In June 2016 I travelled to the tippy top of Australia to Garig Gunak Barlu National Park in northern Arnhem Land. Along the way we visited Boodjamulla National Park south of the Gulf of Carpenteria, and Limmen National Park on the western side of the Gulf. Here are a few snippets …
We are in the outback town of Borroloola, a town in the Northern Territory on the Gulf of Carpentaria up in the very top of Australia. We are having a wonderful time, driving through beautiful tropical Savannah landscapes and visiting remote national parks. We just spent 5 days in Boodjamula National Park in far northern Queensland, a series of freshwater gorges cut out of brilliant red rocky sandstone country by Lawn Hill Creek.
Boodjamulla National Park incorporates part of the old Riversleigh Station, which is a World Heritage fossil site. At the Riversleigh fossil sites we saw 25 million year old fossils, mostly aquatic vertebrates such as crocodiles, lungfish, frogs and turtles. Ancient koalas, kangaroos, bats, giant emu-like birds, platypus, wombat-like marsupials, a 15myo bilby, marsupial lions and small possums and bandicoots have also been unearthed here. Enough to boggle the mind.
Limmen National Park
Limmen is on the Gulf of Carpentaria in northern Australia east of Darwin. We are up in the rocky ranges which bridge the wet tropics and savanna woodlands of the coast and the arid desert region inland.
It is so full of flowers and animals and diversity and has some red sand/desert traits and really high rainfalls in summer. The wet season has just ended so there is water in the creek crossings on the roads and in the billabongs and the birds are fantastic.
heckle and jeckle
After an early morning drive and bushwalk to the sandstone formations of Southern Lost City in the relative cool of the morning, a troupe of 9 apostle birds welcomed us back to the camp like long lost friends. After performing a few skits for us, they got back to the serious business of cleaning up the vacant campsites and battling the bossy great bowerbirds. Arriving at camp a couple of days ago, I was up getting the swags and tent off the roof of the vehicle. These characters lined up on a tree branch above me, and cackled away at me until I nearly fell off from laughing. They would swap places in the chorus line, pick flies and ants off one another, and generally act very cute. Then they all dropped to the ground and had a long dust bath.
Garig Gunak Barlu NP
My first sight of the Arafura Sea included a massive saltwater crocodile, in hunting mode with its back and head up out of the water as it cruised near some campers fishing off the beach. Yikes!
We also went fishing but stuck to rock shelves above the water and collecting oysters at low tide. Our last night in this beautiful place saw dolphins leaping in the light of the sunset as we waited for the full moon to rise, not wanting to stay too long on the beach as there were crocodile tracks everywhere in this area.
The park is both a marine and terrestrial park. It protects the first wetland of international signficance registered under the RAMSAR convention. First in the world. It is jointly managed by the Iwaidja Traditional Custodians and the NT government. The park name means Land and Deep Water.
For the bird nerds check out my list of ArnhemLand_birds. We heard a pair of Barking Owls nightly from our camp at Boodjamulla NP, another highlight!