This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2006 Travels May 31


We had been given another day off today.

I made us sandwiches for lunch, at the cafe, and grabbed some cans  of cool drinks too.

We took French John with us, after clearing stuff off the one back seat of the Truck, and drove the dirt back road, to the Territory Wildlife Park at Berry Springs.

We had loved the Park at Alice Springs, on our visits there, and  had not been to this one before.

It was, of course, totally different to the Central Australian one, featuring the wetlands and environment of the Top End, rather than arid lands. But the principle was similar – a whole lot of different exhibits. We walked  around the various exhibits, then caught the little internal transport “train” between them.

Like its arid counterpart, one could spend a whole day here. We spent hours here.

Resize of 05-31-2006 01 Turtle at TW Park


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Sawfish – from below

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We found Dory!

I was really taken by the side-on view into a freshie croc pool, where a croc was actually standing on the rocky bottom, with just its snout poking out of the water. Saved it the effort of floating, I guessed.

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Not the usual view of a freshwater crocodile

There was, of course, a featured saltwater crocodile on show, and we were lucky enough to actually see baby crocs hatching from their eggs.

Resize of 05-31-2006 08 Saltie at TW Park 2

Saltie on a sand bank

Resize of 05-31-2006 09 Crocs hatching TW Park

Crocodiles hatching

We walked a path around a wetland lagoon area, and another by a billabong.

Resize of 05-31-2006 12 Lagoon study TW Park

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Resize of 05-31-2006 16 Lagoon study TW Park 5

Resize of 05-31-2006 18 Billabong TW Park

At the water’s edge, not far from the path, saw a freshie croc, very well camouflaged amongst the dead leaves floating on the surface of the water.

Resize of 05-31-2006 24 Freshie croc in there TWP

Find the crocodile!

Ate our sandwich lunch at the picnic area by the entrance gate, then got back on the train to go to another section, to see the birds of prey feeding display. My favourite there was the barking owl. We had so often heard them at night, over the past few years up north, but so rarely saw them.

Resize of 05-31-2006 25 Barking owl TW Park

Barking Owl

Got back to camp  about 5pm.

Happy hour was spent telling M all about our day out – and her filling us in on the day’s happenings  here.

Resize of 05-31-2006 26 Raptor TW Park

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2003 Travels June 15


I was on reception again.

In the time before my late starts on such days, and on afternoons when we knock off at 5 or 5.30pm, it was just so pleasant, relaxing out the front of the van, in the Grove. It was such a green area, because of the thick canopy, and things growing in every direction one looked. The thickness of the canopy meant that little grew beneath it, so the ground was covered in leaf litter, rather than scrub or weeds.

I loved the bird life. There was always something to watch, and be entertained by.

The great bowerbirds bounced around our camp area – they were so amusingly ungainly, and always looking for food to steal. The white gaped honey eaters were bold, and would fly right into the main kitchen, through the servery hatch, looking for food.

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White-gaped Honeyeater

There were regular territorial battles, by our van, between willy wagtails and white browed robins. We regularly heard the raucous calls of the blue winged kookaburra.

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White-browed Robin

The pair of barking owls that lived around the Grove could be quite loud with their little dog yapping noises. Sometimes, we would yap and one would answer us!

One day, I’d had a camper come up, while I was on reception. She was very cross because, when I’d booked her in the previous day, I’d told her there were no generators or dogs allowed down in the Grove camp area. She had thought it would thus be lovely and peaceful. Now, she insisted to me that she’d been kept awake for hours the previous night, by a camper’s dog barking nearby. She was quite aggrieved.

I asked her if it sounded like little dogs, yapping. She answered yes. I told her the noise would have been our barking owls. Then she got really angry because she thought I was joking, at her expense, and she scoffed at the idea of owls that bark. I had to get the bird book out from under the counter – very grateful for it being there – and show her the entry, before she would – grudgingly – accept that the sound in the night was from birds.

There was always something entertaining, here!

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Great Bowerbird and his bower

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2003 Travels May 27


I was on shop. John on yard cleaning, driving the water truck around, keeping water tanks filled.

Before starting work, we hooked up the van to Truck, manoeuvred out of our tight space and moved the rig down into the Grove. It was so good to be back down there and away from that infernal noise and the fumes.

F had rigged up a rail of bamboo around the area we regarded as the staff compound – to keep out the paying campers – after he’d knocked off one afternoon, to find a tent set up virtually under his awning!

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Our van in the Grove – finally!

Now we had  an outlook into the lush greenery of the Grove. We would have the birds performing their assorted antics around us, to watch. Birds didn’t come where we had been parked!

Resize of 06-01-2003 07 view from staff compound in Grove

Part of the outlook from our van in the Grove

At dusk, we could hear the pair of barking owls that live further across the Grove. They continued calling at times through the night. Wonderful! They really do sound like a couple of little yapping dogs.

After tea, when it was almost dark, Boss ordered that we all pile into the now-repaired Coaster. He drove us across to the airstrip, to go through the drill for setting it up for an emergency night landing.

We had to collect the battery powered lights from the shed, then M drove, and we hooned down the runway, stopping to put out lights every 80 metres. The strip was 1100 metres long. It was stressed that it was really important to remember to put two red lights across the end of the runway that the plane was to come in from. Not, as might seem logical, where he should stop. Mixing them up could make it rather messy!

Then, we had to turn around and gather all the lights up again and put them away.

We actually had great fun doing this. It was light relief after the usually routine days of working, and there was much hilarity. Anything out of the normal  really put us on a high, it seemed. But the purpose was serious; I suspect that all were thinking like me – hoping like hell we never had to put the drill into practice.

Then we drove back in the dark, with no bus headlights on, so as not to disturb the campground too much – nearly hit the parked canoe truck.

Thought the people in the campground must have wondered what was going on, with the Coaster going out, and then sound carried across from the airstrip.