of village so it might be possible to attend a dawn service and you would not believe it but we discovered that not only was Adelaide River the largest town in the area (population 350) it also has one of Australia's largest war cemetaries. Decision made.

On the way out of Katherine Tim had to fuel up and there was a geocache just down the road that we could not find when we both tried a few days earlier so Tim dropped me off and the time it took him to fuel up was the time i had to find it! LOL! I looked and looked and looked and sweated and looked some more but still could not find the darn thing. It's a micro so only the size of a 5c piece and buggered if i could figure out where it was hiding. Gave up and climbed in the truck for the shortish drive to Adelaide River.

The highway was road-kill central! You'd just get past the stink of one rotting carcase and there would be another. Lovely.

But Adelaide River looked nice. We had decided to stay at the showground and opted for an unpowered site cos it was just $10 a night and there was a breeze blowing and a bit of shade so the air con was not a big deal. There were quite a few other vans and tents there and we were told it would get busy cos the scouts were coming through later in the day. Set up camp nice and quick, had a snack and a drink and then jumped on our bikes to go for a ride around town (Mum and Dad drove!)

We headed over to the historic railway precinct (train museum) for a look around. Lots of old carriages and photos and stuff... and co-incidently another cache for us to find. They really area everywhere! We searched like crazy for this one and when we gave up and went back to the bikes we realised we had read the clues wrong so all four of us went back full of enthusiasm thinking it would be easy now with the clue and spent another half hour and still could not find it. But the kids got to see a huge train go past RIGHT in front of us and it blew its whistle so Jordy thought that was special.
On the bikes and down the highway with a brief stop to look for another cache. Once again we could not find a damn thing! Mugs game, this thing! Gave up and headed to the War Cemetary. Bit of a ride but worth it. Lovely park areas along the river and a really beautiful cemetary area. I was really glad that we went cos it would be impossible for me to attend the service in the morning cos of the kids and i wanted to pay my respects.

So much of the area up here has a lot of wartime history that i was just not aware of. There are several sites that were bombed by the Japanese in WWII (i had no idea just how much bombing they did in Australia!) and there are just heaps and heaps of monuments and buildings and airfields and bunkers and hospitals and EVERYTHING up here that have a huge wartime history. Actually, a lot of the small towns owe their existance solely to the war. But the post office at Adelaide River was bombed and nine civilians were killed and there are well over 400 military graves. We had a good wander through the cemetary and read the plaques for most of the graves. Then we went across to the park for the kids to have a wander. There were a heap of peacocks that were very accustomed to people and Darcy chased them all over. There was a tour bus that arrived while we were there full of backpackers doing a stop at the cemetary and one of the girls filmed Darcy chasing them (he did look funny pointing and 'dook'ing as he tried to run). We finally found a cache for the day- one for four is not great odds! Called into the pub on the way back. Busy little town. I think everyone is here for ANZAC day. Either that or the stuffed buffalo from Crocodile Dundee that's hanging in the bar. Quick beer cos the kids were getting hungry and we were all hot. Actually, the pub is a pretty decent van park too and really cheap.

Back to the showground and into the pool for a cool off. Jordy is swimming really well but i wish we were still doing lessons. He has started to swim nice and flat with his eyes down so we'll get him some goggles soon.

The day cooled off nicely and we cooked a simple dinner of sliced potato, sweet potato, and sausages and mushrooms on the weber. And they were right! It did get busy with the scouts. It was a nice atmosphere with lots of laughing kids and tents going up as the sun went down.

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