This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2006 Travels May 20-22

SATURDAY 20 MAY – MONDAY 22 MAY    LITCHFIELD

Usual work days.

The weekend was busy, again, especially Saturday, when I did not finish until 6.45pm, and John 6.30.

M settled in quickly and well. She was such a good worker. I gave her a couple of my aprons to use.

Monday was exceptionally busy – as much as at the weekend.

Boss had said we could have a three day break. On Monday, I suspected he may be regretting that – although he would be away too and other boss coping with the cafe.

We thought this generosity may have been a money saving exercise? Or maybe he was just trying to be nice and make sure we did not over work? With that man, it was hard to tell.

Resize of 05-16-2006 05 Turkey bush Litchfield

Turkey Bush Litchfield

The cafe was part of the WOOFER scheme, so we had a regular procession of young Europeans coming, to work a few hours a day, in return for keep. They were accommodated in a tent in the safari camp area, and scavenged for food like we did – although their duties usually included helping out in the cafe in the evening, serving and waiting food – so they got fed an evening meal, when there were dinner guests. Some only stayed a couple of days, departing when they thought they were expected to do too much, or when the boss was unpleasant to them. Right now, we had a lad in his early 20’s – called French John, to distinguish him from “my” John.

Resize of 05-16-2006 01 Leaf study Litchfield


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2006 Travels May 19

FRIDAY 19 MAY     LITCHFIELD

M started work today. Her jobs would  be housekeeping when the safari tents had been used, general cleaning about the place, helping with setting up for the bus buffet lunches, and clean up after. She would work 7.30am to around 4pm, with a half hour for lunch.

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Safari Camp tent

I suspected that it suited the establishment more, to have M here as a full time worker, rather than the previous part-timer, whose hours were dictated by the needs of young children.

M was to take over the toilet cleaning and frog removal morning duty from John.

It was very pleasant to have our happy hour after work, with the three of us sitting outside the van, with our beers, mulling over the events of the day. We would  watch the large mobs of fruit bats fly out of the trees, at dusk, to commence their night feeding, against the backdrop of often brilliant sunsets. The little creek would burble away in the background.

Resize of 06-21-2006 08 Our camp from Monsoon creek walk


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2006 Travels May 18

THURSDAY 18 MAY     LITCHFIELD

It was a late day for us both – I worked until 6.40pm, John till 6.15.

He was working with boss on the new gallery area by the front gate. Quite late in the afternoon, they had taken a trailer out, to gather some slate, for the flooring, at a place where boss knew it occurred. It was late by the time they got back and unloaded it.

M arrived during the afternoon. We were both a bit busy, and had little time to do more than say hi and point her to where she could set up her camp, next to ours.

Knowing that John would be eager to spend time with M may have been why the boss decided to go out for slate, so late in the afternoon. And maybe why he told me that two cheesecakes would be needed!

So happy hour was a bit late. But it was great to catch up – on what travels she had done on the way here, and what she could expect, working here.

Resize of 06-14-2006 48 Staff camp site Monsoon

Our camp, with M’s Troopy just showing. We had already made a discernable path leading to the cafe!


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2006 Travels May 17

WEDNESDAY 17 MAY     LITCHFIELD

A usual working day. I did not finish until 6pm, by the time I’d made two mango cheesecakes, and cleaned up the kitchen.

Son phoned in the morning. They’d had a baby boy today – born at 12.15am. He weighed in at 7lbs 12ozs – lighter than his sister had been, but longer. All was well. I approved of the names they had given him, with my father’s  as his middle name.

At our happy hour at our camp, we toasted the new member of the family – with beer!

Resize of 05-11-2006 Monsoon sunset May


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2006 Travels May 16

TUESDAY 16 MAY     LITCHFIELD

Day off.

I did our washing.

Then we drove to Batchelor.

We saw a mechanic there. he was not sure what might be wrong with the clutch. There went that hope of a quick and easy fix. We would have to go to Darwin, sometime soon, to get it seen to.

At the PO/store, collected a mail parcel that contained all my cooking aprons, that I’d made for use at Pungalina last year. I hadn’t brought them with me, because I had not expected to be cooking, at Adels. Amongst them were the striped ones that I’d made for John’s use at Pungalina, although he had rarely needed them. They would be useful for him here, when he was helping with the bus groups lunches, and especially when doing the washing up from same.

I had been hoping to hear that my next grandchild was born, by now, so I could have sent a card and gift whilst in Batchelor, but it apparently had not yet made an appearance in the world.

On the way back to camp, stopped at the Magnetic Termite Mounds and did the circuit walk there.

Resize of 05-16-2006 02 Termite mounds Litchfield

The name of these was misleading, because the mounds themselves were not magnetic. They were built to have really thin sides that faced north-south, and broad sides that faced east-west. This alignment was in response to the sun and the necessary heating and cooling  of the mound interiors, not from any sense of the Earth’s magnetism.

Resize of 05-16-2006 03 Cathedral termite mound Litchfield

Called in at Tolmer Falls again, for another walk to the viewing platform and gaze at the spectacular falls.

Resize of 05-09-2006 18 Tolmer Falls6


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2006 Travels May 10-15

WEDNESDAY 10 MAY – MONDAY 15 MAY     LITCHFIELD

Working days continued as already described.

There were a couple of nights when I didn’t finish until 6pm,  and a couple of days that were so busy that I got no lunch break at all. My preference, rather than take the break and finish even later, was to keep going and just grab bits of salad and cold meat as I worked – snacking.

I noticed that we were more busy over the weekend. I guess that might be normal, as locals from Darwin did day trips out to the National Park. Litchfield has an advantage over Kakadu in that it is well within day trip feasibility. The two parks are very different in character, but I think I preferred the more obvious “in your face” scenery of Litchfield, plus its great range of walks.

Resize of 05-02-2006 15 Litchfield Wangi Falls14

It was becoming clearer that one boss was not the really lovely guy that our friend had described. She had obviously seen his best side, when working nearby and being a cafe customer. He was demonstrating regular bad moods and temper and I did not like the way he treated his lady. She tended to tippy toe around his moods. So far, he had not been too nasty to me, though he was being somewhat temperamental around John.

I was really looking forward to M getting here.

The environment here was really very pleasant. The working days were compensated for by our quiet, green camp area.

Resize of 05-02-2006 26 Arrival Monsoon8

It felt like the weather was starting to cool down a bit.


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2006 Travels May 9

TUESDAY 9 MAY     LITCHFIELD

It was a day off. The sleep in was much appreciated.

I needed to do our washing. There was no facility for staff, for this – we had to use the one and only machine, which was in the boss and B’s donga. It was only a fairly small domestic machine, in the bathroom section of the donga, which was complete with partly rotted out floor! I felt intrusive, but there was no other option. I just had to try to find a time when they were out and about, rather than asleep in the next room, and when B was not already using the machine to wash tea towels and other linen, if the safari camp had been in use. It was just one of the several hassles about the place.

Resize of 05-02-2006 camp area

Monsoon Cafe environs. Safari Camp top centre, beyond open car park area; dense vegetation along creek line, amongst which was our camp. (Zoom satellite)

After I’d managed to get the washing done and hung it on the clothes line nearby, we went for a drive.

Decided to go to Batchelor first – almost 80kms away – to see if we had any mail. There wasn’t. This was disappointing, because I’d asked house sitter to pack up my working aprons, which were stacked in a cupboard at home, and mail them. I was trying to get by with just one apron I’d had with me, in case, and the few provided by the cafe, which were pretty scrappy.

I bought some things at the store – mostly packet cup of soups, to supplement the cafe offerings, for tea. Stocked up on yoghurt too. These were mostly what I felt like eating at nights, anyway.

Refuelled in Batchelor – had done 275kms – $1.57cpl.

Then we headed back, but side tracked to go see Florence Falls.

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Multi-tiered Florence Falls

There was lots of water coming over the falls.

There were not many tourists about yet. Within another month, this place would be packed.

We did not have the energy to walk down to the level of the plunge pool – particularly since we would only have to turn around and climb a ton of steps back up! It was still too humid for much exercise.

Then we went back to Buley Rockholes. Looked at these, walked around the different levels.

Resize of 05-09-2006 08 Buley Rockhole

Buley Rockholes

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The flow in these was still quite fast, and although the water was tempting, we decided not to go for a dip in the pools. Again, once the tourist numbers increase, these would be packed out with bodies!

Resize of 05-09-2006 12 Buley Rockhole5

When the flow was not so ferocious, this pool would be packed with people cooling off

Our final stop was at Tolmer Falls, where we had to walk a distance on a path, to get to the viewing platform.

Travellers could not access the lower levels at these falls, because it was the habitat of a rare bat.

They were very impressive falls.

Resize of 05-09-2006 13 Tolmer Falls

Tolmer Falls

After that exploring, we went back to camp to relax for the rest of the day.

The clutch on Truck had begun, today, to occasionally stick down to the floor, which was a worrying development.

My troublesome heel was still sore – at a fairly low grade level while I was doing work days, but tended to become more acute after activities like today’s walking. It was annoying.

Yesterday, the part time worker told the boss that she would be leaving shortly. Her husband had received an unexpected transfer to a more distant community. I asked if friend M could replace her – if there was enough work to occupy her full time. That was agreed. So we’d phoned M, who said she would now get a move on, from Qld, to get here soon. She had already phoned Adels, to be told there would not be work for her there, so our news was timely.

There was some cloud about, which made for interesting sunsets.

Resize of 05-09-2006 20 Monsoon Cafe sunset