Top End Expedition Part 5

Before reluctantly leaving this very special part of the country there were a couple surprises in store for our lucky group of travelers. We had been provided very special access into the homelands of its traditional owners. We would be able to gain an insight into the traditional ways of life from hunting and gathering to ancestral stories and beliefs passed down generation to generation. There was also an opportunity to purchase arts and crafts produced by some very talented local artists.

A couple of nights were spent in the magical Bawaka homelands

Prior to leaving the town of Nhulunbuy we had an experience that exemplifies our reliance on modern technology. Workers out of town had cut through the main communications cable to town whilst doing some excavation work. With this one cable all communications were down which included all phone ( landline and mobile) as well as internet. In turn this resulted in no eftpos facilities, no bank services so no money unless you previously had cash on you. The word was this would be out until the next afternoon at the earliest. We had fuelled up just after the lines had gone down so had to use all the cash we had on us to pay for the fuel leaving us with no cash (no money) until the following afternoon. We were due to leave town the next morning and it would be several days before we were back out in civilisation. The moral of the story is make sure you always carry cash to get you through several days of fuel, food and other necessary costs you may not have thought of.

There are many buffalo to encounter on Central Arnhem Rd.
Overlooking the beautiful Grindall Bay.

On the way back out along the long and enduring Central Arnhem Road we were invited into another very special homelands and lucky enough to spend some time with a local indigenous family and able to camp for a night on their lands, it was a truly humbling experience.

Collecting grasses for weaving with a local Indigenous family.
Dingoes spotted during our journey.

Also on the way back out along the Central Arnhem Road we were able to visit the ghost town of Emu Springs following advice from fellow travellers. Here was once a full community with several houses and even a school just abandoned and left to the elements. This was truly a sobering sight.

The haunting remains of a ghost town at Emu Springs.

Eventually back out into civilisation it was time to say goodbye to our group of traveling companions with which we had forged friendships from experiencing some unforgettable experiences and sights over the past 3 weeks. Our final night was spent at Bitter Springs, a delightful natural hot springs where one can float with the current, relax and soak up the beautiful environment that we are becoming oh so familiar with in the Top End.

The soothing waters of Bitter Springs.

After saying our final goodbyes it was time once again to venture off on our own and head further north and explore what more the Top End has to offer. Our final destination for this part of the journey would be the cosmopolitan city of Darwin, one which we had never been to and were very much looking forward to visiting. Along the way there were a couple more treasures to visit.

Lake Copperfield on the way to Ubrawarra Gorge.

Our final nights camp before hitting the city was at the very scenic Umbrawarra Gorge with its steep red cliffs, crystal pools and sandy beaches.

Enchanting Umbrawarra Gorge.
After a refreshing dip its time for dinner at Umbrawarra gorge campsite.

We were even lucky enough to have it all to ourselves. Even though we enjoyed the company of our traveling companions through Arnhem Land it was nice to be off on our own again and to have the peace and tranquility of a deserted campsite. Enroute to Darwin there was yet another chance to don the cossies and soak up the refreshing and relaxing warm waters of Douglas Hot Springs, a top way to finish off this leg of our Top End Adventure before hitting the city.

A final soak in yet another hot springs, at Douglas hot springs.

Make sure you jump on board the cruiser next time as we explore what Darwin has to offer, on and off shore.

 

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