Sep 30, 2010


Touristique Being near to the East Alligator River, as we walked back to the truck the mozzies started to come out.

By the time we made it to the campsites we were in the midst of a buzz of flies and mosquitoes and midges.

The flies went to bed after we started to get ready for supper, but the biters stayed out and I got an early night.

Nicole elected to tend her fire. Whoops. She was bitten to buggery in the cloud of insects in the hot night air.

The next day were up bright and not that early and headed down to the boat ramp to get on a cruise - only to be told that we needed to book beforehand.

We must have looked sufficiently penitent, miffed and generally inconvenienced because the operators relented and let us on.

And up the East Alligator River we went, spotted crocodiles, of which there were many. But they were all inactive. Apparently they only go fishing at certain tides. But there were some pretty big buggers.

We hopped out of the boat at an Abiriginal Site on the other side of the river, setting foot in Arnhem Land, the Forbidden Zone... by god it was hot.... and got a demonstration of aboriginal spearcraft.

Eloise insisted on collecting the spears, and attempting however inadvertently to poke the eyes out of people stood behind her.

Then back to camp to disassemble and move on to the next fun activity....

Sep 29, 2010

Ubirr and the Need For Water

Rain Over Arnhem Land On our second day we though we'd head up to the border of Arnhem Land.

Quite a long drive along roads where the flood depth signs were there aplenty. The map showed that the plains to our left would be lakes in the wet season. On our right the landscape broke out into majestic sandstone cliffs.

Arnhem Land is Aboriginal Land, off-limits to white folks without a permit, and actually a pretty vast expanse of land. On its border is a little shop, a river with boat tours and a road to a site called Ubirr which boasts panoramic views and Aboriginal Art.

We pitched up at the almost-deserted campsite and picked ourselves a suitable spot in the middle of a forest near a disconcerting promontary of sandstone.

Once the tent was pitched and the flies acclimatised to, we set off in search of further adventure.

Eloise was v. keen to go boating so we went and checked that out, but had missed the last one of the day. We made a note to check back tomorrow and proceeded to Ubirr.

It was belting hot, guessing the mid-thirties, so hats were worn as we set off and before long Eloise announced that actually she needed the toilet so around we turned to perform that function.

Before long we'd set off again and not long after that we'd miraculously drunk half our water.

We were at our second rock art site: Aboriginal naive, dated to around 5,000 years old - when Eloise took a dive and grazed a knee.

Just around the corner though we were treated to the sight of a one-legged park ranger bearing medical supplies. He was a very nice bloke and after raising eyebrows at our hydration policy he gave us some water, with which we proceeded to climb the rocks looking at further rock art which improved as we went round and became actually quite remarkable.

We headed back to the truck to top up our water bottles and got back to the rock for some ranger talks and sunset over the plains.

Sep 28, 2010


Camping Next day we dropped Matilda off at the Doggie Hotel and set off in search of adventure.

We've had a trip booked to the Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory for a while.

Bummer that hairyplanes fly from Brisbane to Darwin but once a day, and that's at silly o'clock.

So we hopped on a plane at 7pm and we were off. Eloise is becoming quite the frequent flyer and just takes it all in her strides.

Landed in Darwin at one in the morning (I think) and stomped across the airport to the hotel to collapse for a few hours.

Then across town to grab the 4WD before a very tentative drive East in the Landcruiser, down the Stuart Highway then the Arnhem Highway and to the edge of Kakadu National Park.

The heat was pretty intense. There are two seasons up there, Dry and Wet. We were there towards the tail end of the Dry.

When the Wet arrives, well the name says it all doesn't it? Except that roads get blocked and vast tracts of land flooded. Very Wet. But not for a few weeks yet.

Kakadu is famous for being a huge expanse of unspoilt National Park and as we headed into it, we started to appreciate the differences with Queensland. The trees are much shorter, and interspersed with palms. The ground is red, and rocky. The rivers are wide, or dry.

And here be monsters... the waterways are populated with crocodiles.

So when we left the highway and made our way to Impromptu Campsite #1 at the attractively named Two Mile Hole, we were a little wary as we pitched our tent a little way from the river, but the wariness was soon replaced by mile irritation as we found we were short of a mallet in our camping kit.

We raised our eyebrows a little at the kids fishing by the riverside, but when the nearby campers buzzed up in their tinny and hopped out with a few Barramundi to sling on the barbie, well we thought what a hardy bunch as we tucked into our Hippy Food then got an early night.

Sep 19, 2010

A Weekend Visitation

Elementary Nicole's cousin Josie has come to stay for the weekend.

She arrived early yesterday morning and it was a surprise for Eloise though she took it in her stride after dragging herself out of her pit at nine o'clock or so. She crept up behind her and greeted her with a very large "Boo!"

We went to the market in the morning as usual for our shopping and coffee then in the afternoon we went up to Mooloolaba and walked the dog on the rocks then had a very nice barbie accompanied by the largest $3 chips I've seen.

Eloise fell asleep in the car on the way back... then woke up just as we were getting home, quite surprised to have managed to drive home so quickly.

This was a harbinger of doom as she then proceeded to fail to fall asleep until she'd moved into our bed, waited until we'd gone to bed, and wriggled around for another half an hour.

She then wet the bed, so I woke up in a monster wet patch.


Today the weather was a bit grim, overcast with light rain, so we went down to South Bank for the Valentino Retrospective and looked at lots of very expensive dresses.

Then we had a look around the Douglas Kirkland exhibition with lots of photos of famous people.

Very cultural, quite entertaining.

Sep 16, 2010

The Body Left Behind

Drowned Other than the off-road-tastic experience I can't profess to any remarkable events over the weekend.

I went to the market, walked the dog, jiggled with music, watched some telly, took some photos, missed some sunsets, explored Deception Bay.

Pretty non-productive really. And a little lonely. But, cost-effective.

By all accounts the family had good travel and a nice time in the two days they were in sunny Angleterre. They were back on Tuesday. Which was nice.

Of course I pass my heart-felt congratulations to the new Mr and Mrs Slimm.


Australians Wouldn't Give a 4X4 for Anything Else So it transpired that a certain somebody had failed to read "PM" and no amount of comparing and contrasting the various documentation would allow her to elude her mistake.

So we went to the beach, built a mega-sandcastle and got them to the airport twelve hours later to catch their real flight.

And they were gone.

Leaving me and the dawg.

I'd previously arranged Friday activities... we have a holiday coming up, which is going to involve rugged four-by-fouring, and I don't mean carpentry.

So I'd requested an off-roading lesson from Will and Friday was the day. And off we went on a rainy, misty morning to Mount Mee State Forest where we drove around for six hours up hill and down slippery precipice, half the time scared witless, the other half just scared half-witless.

The trick with the old four-by-fouring is to always leave the car in gear, never release the clutch and let the machine deal with things whilst driving very carefully!

And an amazing machine that ute is. Truly, amazing. It clung ferociously to the ground and even when the ground was too slippery to cling ferociously to, it slid in an apparently intelligent way - that is in the ruts and tracks of the previous nutters.

There was a point, when it started raining and the clay under-wheel became distressingly slippery that my esteemed teacher thought that, as we descended down a ludicrously steep track we might not make it up the other side.

But we did.

Sep 10, 2010

Left to my own devices

Procession Nicole's brother Chris is getting married to Nicky who you'll of course remember from previously.

Without going into too many details, Nicky's an Aussie and her visa was due to expire, so wedding bells have been ringing. Obviously that's not the only reason and furthermore I wouldn't presume to portray their union as anything other than the consummation and proclamation of their undying love that it so clearly is.

You're probably thinking I'm being sarcastic. But no.

Nicole was umming and ahhing.... could she get the time off work at such short notice, could she justify flying half way round the world just for a couple of days, but could she really not be there when ickle Chris tied the knot?

On Wednesday her heart got the better of her head. I said she should go, or else she'd regret forever that she hadn't.... so she booked the flights and on Thursday morning I gave her and Eloise a lift to the airport.

She got the times wrong for her aeroplane, didn't she, the plonker.

Sep 5, 2010

Father's Day

Science It's Father's Day today in Australia. No fuss. I raised a bit of an eyebrow - or would have if I could have - when Nicole and Eloise realised that they'd completely forgotten.

They should have remembered really because there was a big, well little, Father's Day thing on at school on Thursday where the Dads went along to have songs sung to them and poetry read and to indulge in tower-building competitions wearing cardboard ties, which was nice... but they didn't.

You might think I'm sounding sour grapes but I'm not, I really couldn't give a monkeys. Eloise and I had a nice day walking the dog and we went to the Science Museum in the afternoon and had lots of fun.

Yesterday was Riverfire and turned into a Public Transport Catastrophe. Our plan was to catch a bus from the shiny new Hospital Bus Interchange but as it turned out the quite infrequent buses were full and wouldn't let anyone on, so we engaged a plan B and drove down to New Farm, scored a lucky parking space and watched from atop the cliffs as the F-111s screamed overhead dumping fuel as they went.

I can venture without fear of too much hyperbolae that it was indeed an awesome sight as the jet plane roared up the river apparently chased by the brightest torch you can possible imagine with the yellow light passing over the towers of the city and the shadows chasing around them.