Friday, 29 May 2009
While we were up in the NT visiting Mum and her partner, we went camping in Kakadu National Park. Specifically, we camped at Gunlom, after staying overnight at the Mary River Roadhouse.
I cannot recommend Gunlom highly enough. It was simply stunning. The camp ground itself is lovely - full of beautiful gums and pandanus. However, the real highlight is the access to two amazing swimming spots.
The closest swimming spot is a large waterhole, surrounded by high cliffs and fed by a large waterfall. You just have to wander about 100 metres from the campground - along a shady tree-lined path - to access this one. The water is emerald green from a distancec, and crystal clear up close. You enter the water from a small sandy beach and find that it is full of beautiful fish that will swim all around you. (There are also some fresh water crocodiles, but they, mercifully, kept their distance.)*
If you decide to climb the steep hillside near the camp for about 45 minutes then you will reach the top of the waterfall. Here there are a series of cascading waterholes, the last of which is called the 'infinity pool' because the edge just disapears into the horizon. Once again you enter the water from a small sandy beach and then you have your pick of little pools of water that seem to represent an ever changing array of greens and blues, depending on the light. It really is something special.
After all of this climbing and swimming, you can return to the campsite and warm up the cool evening with a camp fire. (All while pretending that your headlamp is a camera.)
*Parks staff clear the area of the more dangerous saltwater crocs prior to tourist season and then continue to monitor it throughout the season. Of course, one may still decide to pay a visit and so you do have to swim here at your own risk... Apparently the crocs can't get into the upper waterholes though.