Monday, June 21, 2010


12 June 2010


A very early start today as we had to cross the East Alligator River at Cahill Crossing no later than 7.00am. It was pitch black when we got up. It was just getting light when we crossed over to Arnhem land - west Arnhem.

No way could you think of going in without a permit. So with permit C/127/2010 on hand we were on our way.

After crossing the river we boiled the billy and had breakfast next to the commonly seen sign in the Northern Territory.

It is double sided sign in most places. I don’t know how they expect you to read the reverse side when driving past them.

We had some time to kill as we were going to stop at Oenpelli. We had bought a permit for $13.30 each to be able to go to Injalak Arts and Crafts Centre. Well was that a take! I was under the impression that we would see them at work and have the opportunity to participate in what was going on. There were no locals demonstrating, or working in the centre. The art work –painted, woven- appeared to be mass produced – very similar works stacked in piles. The paintings at the centre though were in what is described as figurative x-ray style of the freshwater period. It was beautifully executed. According to the archeological team of girls that I met at the store who were working on the Injalak Hill rock site the pictures at the centre were exactly the same or very similar to the rock paintings. I question why should we pay to go to a centre that is primarily a local art outlet.

The drive up to Oenpelli was along floodplains,


stony country

and rocky escarpments.

The scenery was beautiful especially around Oenpelli itself.

If anyone passed us or came from the opposite direction the bulldust made you slow down as it was impossible to see because of the dust. So we would wait till the dust started to settle.

We were surprised to see someone cycling along such an isolated  road.

So after Oenpelli off we went heading north making our way past large wetlands interspersed with savanah woodlands. The smell of smoke was frequently in the air as we passed burnt or burning/smoking sections of the country side. We saw several dingoes on the way.

Across Cooper Creek we went

followed by the Causeway at Murgunella.

Again only a few birds at the water. The literature talks of abundance of bird life in the wetlands up north. We have definitely not seen an abundance of birdlife. We’ve seen a smattering of bird life at each wetland area.

The ‚rainforest‘ either side of the Causeway was certainly a change of scenery.

Murgunella must be of reasonable size as it its own airstrip as there is another strip not that far away at Smith Point.  We couldn’t enter the community so we did not know how big it was.

Finally the entrance to the national park. Over a grid and past a vermin fence and we were in.

Hubby had been commenting that there were no termite mounds along the way. Once in the park there were quite a few of them and quite large ones as well. There were some magnetic mounds just past Oenpelli and then only an occasional little one that we could see.

The Kapok flowers are out and the bush has lost its leaves indicating the dry season is really here. The bushes/trees were interspersed between bigger trees.

Finally we arrived at Black Point but there was no ranger in sight. So we registered and drove on to Smith Point campsite 1 as this was a generator free area.

So here we are finally – 570km north east from Darwin. It was 274km from Cahill Crossing and it took us 6 driving hours to do as we took our time and absorbed the scenery as we went.

After setting up camp in a lovely campground we walked across to the beach that is about 300 metres from us.

There are so many tiny flowers and butterflies fluttering between them.

As we watched the sunset

flocks of birds kept passing by.

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