K causes a kerfuffle

a-to-z-letters-kRather than inundate readers I’ve tried to be selective in which places we visit, balancing those that are a bit unusual with the ones most tourist will visit. Today’s choices were “Konflicting” and caused a kerfuffle in my decision-making, so it’s a quick “plug” for each of them.

KATHERINE GORGE (Nitmiluk)

Katherine Gorge is one of the Territory’s iconic sights. The gorge winds through rocky cliffs and progressively narrows. Adventurous travellers can opt to canoe the gorge, and there are levels of access to the famous cruises as well, depending on the individual’s fitness and mobility. Even if you can’t clamber over the rocks that lead between the different levels you will still enjoy your peaceful outing.  Energetic bushwalkers also love the gorge and Nitmiluk national park as there are some great bush walks there….or so I’m told…don’t look to me for advice on that, I’m afraid!083 Katherine Gorge small res

It gets very hot on those rocks, whatever the season, so make sure you,  “slip, slop, slap”  to use one of our iconic Aussie-isms, ie slip on a shirt, slop on some sun cream and slap on a hat”.

084 Katherine Gorge canoe small edit_edited-1

Katherine itself is a mixed bag and many visitors find it rather confronting at times. You’d be wise to stay away from the pubs or you might wind up with a knuckle sandwich. Katherine’s about 300kms south of Darwin. Alternatively if you’re heading north, there’s another three hour drive ahead of you (unless it’s the Dry Season and the highway is inundated with slow-moving caravans –once we counted 100 on that leg of the journey…ugh!!).

Unless you’re “head down, bum up” as we say, I suggest you also stop and look at nearby Edith Falls which is a pretty place for a swim and has a pleasant camping area. In fact you may even prefer this to staying in town. Of course if you’ve won the Lotto or want to splash the cash, you might enjoy the new upmarket resort right in the heart of Nitmiluk.

K is for KIMBERLEY

The Kimberley is the vast top corner of Western Australia. When you cross the NT-WA border you are in the Kimberley and will be notching up the klicks as you travel. It’s spectacular, rugged country with great scenery and wonderful sites to visit, some of which you’ll tour here.

From the red rocks and pointillist vegetation...

From the red rocks and pointillist vegetation…

...to the vivid colours of the Kimberley coast at Broome.

…to the vivid colours of the Kimberley coast at Broome.

K is also for KALKARINGI

If you want to take a different route to the Kimberley you can always head out of Katherine on the Buchanan highway then take a left turn heading down the Buntine Highway. This takes you to Halls Creek via Kalkaringi. Until you reach Kalkaringi the road is bitumen but beyond that it’s unsurfaced and variable depending on when the grader went through last. You can’t overnight at Kalkaringi because it’s an Aboriginal community (with a very famous history for gaining equal pay for Aboriginal stockmen) but you might enjoy visiting their Karungkarni Art gallery (pre-booking is probably a good idea).

The wide open spaces near Kalkaringi from a "secret squirrel" spot.

The wide open spaces near Kalkaringi from a “secret squirrel” spot.

Here’s a photo of some of their artists at last year’s Indigenous Art Show in Darwin. After the long drive by the time you get to Halls Creek you may well be knackered, unless you choose to camp somewhere along the way. Fuel opportunities are limited so make sure you have sufficient to go the distance.

270px-Kimberley

FYI: Don’t forget, there are a couple of maps on my A to Z planning post which will help you to pinpoint where today’s tourist spots are situated.

TODAY’S AUSSIE-ISMS

Kiwi: a New Zealander (after their unique bird)

Knackered: exhausted, worn out from working

Knock off: another one that has to be judged by context: (1) knock off work=to finish for the day; (2) knock-off= a copy eg a dress or an idea/concept

Knocker: someone who has to put everything/everyone down

Kerfuffle: a fuss, bother, fight etc

Kaput: finished, broken permanently

Knickers in a knot: don’t get in a fuss “don’t get your knickers in a knot”

Klicks: short for kilometres, you’ll have done a lot of klicks if you were driving to all my touring spots.

Knuckle sandwich: a punch in the mouth (hence why it’s better to stay out of some pubs)

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Take a gander at Geikie Gorge (Djarnku)

a-to-z-letters-gG is for GEIKIE GORGE

On today’s jaunt we’re heading across the Northern Territory-Western Australia border and further west through the Kimberley region to Geikie Gorge or Darngku, about 1500kms. One important thing to remember if you’re heading in this direction is that there are quarantine restrictions on honey, fruit and vegetables, so don’t stock up in Katherine or Darwin before you head off –wait until you get to Kununurra.

The gorge is part of an ancient reef formed in the Devonian period, 360 million years ago. I’m sure you realise I didn’t have this information at the top of my mind and you can learn more about it on this site. The Fitzroy River runs through the gorge and this is where you can take the opportunity for a relaxed boat tour run by the local Aboriginal guides. We did the late afternoon cruise on a camping trip through WA over ten years ago so my memory is hazier than it might otherwise be.

The reflected colours of Geike Gorge near sunset. © Pauleen Cass 2001

The reflected colours of GeikIe Gorge near sunset. © Pauleen Cass 2001

Geike Gorge rocks_smaller

The power of the flooded river on the rocks.

A lasting memory for us is that on our drive back into the town of Fitzroy Crossing where we were camping, we hit a wallaby which the tour guide kindly finished off for the wimpy urbanites. Its leg was broken and it wouldn’t have survived, rather died a painful death as the whistling kites (hawks) were already circling. At least this way it was able to be taken home to be bush tucker for the mob that night.

Ancient rocks compressed.

Ancient rocks compressed.

While in Fitzroy Crossing it’s also worth looking to see what Indigenous art they have for sale at the Mangkaja Arts Centre. The Kimberley is an area of spectacular natural beauty and vivid colours and their art reflects this. There are Indigenous galleries and arts centre scattered through the Northern Territory and I can highly recommend that you at least visit, even if the prices sometimes frighten you half to death. You might be surprised and find something you love in your price range. Certainly they’ve become valuable art investments in the recent decades.

 Why visit: to see some amazing geological formations, a chilled-out boat cruise and a look at fantastic art.

FYI: There are a couple of maps on my A to Z planning post which will help you to pinpoint where today’s tourist spots are situated.

 TODAY’S AUSSIE-ISMS

 G’Day: The iconic Aussie greeting meaning “good day” but apparently remarkably difficult for non-Aussies to replicate.

Gander: take a look

 Galoot*: a silly person.

 Grouse: fabulous, fantastic

Galah: actually a pink and grey bird which tends to do silly things like somersaults on the power lines. When used in relation to a person it also means silly.

 Gurgler: drain eg “that’s money down the gurgler” or “all my hard work down the gurgler”

 Gunna: Aussies have a habit of shortening phrases and names, and just plain slurring their words. Gunna is the equivalent of “going to” or a person who’s also intending to do something but not delivering. He shoulda fixed the car this week but he’s a bit of a gunna.

 Glad rags: fancy clothes. “She must be going somewhere flash, she’s got her glad rags on.”

Garbo: garbage man. Once upon a time he’d jump off the truck, grab the bin, hoist it on his shoulder then run to the truck with it. These days it’s fairly a08utomated with “claws” on the trucks to pick up the wheelie-bins. In rural areas however (see tomorrow), the residents have to take their own rubbish to the tip.

Please visit again tomorrow for an outing a bit closer to Darwin, the rural area with the quaint name, Humpty Doo.