So we made it across the river without mishap and entered Arnhem Land. It really was like crossing a border, I felt I should have my passport ready. The getting of permits was more complicated than getting visas for Kazakhstan and Mongolia, but with all our ducks lined up, we made it through. Of course, no-one has checked any of our documentation.
We had booked a Rock Art Tour out of Oenpelli and were not disappointed. This was the highlight of NT so far. Our guide, Junior, was an artist himself and of course was knowledgeable about the history of the art we saw. The photos will give you an idea, but really you can’t grasp how awesome this place was. We felt humble and insignificant in the face of 20,000 year old rock art.
From there we drove up to Maningrida, an aboriginal outpost. John had an invitation from the CEO of the Bawaninga Corporation and had arranged a visit with the Head Ranger of the area. Both were passionate and intelligent guys with amazing foresight and vision. They have a lot of work to do, but have put some wonderful projects in place already.
Next stop some R&R at Coburgh Peninsular. The Garig Gunak Barlu National Park covers most of this peninsular but sadly access is really limited, so we had content ourselves with a little bit of touring and lots of lazing in the shade with a good book and a beer trying to catch nothing more than a sea-breeze. It was bloody frustrating to look at wonderful beaches and not be able to swim. The list of things that will try to kill you include: crocodiles, sharks, blue-ringed octopus, box jellyfish, stonefish and sea snakes, but really it the crocs that put you off.
So now it’s back in Darwin for some armour plating on Boris. The insurance company is stumping up for the repairs on the damage done on the Stock Route and hopefully we’ll now be tree proof. One can only hope.
Next we tackle East Arnhem Land and Nhulunbuy (with permits in hand).