Katherine, Thursday 24th July 2008

Only two days until the official trek begins.

Our trekkers are gathering from all over Australia and for most of us it has been a trek and an adventure in itself just reaching our destination.

Some of us have travelled as far away as Albany (WA) in the south and from Young (NSW) in the east, and have been on the road for up to a month already. We have travelled from the cold, wet and wintery cities in the south to the warm sunshine on offer in the Northern Territory.

The country is vast and spectacular and we are looking forward to experiencing so much more of the natural wonders that the top end has to offer.

The Katherine Caravan Park is buzzing with excitement in anticipation of the thrill of coming together and sharing the experience with our fellow members.

We hope to share our travels and progress with you, so keep watching this page as we begin our journey and help to raise much needed funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service & Children’s Hospitals along the way.

Please enjoy following our photographic journey showing the wonderful scenery and fun times we have experienced so far.

Katherine – Saturday 26th July 2008

Our trek meeting was held on Friday where the President welcomed all participants to the 2008 trek.

We have already explored the wonders of Katherine, from visiting Nitmiluk National Park, cruising the magnificent Katherine Gorge and relaxing in the natural Hot Springs. Most of the tractor drivers enjoyed having breakfast with the children of Macfarlane Primary School, displaying their tractors and joining in with the school assembly.

A send off BBQ dinner hosted by the Katherine Sports Club was enjoyed by all and warmed all trekkers to the great times ahead.

The official trek “9G’s Taming the Northern Territory” begins.

The MLA for Katherine wished us well on our journey, the Salvation Army blessed the convoy, we were police escorted through and out of town and then we were on our way. By lunch break we had reached Pine Creek and had a short stop before reaching the Douglas Daly River region.

Litchfield National Park – Saturday 2nd August 2008

We travelled to the very warm 60C Douglas Hot Springs, saw Butterfly Gorge, Oolloo Crossing and Douglas River Esplanade Conservation Area and then went swimming in the various waterholes like Thermal Pool, Natural Spa, The Weir and The Arches. One of our members even caught a fish on his new fishing rod.

It was soon time to move on and we were heading north again to the Adelaide River region, stopping to visit the historical Fenton Airstrip along the way. In Adelaide River members visited the Heritage Railway Museum and the well kept War Cemetery. We were shown a preserved 18 foot crocodile and then headed out to Mt Bundy Station for the night. Trekkers enjoyed a campfire sing-a-long and were entertained by some of the other trekkers.

We were soon heading into the Litchfield National Park area stopping in Batchelor along the way for last minute shopping and a chance to display our tractors to the locals and local primary school children.

The weather was becoming very hot and a little humid and we were looking forward to a few days rest and relaxation. There is much to see in this park and during our stay we swam at Wangi Falls, Buley Rockhole Pools and the grand Florence Falls with its 135 steps down into the bottom of the gorge. We drove through 0.7 meters of creek water to reach Blyth Homestead and traversed rough 4WD tracks to reach the Lost City. We saw Tolmer Falls, Walker Creek, the Bamboo Creek Tin Mine and other attractions too many to mention in this natural parkland area.

The tractors are traveling well and any minor repairs were able to be fixed during this time. After five days the trekkers were looking forward to reaching Darwin and to seeing all it has to offer.

Darwin – Sunday 3rd August 2008

As is the tradition with all departure days, there is a brief 8.00am meeting to inform all trekkers of the planned travel arrangements for the day ahead and to keep us up-to-date with what’s been happening with everyone around the camp, and of course there’s always the odd joke or two thrown in to put us in good spirits for the journey. On this particular day it was our youngest trek participant’s birthday and we made sure his day started off with a hearty birthday song.

There wasn’t many miles to travel on this leg of the trip, so it was a leisurely drive to Berry Springs where we stopped for morning tea and wandered down to the springs to enjoy the scenery. On the road again and we reached our destination in Howard Springs, approximately 30 km south of Darwin just in time for a late lunch.

We had arrived on the long week-end and some of our members took the opportunity to enjoy a full day at the annual Darwin Races.

The weather is much hotter in Darwin and we are having 30C+ temperatures every day, so the caravan park pool is quite a welcome relief at the end of our long days of sightseeing. Darwin is truly a tourist’s delight, and the trekkers wasted no time in visiting the many places it has to offer. The Australian Aviation Museum, War Memorial and underground WWII Oil Storage Tunnels are an excellent source of information on the war history and bombing of Darwin.

We ventured out to the wharf area where we relaxed with fish and chips for lunch and looked across the beautiful blue water to Melville Island and beyond. We drove along the foreshore and saw the majestic Casino, Fannie Bay, the Sailing Club and the amazing views from East Point. We visited the Museum and Art Gallery where we were reminded of the devastation of Cyclone Tracy.

Everyone was excited as we boarded for the Jumping Crocs Tour and we weren’t disappointed as the Adelaide River produced more jumping crocodiles then we thought we would ever see. We delighted at the exhibits of Crocodylia Park with more crocodiles, tigers, lions, monkeys and the wonderful array of the animals of the Northern Territory. Three of our members hired a dingy and went fishing on the crocodile infested river. No thankyou!!

The Chamberlain 9G Tractors were given pride of place on page 2 of the local newspaper following a special interview and photo shoot with the local member for the area.

We drove the tractors the long 30 kms into town and paraded then through the city streets for all to see. We were welcomed by the mayor of the City of Darwin and promoted our Club and the purpose of our visit to all the media outlets that were on hand, including television and radio stations.

A successful night was had as our tractors were on show at the Mindil Beach Markets. We made quite an impression with not just the locals but the hundreds of interstate and international tourists that flocked there.

The trek participants have thoroughly enjoyed the entire City and its surrounds from visiting shopping centres and buying the odd souvenirs to cruising on the waterways, or just relaxing by the pool. Much needed oil changes to the tractors were done and the fridges have been stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables in preparation for our journey to Kakadu.

Kakadu National Park – Tuesday 12 August 2008

The trekkers travelled out the Jim Jim road to the Gagudju Lodge, Cooinda were we stayed for 5 nights enjoying the surrounds, swimming pools and amenities relaxing and doing minor repairs.

Thursday was an early start with most members travelling to Jabiru with a stop at the impressive Information Centre. Then to Ubiru Rock to see spectacular views and a great display of aboriginal rock painting as we wandered the walk trails. The Guluyambi Cultural Cruise had us enjoying the commentary, spear throwing, crocodiles and watching a happy fisherman land a barra.

Friday saw all members on the Yellow Waters Boat Cruise snapping with their cameras the numerous bird and animal life, with the tiny Jesus Bird a firm favorite.

A few lucky members had the thrill of catching a few barramundi in the rivers nearby and where generous in letting everyone enjoy a sample, delicious. We also had a community BBQ one night plus enjoyed a pancake breakfast before leaving on Sunday.

Back to Katherine and a farewell dinner with presentations and fond memories of a great trek. Next morning after numerous goodbyes, everyone left in various directions to travel home.