It was time to wave goodbye to Alice and re-board the Ghan for the second part of our rail trip. Once again, Robin drew the short straw and got to sleep in the top bunk. He had a moment of panic during the night when he pushed the emergency button while turning over in the confined space. Oh dear – when would the staff member arrive to start banging on the door. Luckily there was another button for false alarms so the crisis was averted.
Goodbye to Alice
Then it was hello to Katherine for our Off Train Excursion at 9.00am. There were several trips on offer, and we chose to do the Nitmiluk Gorge Rock Art Cruise. This trip had the least amount of walking involved, we were told, all the better for my painful knee.
Hello to Katherine
It was a fairly short walk down to board one of the several boats and we were soon gliding gently through the gorge.
Katherine Gorge is part of the Nitmiluk National Park, and is made up of 13 sandstone gorges, carved over 23 million years by the Katherine River.
Views of Katherine Gorge
Fresh water crocodile make these waters their home, although they kept themselves well out of our sight. The females crawl up the sandy banks to lay their eggs, and unlike the salties, do not guard their eggs at all.
Occasionally Salt Water crocodiles enter the gorge during times of flooding, and the rangers set traps for these monsters and then relocate them.
Trap for salt water crocodiles
The rock art dates back 40,000 years
Coming back aboard after viewing rock art
Our guide told us about the traditional uses of many of the plants growing in the gorge, from medicine, cooking, and use as fire sticks, while the other boats gently glided along ahead of us.
It was a lovely peaceful trip, gliding gently along, as we were told tales of the area and the local people.