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Kakadu & Top End

Kakadu in the Wet

Swim stop, Barramundi Valley, photo E Gold

This article was written by Colin Johnstone, one of our clients who is a website designer. When he saw that I was trying to promote the wet season, he immediately wrote the following and sent it along with a few photos. The other photos were taken on our Kakadu Super Circle trip in January 2001. Most of those were taken by Eric Gold, one of the clients, a few by by guide, Russell Willis. This was a much drier year than when Colin did his trip

I'd have to agree with Russell, the best time to see Kakadu is during the wet season. It was some years ago that I did the Kakadu Super Circle. Talk about adventure we, myself, two girls and the guide Michelle, covered about 176 kilometres over the 17 days. Now I could give you a day by day account of the trip but I don't think you want to read that. Here are my thoughts...

Top Falls, Cascades Creek. There is a rock shelter here where you can shelter if it is raining. Photo C Johnstone Eric at Amphitheatre Falls, photo with Eric's Camera

The waterfalls are full of water, the creeks and rivers are flowing everything is green. Yes it does rain, a couple of hours a day. You don't wear a raincoat, though it's too humid, then you would be wet and uncomfortable.

Crossing Koolpin Creek, photo R Willis

Because it had been an unusually wet 'wet season' it was touch and go whether we'd actually go or not. After all my preparation I wasn't to be disappointed. We did a circle walk from Barramundi Falls to the headwaters of Koolpin creek down to Twin falls over to Graveside Gorge and Surprise Falls and back to Barramundi.

Campsite, Barramundi Valley, photo E Gold

Swimming in crystal clear pools each more beautiful than the next was a highlight every day, and the abundance of marine life was an ever present sign of a what a pristine environment Kakadu is. Little fish in their hundreds, turtles and all species of birds. We always managed to camp alongside a spectacular swimming hole often fed by an even more spectacular waterfall.

Russell above Amphitheatre Pool, photo E Gold

Willis Walkabouts really know their stuff. Each walk I have done with them has been an awesome adventure, an escape from the everyday. My everyday is sitting in front of the computer for eight hours. If you're lucky, Russell may even be your guide. It is rumoured that he has seen more of Kakadu than the traditional owners.

Koolpin campsite, photo R Willis

All of the guides though I have toured with all share a passion for wild Australia and have extensive knowledge of flora, fauna, boundless energy, enthusiasm and on top of all that still manage to cook up a storm each evening, its truly amazing what they can do with dehydrated vegies. One even managed to prepare Barramundi like I've never had before but that was a different walk and I'll tell you about it another time

If you look carefully at the photo above, you will see the group fly we use to keep packs dry at night and sit under if it rains at dinner time. (Russell's note.)

Crossing Twin Falls Creek; in a wetter year, we would have had to swim, photo E Gold Crossing Twin Falls Creek, photo C Johnstone

It's not a walk for the in-experienced or the ill prepared, I can't lie to you. There were some hard days, there some easy days. We walked between 3 and 19km's a day.

One exciting experience that sticks in my mind was swimming across swollen Twin Falls Creek. As the only guy on the trip naturally I went first. I had to swim towing my back behind me, when the girls saw me safely reach the other side they swam across also.

Main drop, Jim Jim Falls, photo C Johnstone Second drop at Jim Jim Falls, photo E Gold

We had to carry at the most 10 days food before we reached the food drop. You would be surprised how little extra gear you also need to carry, I don't remember it being cold at all, a light pullover for the evening was all we needed.

The photos both show parts of Jim Jim Falls. The one at the right is above the one at the left

Wet season shelters Leichardt grasshopper, photo C Johnstone

A light tropical tent (mozzie dome) is the best, you can get away with a fly and a mozzie net. We didn't carry sleeping bags, I remember just sleeping in or on my inner sheet. The photo at left shows how two people set up a mossie dome under a large fly so they could have maximum ventilation and a tent which was made entirely of mesh under its fly.

Some of the highlights were seeing Jim Jim and Twin falls in flood, photographing a Leichardt grasshopper, the sunsets, the swimming, numerous Aboriginal Art sites and the company.

At the end of the day it's not the blisters but the experience of sharing a part of Wild Australia that few will ever see that I remember. Of course I've got hundreds of slides if anyone is interested...
Colin Johnstone

More information about our next Kakadu Super Circle No. 1 trip

Willis's Walkabouts, 12 Carrington Street, Millner NT 0810, Australia walkabout@bushwalkingholidays.com.au

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