Our next adventure was visiting the most striking single piece of rock art in the area: the giant rainbow serpent. The rainbow serpent stories actually originated in Arnhemland, so it’s fitting that I was able to see one of the most vivid representations of it. Unlike in Kakadu, there were no walkways or handrails, just a ride in an ancient Jeep and a walk through the bush.
We eventually ended up in the overhang, and this is what we saw:
The painted serpent is a mammoth 6 metres long and thousands of years old (up to 10,000 years old some say). It’s quite humbling to sit at the foot of this painted serpent. So old and yet so alive. Completely wondrous.
This is the result of the best blueberry muffin recipe ever. I scrounged it off SMH years and years ago, which isn’t on-line anywhere. They’re reliable, have the muffin texture that you’d expect, but tastes better. The secret? Natural Yoghurt and melted butter. And no buttermilk!
I had little idea of what to expect when I landed at Mount Borradaile, only that I was going to experience something special.
No sooner than I’d put my bags down, I was whisked away down to the billabong in what turned out to be the daily sunset cruise. On the boat were the other 5 guests that were staying that night, plus Max (the camp owner), Charlie (the Aboriginal elder in the area), and Jim (a local Aboriginal guide, and mate of Charlie’s). A far cry from the packed-like-sardines cruise on Yellow Waters.
Small numbers are one thing, but as soon as we were out in the middle of the billabong, I realised that even “special” was an understatement.
The wealth of wildlife just on that relatively small strip of waterway, was frankly astonishing. Added to that was one of the most tranquil sunsets I’d ever seen.
I really was in heaven. But as astounding as the cruise was, there were more things just as wonderful in store.
Very chilly in Sydney last weekend, so what better time to make minestrone soup. Bought a soup mix from my local greengrocer. This one had potato, parsnip, turnip, carrot, celery and a couple of sprigs of parsley. Add it a few cloves of chopped garlic, a bit of canned crushed tomatoes, a beef stock cube (yes, I still use those), and lots of black pepper. Oh yes, and this curly rigatoni pasta, which were very cool.
I didn’t put any salt in during cooking. In the end, I put in a slug of light soy sauce, which worked really well. Well, that’s my bit of fusion cooking for the day.
I’ve obviously been watching Poh too much on Masterchef because last week I had a huge craving for Malaysian food. During the week I sought out some murtabak, nasi lemak, and harmee, but what I really wanted was a nice, comforting meal of Hainan Chicken Rice. Yes, this was the dish that Poh made in the finals, and on the weekend I visited a tiny eatery around the corner from me, Satay Inn, that makes it extremely well.
The chicken was perfectly steamed. The rice delicious and very more-rish. The condiments balanced, although it could have had more ginger. The soup flavoursome. Lots of sesame oil all around to make it taste damn good.
There was also an order of Sizzling Satay King Prawns on the table, but we were all so full from the chicken rice that we could only pick at the prawns.
Ubirr is in the north-east corner of Kakadu, on the border with Arnhemland, and is known for its extensive rock art galleries.
Although the rock formations weren’t as dramatic as at Nourlangie, it was no less beautiful, looking as it does over a very green floodplain. Although apparently the green grass is a weed!
The next day saw us trek down a narrow, windy 4WD track to visit Twin and Jim Jim Falls. It was a bit of an adventure, featuring submerged river crossing, an encounter with a dingo, and a cruise through the canyon.
… To reach Twin Falls.
The waterfall was pretty with its white sand beach, but I loved the rock formations even more.
I thought Twin Falls was impressive, but I hadn’t seen nothing yet. Jim Jim Falls involved a much harder walk, clambering over giant boulders, and swimming in ice cold water. But floating in the plunge pool with 200 metres of rock above me is an experience I won’t forget in a hurry.
In the afternoon, we spent a lot of time on or by billabongs. Yellow Waters is cruise central in Kakadu, and even in the space of an hour or so, we saw quite a lot of wildlife.
There were the beautiful birdlife.
And of course, the ubiquitous crocodile (they really were everywhere).
Afterwards, we retired to our camp by a smaller and much quieter, although no less beautiful, billabong.
I left Darwin the next day on my Kakadu and Arnhemland adventure. The first 3 days were spent in Kakadu on a 4WD adventure tour.
It was a bit of a haul from Darwin into Kakadu. Our destination for the morning was Nourlangie.
It gave me a taste of the Top End landscape – dry woodland against massive sandstone escarpments.
It is the home of the Lightning Man, and the locals really did get it right, because this place does get the most lightning strikes in country!
Again, like back at Newnes, the paintings were located under massive overhangs that offer protection during the wet. They are done in the x-ray style that’s typical of the Top End – very different from the dot paintings from the desert areas.