Friday, July 9, 2010


After a quick pack up (we're very good at it now), we drove into Jabiru and Heath + Bec went and did some grocery shopping, while Georg, Frey and I did the petrol run. Once we were all in the car, we started the short drive to Mary River Park. On the way we stopped at Mamukala Wetlands lookout (nice...but not spectacular yet because of the high waters), the South Alligator River (high tidal river with cream colour water) and The Bark Hut in where the girls got to pat Water Buffalo, donkeys etc.

When we got to the park, we set up down by the river and Caleb arrived (a relative of our family from Mildura). He works at the park, but was heading to Darwin for a few days and wanted to take us out fishing for Barra before he Dad, Georg and I got organised and went out on the river with Caleb as our guide (he's the official fishing guide here!). We trolled up the Mary River and in 5 minutes I'd caught a large catfish....then in another 5 minutes I'd caught another catfish.....and in another 2 minutes I'd caught a barramundi. It was 2cm too small! Oh was a nice fish and I was enjoying getting all of the fish! While we were traveling up the river, Caleb showed us quite a few crocs...but we didn't see the Cow Cruncher....a 5 and a half metre monster that lives just up from the park.

On the way back down the river, Dad landed a good barramundi...around 62cm. He was very happy! We did another dash up the river and I was lucky enough to get another barra....this time a lot bigger at 65cm! I was pretty happy, as it was a rather large fish. Caleb had to get back then, so we returned to the park...and we tracked down a Black Bittern on the that was really good. Caleb filleted the fish for us before departing to Darwin. We really appreciated the trip out fishing and it was good to see him.

The next day we got up and drove to the Corroboree Park Tavern. We caught a mini bus out to Corroboree Billabong and did a 1 hour cruise on the billabong. It was very beautiful with all of the usual birds and this time, lots of brolga. The crocs in here were huge and the guide kept pulling the boat in right beside the crocs sunning themselves on the bank. I swear....we were all pooing our pants....cause this 4m croc was just sitting 2m away from us....we made sure we didn't hang our arms over the side!

Then we traveled on to the Adelaide River....where we had lunch near the cruise centre. Nice...but expensive! From here...we drove about 10km down the road to Fogg Dam....this was awesome. You drive out over the dam wall looking over the most beautiful wetlands (that used to be rice pattie fields but they failed due to all of the birds eating the crops). We couldn't walk out on the dam wall, because there is a huge 5m croc lurking around the area...and they haven't been able to catch him in the croc trap as yet. On the way out to the end of the dam wall....we had to stop to let a turtle cross the road. The girls named him Terry. When we got to the end of the dam wall...we saw a huge goanna loping around...and brolga, jabiru etc. Got quite a few types of finch out there, which was good! On the way back along the dam wall we stopped to watch a jacana walking on the water (or waterlilies) beside the car.

Windows on the Wetlands was next....a big observatory overlooking the floodplains with information about all of the animals and plants. It was very good...but we had to rush to get back to the Jumping Croc Cruise on the Adelaide River. We did the 3pm cruise and had a ball going up the river, watching as the lady made huge crocs jump up out of the water to eat a pork chop! We even saw her feed white bellied sea eagles and whistling + black kites. We had torrential rain and all of the locals were confused because they just don't get rain in the dry season! We got soaked...but dried out in about 5 minutes when it it was hot and about 32 degrees.

We drove home and I did the Bird Billabong walk looking for birds....not much about and not much of a billabong really. A professional birdo had just seen a huge flock of Gouldian he took me back to look....but of course, no luck!

The next day we got organised and went for a drive out to Shady Camp. This is reached up a 57 km dirt road. On the way we stopped at Brian Creek Monsoon Forest. We all started the walk in, but Bec, Georgia, Heather and Frey got scared by the long grass. Dad and I continued and were rewarded with a patch of rainforest as good as any in the wet tropics of Far North Queensland. There was a huge strangler fig in the middle of the forest too...and when Dad looked into the creek...guess what ran up the bank and hid? Another Black Bittern!

We drove all of the way to Shady Camp and hated it. Dusty, no shade and mosquito heaven. We had a picnic under a tree...and looked up to see a Barking Owl looking down at us! After lunch we looked at the freshwater/saltwater barrage where they catch all of the barramundi from and saw a few large crocs sunning themselves on the river bank. We decided to go back to the park for the arvo. We spent the arvo in the pool drinking beverages and eating hot potato wedges. At 5pm Dad and I drove out to where the birdo saw the Gouldian Finch to see if we could strike it lucky. The area was a recently burnt patch of ground under some trees....with a bit of regrowth. A finch flew down to the ground and I was excited....but disappointed when I saw that it was a masked finch. Lol....but then...down came a Gouldian Finch! By the time we'd left, we found a flock of around 50 birds....Dad thought it was amazing. I was pretty excited too! Told a couple of other young fellas that were bird watchign where they they thought I was person of the year too!

The rest of the time at Mary River was spent at the park, under tropical trees...with an open fire each night to keep the mosquitoes at bay! Couldn't sit near the fire though...too hot! Lol


  1. A black bittern, barking owl.....GOULDIAN FINCH!!! Don't bother coming back to Victoria!!!! - Gary!!!
    P.S. I just photographed a rose robin.

    You are certainly making the most of the trip.

  2. Lol....I couldn't believe it either Gary. Absolutely unreal! Thought of you when I saw them, but also believe you will be a shoe-in to see them when you two take off...apparently they are the most frequently seen finch now along the Keep River Road according to this birdo! So plan to go there....

  3. Hi guys, A great read today catching up with your travels. Photos are great.Make sure you have a swim in Florence falls Litchfield NP. Think of us all tomorrow back at school.

  4. I am so envious, we left Darwin on the Thursday night around 26 degrees and flew into Melbourne Friday morning to 1 degree!!!! Hope you enjoy your time in Darwin and have a swim for me I really wanted to stay. Think of us all tomorrow back at school in all our winter gear and the heaters going full boar. Cheers Chris

  5. Hi MBFG
    ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh sounds so wonderfully hot!!!!!!!!.Like the pics of the heads in the holes and the enormous croc and big fish.
    The cruise sounds nice.
    Missing you all especially Georgia
    LOVE the pics

  6. Hi all,
    What a fantastic holiday and seeing so many wonderful places. Don't know about all those close encounters with the crocs - those things terrify me!
    The photos are just great.
    Keep enjoying the wonderful warm weather - my fingers are frozen as I try to write this!
    Hey Georgia - the netball team is missing you. We've had three losses in a row without you, though we had a really close game against United White and played a pretty good game against Saints Green.

  7. Deb....we will think of you when we swim in Florence. Sorry you guys are freezing down there....but the good news is...we're going to be there in it too soon! Lol

    Chris...was great to see you. I think Heath felt like you...left the warm...flew into the cold...and would've liked to have stayed. I went to Berry Springs and thought of you when I swam there after you mentioned going there! It's so beautiful...hoping to go back tomorrow.

    Kath...don't worry...Georgia is really missing you guys! She is grouchy with me for taking her away for such a long time. Lol

    Dowies...great to hear from you guys...liked your comment about the crocs. I think the girls are all "Croc-ed out!". That big one really was scary, as it was only 2 metres from the boat...and I was sitting right beside it! I'll tell Georgia about the netballers...she misses you all and can't wait to get back to play. Fingers and toes for the next few games!

  8. Hey MBGF,

    Wish I was there! It is good you are having lots of fun. Love the photo of the croc. Miss you lots Georgia. Have fun!!

    From Jess Evans

  9. Hi guys sounds like you are having fun.

  10. Jess! Great to hear from you....Georgia is really looking forward to getting home! She's missing all of you girls very much. Glad you liked the croc pic. It was scary sitting next to him!

    Ellie...we are having fun. Starting to want cooler weather at night we are finding it hard to sleep....quite warm and humid.