Rainbow Valley

Natural Wonders : Rainbow Valley Conservation Reserve

Rainbow Valley

 

We were having some issues with the Troopy heating up on long drives, so after Dave had made some repairs and adjustments, we took it for a test drive.  Just 100kms south of Alice Springs, Rainbow Valley was the perfect distance to see if the cooling system problem had been resolved.  A great place to visit or camp for the night, this colourful bluff is part of the James Range and is layered with hard red sandstone and softer white sandstone.

 

While the walking tracks around the valley are great to do during the day, it is best to visit about an hour before sunset.  This will give you enough time to take the track through the valley to see Mushroom Rock and return to the lookout to watch the sandstone bluff transform in the light of the setting sun.

 


There are two camping areas with communal fire pits, picnic tables and pit toilets. Camping fees are payable on site.

 

 

Happier Treasure Hunt Slider

BURIED : NT Treasure is ready to be found!

Arrr me hearties – do ye like some adventure?

How about ya go and find our buried treasure!

Dive into the Wilderness and find Lorella’s Springs!

But don’t look for gold or other shiny things.

 

What you seek are emeralds so keep these on your mind.

And before walking down the white carpet, remember! The position is clearly signed.

 

NT Treasure

 

Happy Hunting! 

 

Little Creatures

 

 Please note that you need to be 18 years old or over to redeem the treasure! Yar!

 
 

Lorella Springs

Experience Paradise : Lorella Springs Wilderness Park – #2

Lorella Springs

DAY 4

Juz got up early to take photos of the sunrise over Snapping Handbag Billabong before we made our way toward Flying Fox Swamp.  This is another of our favourite destinations.  Paddling the canoe over the still water, through the trees, with the waterlilies passing by, was absolutely beautiful.  Bees buzzed in the lilies and dragonflies skipped over the water.

 

Lorella Springs

 

We reckon Monarch Rock could be renamed Cookie Dough Mountain, because that’s what it looks like – a big wad of cookie dough, full of nuts, nougat and choc chips!  Butterflies floated around the shaded areas of the rock and we found a small cave with bats and dragonflies inside.  We did a lap of the rock and found loads of bush passionfruit too, which we picked and ate while we looked for more.

 

After climbing Monarch Rock and enjoying the spectacular 360° views of the country, the Cascades were a great tonic.  We had a dip by the creek crossing and saw two brolgas that promptly flew away trumpeting like elephants.

 

 

On our way back to the campground, we stopped by Nudie Hot Springs.  There were two camps set up at the site, one of which was truly letting it all hang out.  We followed the path to where the hottest water gushes out from the rock, and followed the creek back to the pool of perfect bath temperature (32° Celsius) and had a nudie dip.

 

Our plan was to do some fishing at Eagles Nest Billabong so that we had something to cook for dinner.  On the way though, Dave noticed that the water temperature gauge was getting a bit too hot.  Eagles Nest was only another 10km away so we raced before we burst a hose.  Just as we arrived, we heard a pop, but luckily it was just the lid of the overflow bottle.  While Dave tended to the Troopy, Juz pulled out the rod.  She was accompanied by a seasoned fisherman who went through three lures with no luck.  Juz gave up after about 30 minutes and after a quick ride in the provided boat, we went back to the campground.

 

Of course, we were just in time for Happy Hour and another great socialising session with the volunteers and other campers.  Plenty of stories and photos were exchanged and after a session around the campfire, we went to bed.

 

 

DAY 5

It was very hard to pull ourselves out of bed and we didn’t end up leaving the campground until about 9:30am.  Nannies Retreat was our destination and the road leading to it had been cleared two days earlier so it was a fairly smooth run.

 

Lorella Springs

 

Once we arrived, we found the path to be long and overgrown but freshly marked with pink ribbon and rock stacks.  Suddenly, we were there, atop a rounded rocky landscape of sandstone.   A stream ran through the area and after Dave explored one of the caves, we had a dip in the pool.

 

 

We found our way back to the Troopy and headed for Sloshy Springs, which wasn’t officially opened for the season.  We drove for hours on indecisive track surfaces, stopping occasionally to remove branches and fallen trees from the track, which was a great opportunity for Dave to flex his muscles.  The track eventually disappeared and it was nearly sundown so we returned to a creek crossing about 30 minutes back and camped on the track by the water.   Juz fell unconscious when her head hit the pillow while Dave went to sleep to the sound of howling dingoes.

 

Lorella Springs

 

It just so happens that the creek we camped next to WAS Sloshy Springs… go figure!

 

DAY 6

We packed up and started to make our way back to the campground.  The return trip was much easier because we’d cleared all the fallen branches the day before.  We diverted to Billy’s Camp to check out the original settlement of Lorella Springs, which ended up being the perfect stop for Dave to tend to the overheating radiator again.  The ruins were full of rusty things – a fridge, corrugated iron, a sink, buckets, a wheelbarrow, even an old ant bed oven!

 

Lorella Springs

 

By the time we got back to the campground, we noticed a loaded motorbike parked by the office.  A guy from the east coast had emailed us and said he was heading our way, and after exchanging itineraries, we discovered that we would intercept each other at Lorella Springs.  We approached the bar to meet our new friend.

 

Over a few drinks, we had a good chat with Brogan about where he had been and where he was going.  He was circling Australia in an anticlockwise direction, the opposite way to us which meant that we had heaps of tips to share with each other.  Rhett turned up at Happy Hour and while we had planned to leave the next day, we all offered to volunteer for a few days.  Dave and Brogan would work on cabling for the cabins while Juz offered to paint a mural on the wall beside the bar.  She also presented herself to the kitchen that evening and made a big pot of spaghetti bolognese for all the volunteers’ dinner.

 

Lorella Springs 2014-05-21 017

 

Experience : Lorella Springs Wilderness Park #1

Volunteer at Lorella Springs

 

Katherine

Town Profile : Katherine

Knotts Crossing - Katherine

Located on the river of the same name, Katherine is 320km south of Darwin.  It started out as an outpost between Adelaide and Darwin for the Australian Overland Telegraph Line.  These days, it’s a simple town with one major supermarket, a few pubs and acts as the ‘Crossroads of the North’.

 

Fast Facts

  • With a population of just over 10,000 and 60% indigenous, Katherine is the fourth largest town in the Northern Territory.
  • It’s the closest town to the RAAF Base Tindal and provides services to Defence families.
  • Traditionally, Katherine was an important meeting place for the Jawoyn and Wardaman people.
  • In 1845, explorer Ludwig Leichhardt crossed what is now known as the Katherine River and is the first European to be recorded in the area.
  • On his 6th successful journey from the north to south of Australia, John McDouall Stuart crossed the Katherine River in July 1862 and officially named it.

 

We rocked up on Saturday morning, just in time for the markets.  We took advantage of the cheap food and listened to some music before getting down to business.  We found a van park to stay the night, did some work in the library, stocked up on fuel and food and then headed to the Stuart Hotel for cheap $10 jugs of TEDs.  Turns out the Stuart Hotel has a great tropical beer garden and we enjoyed the friendly guys behind the bar.  They also do food, claiming to be Katherine’s cheapest.

 

 

 

Points of Interest

Knotts Crossing

Located only 5km NE from the centre of town, Knotts Crossing is a lovely place to have a picnic and a splash in the waters.  If we had more time, we would have spent a whole afternoon here.   Knotts Crossing is actually where the originally settlement of Katherine started, when people came to work on the Overland Telegraph Line.

 

Knotts Crossing - Katherine

 

Katherine Hot Springs

A short drive SW from the centre of town brings you to the hot springs, a series of pools that sit at around 32°C.  We had a bit of a dip in the afternoon while we chatted with some other happy travellers.

 

Katherine

 

Katherine Icon

Just behind the Information Centre is a bronze statue of Sabu Peter Sing, a stockman, horseman and bushman who represents all the men and women of the Outback. The erection of the statue was part of the Project of the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association for 2002, Australia’s Year of the Outback.

 

Katherine

 

Nitmiluk National Park

Accessible via Katherine Gorge or Edith Falls, Nitmiluk is the ‘jewel of the region’.  You’d have to spend a week in Katherine Gorge to do all the hikes, and also have the endurance because they can be tough.  We did three hikes there and were absolutely exhausted.

 

Edith Falls is a great place to camp and the plunge pool is wonderfully close to the campground.

 

Edith Falls

 

Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park

Located just 17km south of Katherine, the Cutta Cutta Caves are a unique attraction with beautiful rock formations.  Check out our post here.

 

Information & Accommodation

The Katherine Visitor Information Centre is located on the Stuart Highway at the southern end of town.

 

We stayed at Knotts Crossing Resort, very close to the actual Knotts Crossing, and paid only $24 in an unpowered site for the night.  Close by was a camp kitchen, amenities, and a restaurant bar.  We also had a long chat with some really nice Austrian guys, who filled us in on the non-existence of an Australian-Austrian working visa arrangement.