. OnHiatus.com > Journal 1 > Day Index > Journal Entry: May 9, 2000

Tuesday, May 9, 2000
Mataranka to Darwin, NT, Australia
Australia's FlagNorthern Territory's Flag

Darwin, NT, Australia:
Latitude: 12° 27' 28" South
Longitude: 130° 50' 28" East
Altitude: 167 feet
From Seattle: 8433 miles
Lodging: Hostel - Frogshollow Backpackers

Today's Travel:
Country: Australia
Region: Northern Territory
Route: Car: Stuart Highway (A1)
Start: Mataranka
Stop 1. Trail Head, Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park
Stop 2. "Pat's Lookout", Windolf Trail, Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park
Stop 3. Trail Head, Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park
Stop 4. Katherine
End:Darwin, NT, Australia
Road Miles:331 miles
Linear:267 miles
Weather: Mostly Sunny / Partial Sun

Available Photos:

Seventeen Mile Canyon and gorge face Windolf Trail, Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park, NT, Australia

East end of first gorge Windolf Trail, Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park, NT, Australia

Falls Southern Rockhole, Windolf Trail, Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park, NT, Australia

All photo images © 1997-2000 Anthony Jones - Images may not be used without prior written approval.

Click on map to Zoom in...
Trip Stats to Date:
Day: 1125
Miles Driven:182164
Linear Dist: 215664
Countries Visited: 68
Regions Visited: 258
More stats...
Hotels: 374
Friends / Family: 293
Camping: 125
Hostels: 249
Transit: 70
Other Lodging: 13
Beers: 3974

Journal Entry:
Did the hour drive to Katherine, then decided to drive right through to get to Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park. Went for the for longest hike the ranger recommended for a half day - the Windolf Trail (5+ mi / 8.5 km). I was a little worried when the ranger said the temperature on the trail was peaking at 45°C (113°F)! It was hot, very hot, but I don't think it was quite that hot - maybe 35°C (95°F). At least the humidity isn't quite so bad out here, though the air is still a little thick.

The trail wandered up a very steep trail to the top of the first gorge - awesome views of Seventeen Mile Canyon stretching in one direction and the sheer, brightly colored walls of the first of the Katherine gorges in the other. From the gorge the trail cuts across a dusty plateau. It's basically featureless brush interrupted every once in awhile by a cluster of startling red or purple flowers. The trail ends at Pat's Lookout, another fantastic view point - looking down into the end of the first gorge, and over the start of the second. From here a side trail follows a contributing stream down to the Southern Rockhole and then on to river itself. The river is closed to swimming due to Estuary Crocodiles (the kind that eat people), but the rock hole is perfect. A nice deep crystal clear pool at the bottom of a beautiful two stage waterfall. After the hot hike it was nearly perfect - the only drawback was that I had to share it with a dozen other people.

Got back to the car about three thirty - still lot's of time until dark, so instead of spending the night in Katherine I decided to make a run for Darwin. I got within an hour of Darwin when it got dark. I stopped to stretch my legs, make a phone call and get a bite to eat and the continued on. The last hour was painful due to the road trains plus the reduced visibility from a series of short but torrential rains. Finally got to Darwin a little after nine. Checked in to the hostel and sat around reading before calling it a night. It is really hot and sticky here - looking at the map I realized that latitude wise this is about the same distance from the equator as Nicaragua - definitely tropical.

Related Sites:
CNN: Current Weather in Darwin
US State Department Consular Information Sheets: Australia
CIA World Fact Book: Australia

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