Brisbane to Darwin by Bike - Part 5 - The End of the Bike Ride

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September 1st 2013
Published: September 1st 2013
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25th August 2013 - Day 33
Distance Traveled today : 145km
Total : 3226km

Was a cold night, I had to zip up the sleeping bag for the first time in a long time, and I ended up sleeping in on a day I really wanted to start early to get to Nitmiluk National Park early. Most of the road today was forest as yesterday, however a lot of it was burnt out. Caught up to David at the rest area one more time. There seemed to be more traffic closer to Katherine, and people weren't moving over as much so had to be more watchful of passing cars. Once in Katherine I visited the information office to ask about the national park, did some shopping at Woolworths and ate at McDonalds. Katherine reminds me of Mt Isa. After 4pm I was off to Nitmiluk National Park. Unfortunately as I was heading east I had a head wind for most of the way so it was slow going. Watched a small helicopter land along the way - sight seeing tours. Finally made it to the camp ground just after 6pm. Lots of wallabies at the campground, one even got almost within touching distance, another had a baby in its pouch.


26th August 2013 - Day 34
Distance Traveled today : 0km (bike)
Total : 3226km

Got up around sunrise time, and went to organize the canoe plus the camping permit. Unfortunately no one from the national parks for a while so went back to pack tent up, wrapped things to take, in rubbish bags. When I got back I was able to get the camping permit and set off. The first gorge consisted of a long pedaling section with increasing cliffs. Had to leave my Kayak behind here and get another one on the other side of rocks. Fairly long walk with all my things - I took sleeping bag, tent, jumper, spare pants, some food, tripod, camera, 3L orange juice and towel (turned out I didn't use half of them). From there the cliffs became sheer and close to the water. Eventually there where more rocks between this and the next gorge. I had to get out of the canoe and carry it over to the next section, I ended up taking paddle, camera and water bottle initially and then came back for canoe with other stuff still in it. Canoe seemed heavy and it was hard lifting it and carrying. The rocks between gorge 3 and 4 where even harder as it was multiple long sections with no water, I met a couple from Melbourne who where also going to camp. In gorge 4 I needed to use the emergency phone to let the National Park people know I wouldn't make it to Gorge 9 and would camp at 6 instead. Unfortunately I stumbled getting out and it was a choice of either getting everything in the Kayak wet or diving out to minimize the water in the Kayak so I dived out getting covered in sand and water. Managed to get most things in Kayak wet except for camera (phew). Had to climb the cliff to reach the phone, great views of the river below. Once back at the boat I continued on, the couple from Melbourne decided to stay at Gorge 4 which had fantastic views. I watched a bird dive into the water and swim under my kayak. Rock section onto Gorge 5 was very short so it was easy. Gorge 5 consisted of a long narrow gorge with high cliffs on both side. There where 3 sets of rocks to get over onto section 6, the first short but the next two longer. After the last I spotted a dead croc. The campsite for gorge 6 was not far away. Its located between two cliffs with sand in between. Unfortunately all my things where wet including my tent so I hung them up to dry, as it was windy it all dried quickly. I had my sandwich, muffin and mandarin for dinner. A couple of sneaky crows stole my bag of rubbish from my food and made a mess (I picked it up the next day). Next I watched the cliffs change colour as the sun set, then setup my tent. Finally watched as the stars came out and the milky way could be seen between the two cliff faces, it was an amazing sight! Finally I retired to my tent - no mattress so was a hard bed just on the sand.


27th August 2013 - Day 35
Distance Traveled today : 0km (bike)
Total : 3226km

Got up around sunrise time, and watched the sun hit some of the cliffs for the first time. Mandarin for breakfast as decided not to bring cereal. Then packed up and set off. The cliffs looked fantastic in the morning light. Met a bush walker at 4th Gorge, he said it was hard work walking here, the couple from Melbourne where gone decided to head back early I would later learn. A small frog jumped into my kayak here and I couldn't get it out as it went deeper into the kayak. The rock crossings seemed easier today, I guess I got the hang of it the previous day. I used the river water for drinking water, it tastes a little sandy but ok, as the NP people said to do this to minimize amount of stuff carried. I got back at around 2pm, stumbled my way out onto the mooring managing to get my shorts wet and sandy. Splurged on food at the Cafe - ice block, sandwich, muffin, can of coke, and ice tea all came to almost $30 but I was thirsty and hadn't eaten much. Next I put up the tent and had a shower (managed to keep things fairly dry on the return trip). In the afternoon I went to the lookout to watch the sunset, fantastic view over Gorge 1.


28th August 2013 - Day 36
Distance Traveled today : 29km
Total : 3255km

Just a short day on the bike from the Gorge to Katherine. I stopped by an aboriginal art gallery on the way, they had some nice stuff but it was all fairly expensive. Once in Katherine I caught up on some net time, Subway for lunch, shopping at Woolworths for tomorrow and dinner, had a look at some more Aboriginal art and finally bought a spare tire for just under $20. Was quite humid today. Relaxing day for a change!


29th August 2013 - Day 37
Distance Traveled today : 125km
Total : 3380km

Late start as everyone was asleep in the dorm and didn't want to wake them too early. Out of Katherine the road got more hilly but they are fairly gentle hills so not a big deal, also a lot more traffic probably more than I've seen anywhere else on this trip except for Ipswitch. The landscape has also change, there are boulders beside the road, this is how I actually imagined all of NT would look like, and now there are also all sorts of palms beside the road. The rivers / creeks now have at least some water. Met the couple who I had met earlier on the Barkley Highway, they where now cycling south with their nephew. He has cycled all the way here from the UK and been on the road for two years. I had lunch at Pine Creek - store was closing so could only have sausage roll. Pushed on to Emerald Springs. The roadhouse / caravan park has lovely landscaping and the camping spot is all grassed with lots off trees around. Really well setup but doesn't seem to be many staying here. I sore the first snake go past my tent of this trip, only about 30cm long didn't particularly seem scared of me when I followed it with the head lamp. Will be storing shoes in tent tonight!


30th August 2013 - Day 38
Distance Traveled today : 134
Total : 3514

Landscape was quite dramatic up to Hayes Creek. Rocky hills, boulders and the highest termite nests I've seen (one was about twice my height). I had some chocolate cake and 1.2L of Coke at Hayes Creek, there was a bunch of drunk aboriginals there - sad to see. Then they all got in an old car and drove off. Kept going to Adelaide River - passed a number of US army convoys. These actually go in a convoy of about 6 cars each, the APC had soldiers in helmets sitting on the outside, and there were lots of hummers looked like the ones from Iraq with yellow paint. At Adelaide River I had Barramundi, chips and salad and took a photo of Charlie the buffalo from Crocodile Dundee. Pushed on to Coomalie Creek Caravan Park - but no toilets or possibility to buy supplies so thought I'd push on to Acacia Store, got there just at sun set. Unfortunately the old store had closed about a week earlier, the new one hadn't opened yet and the caravan park was closed for maintenance with no one around. So waited for owners to come back and when they did they let me camp there plus gave me a feed of Barramundi and chips without wanting any money and I got a shower. Really nice people. Quite a humid evening so had trouble falling asleep.


31st August 2013 - Day 39
Distance Traveled today : 64
Total : 3578

Early start as the dogs found an intruder - me around sunrise so I was on the road at 7:30am. Bought apple juice at Noonamah and had a quick snack before going on. Lots of traffic on the final day and most of the way was a dual carriage way with a wide verge. I still had to be focused on cars passing me. Made it to Darwin at noon, 2 hours too early to check into the hotel, so rested in the park. Darwin looks quite modern, a lot more so then I expected.

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