Onward and upward we arrive in Darwin

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DCC_Logo_SPOTThe drive from Katherine was a good one except for our power steering issues at low revs, where it had become an arm wrestle.

We booked into The Boomerang Park at Virginia for a few nights as it is close to our house sit at Gunn. A nice park but packed in like sardines.

 

 

We booked the chariot in with a workshop in Palmerston and began what would be an almost 2 week saga trying to rectify the heavy steering. The oil pressure was fine and a replacement sender unit had that fixed OK. The steering was another issue. The pump was full of metal as the plating inside had deteriorated so a complete flush out, new pump and new hoses were fitted, to find that there was only a slight improvement.  The next step was to replace the steering box and then yaay it was fixed, until during a test drive it reverted to being heavy again. A marked improvement but still not right.

We put up with it for a few days, until the vehicle could be seen by a power steering specialist, who found that the new pump was faulty. The end result is that we now have a replacement pump fitted plus a new reservoir, hoses and steering damper, and the original steering box is back on. So far no further dramas, and all working fine. In the final wash up we have paid for the oil pressure sensor and a new power steering pump.

P1090547Despite the foregoing we are enjoying Darwin and our house sit looking after Peanut, who is a little treasure.

Elizabeth River Jetty

 

 

 

 

 

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We have been to the Mindil Beach night markets and the Beer Can Regatta at Mindil Beach which also gave a second dose of the markets and a great sunset.

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A visit to the fish markets and lunch on the pier enabled us to look out on the now Chinese owned Darwin Harbour.

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Black ButcherbirdHoward Springs was good place to visit with a good monsoon forest walk and on the way out we met a very hungry looking dingo.

Rainbow Pitta

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Green FrogThe Territory Wildlife Park is a must see for anyone visiting the Top End. We spent a full day there and could have stayed longer if the legs had been willing. The bird show in particular was spectacular with arrange of raptors and other birds flying in the open to feed right in front of us with a very knowledgeable commentator supplying their tucker.

 

 

 

 

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Cullen Bay

An evening barra and chips at La Beach overlooking  Fannie Bay was washed down with a glass or two of Sav. Blanc, as you do!

We have exchanged our large TV in the van for a smaller one and subject to reception will be watching some of the Olympics along the way.

LPG here is 1 cent/litre dearer than petrol so needless to say we are running around on unleaded.

The Burrow has been squeezed across the driveway during our stay. P1090685

We have a few more days here in Darwin and then hit the road again via Litchfield National Park for places south and then west across to Broome.

We are looking forward to the next stages of “The Journeys of The Burrow.”

It is now almost ten months since we set out on this adventure.

Onward to Manbulloo on the banks of the Katherine River

campAfter a most enjoyable stay at Bitter Springs, Mataranka we headed for Katherine and Manbulloo  Station.

As World War 11 loomed closer to northern Australia the defence of the north became a priority for the Australian Government, even more so after the bombing of Darwin on 19th February 1942. Airfields and Army Camps were established between Darwin and Alice Springs, some larger and more complex than others. Manbulloo Station on the banks of the Katherine River became a major military establishment in the area.

Today, the lovely treed and shaded area for a caravan park and camp site is only a short walk to the river and is close to the homestead.

 

After setting up camp here we drove into Katherine and cast a pre poll vote and did some shopping.Cherabin avo cocktail

We set a couple of traps for Cherabin, a local freshwater prawn, and were successful in catching a couple of good feeds. Our trap was raided by someone who also must have enjoyed “our catch “.

P1090503There is quite a good flow in the river and although they are there we saw no evidence of fresh water crocodiles here.

Blue winged Kooka Hooded Parrot

Bush Stone CurlewBlack headed gouldian finch

The bird life is abundant with many different species and a varied evening and morning chorus.

A visit to the local Toyota dealer produced a quote for parts only to repair the power steering and oil sensor unit of almost $3,000, and a wait of 3 weeks. Subsequently rang a repair shop in Darwin and parts and labour should be much less than that. ( More in the next post from Darwin.)

P1090518Katherine Hot Springs is not far from Manbulloo and we were rewarded with a couple of relaxing dips in the warm and clear water.

 

 

 

 

 

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Another cooler and refreshing swim was at Edith Falls, a really lovely place and beautifully maintained park to the north of Katherine.

Paddock on fire 1We were camped at Manbulloo on Territory Day and treated to an explosive display of fireworks which not only lit up the night sky, but set fire to a paddock with some cattle in it. The station hands responded quickly with a couple of fire tenders and got it under control. Fortunately there was only a light breeze at the time.fireworks

 

 

 

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Before moving on we had a game of golf in Katherine and made a mental note to play more than we have in the last 8 months.

From here we head to Darwin for a few days in a caravan park before we move into our 3 week house sit.

So on to Mataranka and Bitter Springs.

Mataranka Capital of The Never NeverWhat a lovely setting with each caravan site separated from the next with earth mounds and trees.camp

 

 

 

 

 

Plenty space and shade and good facilities made it a great spot.

 

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After driving very watchfully we pulled in here and set up camp already determined to stay longer than we had originally planned. There are many different birds here and small wallabies and the feel is tropical.

We have opted to leave the car repairs until we get to Katherine and will get Toyota to check it out there.

 

Shining Flycatcher femaleShining flycatcher male

The springs are a short walk or even shorter drive from the park and the water is crystal clear and quite deep in places. They bubble up at a constant 32 degrees C and you can float a few hundred metres down the Little Roper River to climb out, walk back and do it all over again. Early mornings with the cooler air, although only around 18-20 deg, it was like getting out into an ice box. Later when the air temp was around 30-33 degrees it was extremely comfortable and very refreshing.

Blue faced Honeyeater

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Wallaby 1There were small fresh water turtles in the river. We missed seeing them although several people did spot some. We did see a water monitor on the bank as we floated by on our noodles.

 

Set for another camp fire

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All in all we stayed 9 nights here and met some lovely people who we shared happy hour and camp fire times with.