July 21st, Nitmiluk national park

Nitmiluk used to be known as Katherine gorge, the gorge(s) of the Katherine river (which runs through the town of Katherine). There are about a dozen gorges separated by shallow rapids that boats cannot go through. So instead, at each rapid, boats and canoes are parked below the rapid, and there are other boats and canoes above the rapid that people can take for the next section. It is a very good system. These yellow canoes are in use on the first gorge.

And these green canoes are in use in the second gorge.

Instead of canoes, most people take motorboats and go farther than the first rapids, but they have to change boats at the rapids too. If you look carefully in this picture, you will see some boats waiting above the first rapids.

With the canoe and a half-day rental, I was only able to go to the end of the first gorge. There, there is some rock art painted by the Jawoyn aboriginal people, or, according to their belief, by their "dreaming" ancestors Nayuyugi, the First People (the dreaming is the mythical aboriginal time before people came into existence).

In the picture above, I can see a cangaroo on the right, a man in the middle, with a lizard over his right shoulder.

There may have been other paintings in the area. I took a few pictures and I believe these are fainter rock paintings of people (or for one of them, maybe a turtle), but some of them could just be the natural color of the rock.

There are supposed to be quite a few more rock art paintings further up the gorges, but with a half day canoe rental, this is as far as I got. The views of the gorge are rather nice too.

The last picture above shows a nice variety of vegetation on the riverbank. I saw here quite a few of the plants I had seen at Geigie national park, including the River Pandanus, but the rock here is sandstone rather than limestone. And I feel that I saw much more animals and birds, especially crocodiles, at Geigie -- I did not see any crocodiles here.

I did see a kookaburra in an old gum tree.

I also saw an interesting plant growing on a wattle tree.


Way back on the North-West cape, before Coral Bay, I was delighted to find termite mounds. Since then, I have seen a lot more termite mounds. I am still very pleased to see them. This one was built straddling an old fence.

There seem to be different kinds of mounds, presumably built by different species of termites. I am not sure if I have seen two, three, or more species, but at least two. The first species I saw are called spinifex termites, according to a sign I saw. Here are some different-looking mounds.

Somebody told me there is a species of termites called magnetic termites, because they build their mounds so there is a special side facing south, which is never warmed by the sun. Since then, I have tried to see if I could find any mounds that were distinctly asymmetrical. I am not sure if I have or not. I think the ones in the last picture may have something of a North-South orientation, but without knowing exactly what to look for, I am not certain. Based on this picture, I would say probably not.


I ended the day at the Mary River roadhouse, at the edge of Kakadu national park. The sunset was quite nice. If you look carefully, in the first picture you can find the new moon.