Now the true Top End Arnhem Land Expedition begins. After topping up on supplies and enough fuel for the next week we head north out of Jabiru in convoy for the infamous Cahills Crossing of the East Alligator River. Timing the tides here is a must and with the river home to many families of Salt Water Crocodiles it is definitely not one you would want to get caught out in. A concrete base to the causeway makes the crossing easy.
Permits are mandatory for access into Arnhem Land so make sure you apply for and obtain one of these well in advance. From the river crossing it is a day long drive along a heavily corrugated and bull dust ridden 300 kilometres to the beautiful, spectacularly stunning Cobourg Peninsula and Garig Gunak Barlu National Park.
The Cobourg Peninsula has to be one of Australia’s best kept secrets and one which is well worth the arduous journey and meticulous planning that is required to access this gem. Numbers of tourists up here are limited which only adds to the attraction of this very special place.
Spending a week up here at first seemed quite sufficient, however after taking in numerous mouth gasping sunsets, strolls along windswept beaches, beautiful 4wding to secluded and isolated headlands.
Also the opportunity to take a deep water fishing excursion by some of our group and of course many nights by the campfire with a million star view we were all left wanting for more.
One of the highlights for I think all of us was a visit to the eerie remains of Victoria Settlement. Only accessible by boat the British Government attempted to establish a military base during the early 1840s in this isolated, harsh environment. Some would say it was doomed from day one and Victoria Settlement on the Cobourg Peninsula only survived less than 10 years citing disease, climate and isolation amongst the reasons for its demise.
There is also an excellent museum worth checking out at the Ranger Station at Black Point.
After a week in this picturesque part of the country it was time for the 300 odd kilometres of bone jarring corrugations back out to Kakadu and the end of our first leg of our stunning Arnhem Land Adventure. If this was a prelude of what was to come then we were certainly in for a treat and we would definately not be disappointed.
Stay tuned for our next instalment as we head deeper into the amazing Arnhem Land and the treasures that we unearth in Central Arnhem Land, a real contrast to the Cobourg Peninsula and West Arnhem Land.