Y is for Yellow Waters

a-to-z-letters-yY IS FOR YELLOW WATERS

Way back at the letter C is for Cooinda I made reference to a touring feature based there. The Yellow Waters cruise is, for my money, one of the best things you can do in Kakadu National Park. For bird watchers or croc seekers it has plenty on offer. For those who want to chill out just pottering along through the waterways it’s just perfect.

A jacana (aka Jesus bird because they appear to walk on water), backlit by the sun.

A jacana backlit by the sun.

Whenever you visit you’re bound to see something different because nature doesn’t run to a schedule of activities: we’ve seen a croc take a large barramundi, brolgas dancing, jabiru, pelicans (occasionally), azure kingfishers, sea eagles and a steady avian diet of cormorants, night herons and jacanas.

A tranquil scene on Yellow Waters.

A tranquil scene on Yellow Waters.

A male jacana and a chick.

A male jacana and a chick.

During the Wet Season the cruise is one of the activities that still continues but it is different because the water is so much higher, and with more water around, the birds are less desperate for places to hang out.  On the flip side you may see magnificent wet season clouds, all puffy and thunderous against the sky.

A sea eagle with his catch, a file snake.

A sea eagle with his catch, a file snake.

As you cruise through narrow channels into the larger billabong and waterways I sometimes feel like I’m on a secret pathway. It’s a rare trip when we haven’t seen something special and on a recent trip (the first we’ve done for a while) we saw a gorgeous rainbow, tiny jacana chicks and a sea eagle up a dead tree with his capture of a file snake (good tucker for all apparently).

Pot of gold Yellow waters low

Is there a pot of gold at Yellow Waters?

During the Dry Season the birds proliferate but then so do the tourists, but since you’ll be one you can hardly complain <smile>. The tour guides are very efficient and knowledgeable about the area. Our most recent guide (Mandy I think from memory) was the daughter of a traditional elder and she had lots to share with us. Some guides are more into birds, other into culture and Indigenous life, but all know that the average tourist is desperate to see a crocodile (count me out!).

The locals enjoy throwing in a line when time permits.

The locals enjoy throwing in a line when time permits.

I was saddened to learn on the recent visit that the boats can no longer get down into the Melaleuca “swamp” where it was rather like being a serene yet spooky forest.

an old photo, probably the Dry Season, with pelicans,

an old photo, probably the Dry Season, with pelicans, water lilies, ducks and herons.

Everywhere you will see lotus flowers, water lilies and other flowering trees like some of the mangroves. What’s flowering again depends on the season.

Trying to impress his mate, this brolga was right into the dance.

Trying to impress his mate, this brolga was right into the dance.

If you do travel to the Territory I hope you take this short voyage because it’s superb, and if you’re staying overnight at the lodge, perhaps book for the sunrise or sunset trip because you can either get a gorgeous sunrise through the mist which rises off the water in the Dry Season, or a blood orange sunset.

A serene sunset  over the water.

A serene sunset over the water.

Why visit: If you love nature, birds or just the serenity of being on the water.

Coming on to the end of the afternoon, the colours and reflections were so pretty.

Coming on to the end of the afternoon, the colours and reflections were so pretty.

FYI: There’s 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.

Snowflake water lilies look like something by Monet.

Snowflake water lilies look like something by Monet.

TODAY’S AUSSIE-ISMS

Yarn: chat or tell a story

Yakka: a brand of men’s work wear

Yakka: logically enough, hard work.

Youse: vernacular plural of you (used by some people but sets my teeth on edge)

Yobbo: a rough and ready person, rough around the edges, uncouth.

Y is for Yeehaa! Only one more A to Z post to go!

C is for Cooinda touring

a-to-z-letters-c

Today we’re travelling to Kakadu National Park, about 300kms from Darwin in the Northern Territory.

C is for COOINDA

Cooinda offers one of Kakadu’s hotel options, Gagadju Lodge Cooinda. More importantly it’s also home of the famous Yellow Waters cruise which is a year-long tourist opportunity. For my money it’s a “must do” activity if visiting the Top End of the Northern Territory and this will be our visit on . Cooinda provides a hub for a variety of tourist activities from visiting Nourlangie Rock to checking out the bird life (but preferably not the crocs) on Anbangbang billabong.

Approaching Nourlangie. © Pauleen Cass 2012

Approaching Nourlangie. © Pauleen Cass 2013

Cooinda is also the neighbour to a wonderful Indigenous museum, the Warradjan Cultural Centre which offers the visitor the opportunity to learn more about Indigenous life and culture. The video-taped interviews are well worth listening to. It’s sometimes called the Turtle House because it’s in the shape of a turtle which is really only apparent from the air.

Anbangbang Billabong is a bird-spotter's delight in the Dry Season. © Pauleen Cass 2012

Anbangbang Billabong is a bird-spotter’s delight in the Dry Season. © Pauleen Cass 2012

Yellow Waters is a bonzer tourist opportunity and is enjoyable in either the Wet or the Dry Season. In the Dry season, Yellow Waters is a haven for bird life as the surrounding billabongs and waterways contract. The crocs also quite like to sit on the banks to sun themselves when the water’s a bit chilly. Like any wildlife opportunity what you see varies enormously but on the early morning or late afternoon cruises you are more likely to see birds. Of course in the Dry, being peak tourist season, there’s also a proliferation of tour buses etc. Visitors who venture forth in the Wet need to be aware they won’t see as much bird life, or as many crocs, but it’s so tranquil boating through the laneways of overhanging paperbarks (Melaleucas).

A taste tempter: Y is for Yellow Waters © Pauleen Cass 2013

A taste tempter: Y is for Yellow Waters © Pauleen Cass 2013

Why Visit: If you love nature, have a fascination with birds, are obsessed with crocodiles or want to learn more about traditional Aboriginal life and culture.

FYI: There’s 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

Cranky: cross or in a bad temper

Crank: someone who’s a bit obsessed about something (hmm another name for family historians)

Calithumpian*: a description used for someone with no fixed religious affiliation, or perhaps doesn’t want it known. eg “She’s a Calithumpian not a Catholic/Methodist/Anglican”

Cobber*: Once a vitally important word in the Aussie lexicon, this term has progressively disappeared. It was very much in vogue at the time of World War I and expresses something beyond mere friendship – a deep link between men who could rely on each other in times of great need or danger like the outback or war. “Don’t forget me Cobber” is the name of a book about WWI men at the Battle of Fromelles.

Charge like a wounded bull: an exorbitant price being charged for something. “You don’t want to shop there mate, they charge like a wounded bull.”

Crook: usually meant to signify someone is unwell (he’s feeling a bit crook today). Alternatively, it means he/she is something of a thief etc “he’s a crook, he’ll charge like a wounded bull”.

Carry on like a pork chop: make a fuss (She/he’s carrying on like a pork chop because he didn’t win the game).

Chunder: vomit aka “Technicolour Yawn” or “Driving the porcelain bus” (especially with a hangover)

Join me tomorrow for an excursion several hundred kilometres down the Stuart Highway.

Lotus flowers

There are masses of lotus flowers at Fogg Dam and also on Yellow Waters billabong in Kakadu National Park. They are beautiful when they’re flowering but there seed pods are also beautiful once the petals have blown away.