Jabiru to Mary River Roadhouse

Moving day is here. Today we are moving south back towards Katherine which is a drive of about 165 kms but amazingly we are still within Kakadu Park. This gives you some idea of the scale of not only Kakadu but Australia.
We are heading for the Mary River Roadhouse which sits just on the edge of the park and perfect for getting to the spots we are aiming to visit. As the name suggests, it is really just a fuel and food stop which has a padlock on the back for campers , caravans and is strictly a no frills kinda place. This time we have phone service which is very rare and take the chance to call the Roadhouse and book a site. The guy who answers the phone goes by the name of Brogan but has a strong English accent and admits that his parents are Scots but moved to England where little Brogan was educated in the city of Oxford. Anyhow site booked no worries and in no time and without any drama we arrive at said Roadhouse where we meet little Brogan who happens to be about six foot six. He gives us a tip to visit a local swimming spot that only the locals would know about and is only six kms up the road we get our site set up and head for our first spot of Gunlom falls which is a pretty famous swimming hole which has been used for lot’s of Australian tourist ads. To get to the the falls we drive north again for about 10kms to the turn off. We have been warned that it is a recommended 4 X 4 only road which is heavily corrugated, red dirt and stones we have to suffer 37kms of this. We are unlucky to get behind a car which is not a 4 x 4 going pretty gingerly and throwing up huge clouds of dirt making it impossible to get past but suddenly it pulls over and we zoom past and get the foot down. There is a patch of about 10 kms where before we thought it bad, is now threatening to shake the poor Pajero to pieces. That’s when I remember that I forgot to drop the tyre pressures down and we will have to suffer this again when we do the return trip. We are almost done and the road has now more dirt than corrugations which is a bit of fast fun and I get to practice my rally driving. When we finally get to the car park and have a look at the Pajero it has an inch of dirt on it and looks 20 years older but amazingly nothing has fallen off.
To get to the top of the falls is a 2 km climb which is pretty hard going with a rest stop/ photo opportunity close to the top. With the drive and the climb we are now thinking that there is no way this is going to be worth it, then we get our first view of the top swimming hole and WOW, words can not do it justice. There are three different pools, one of which has an infinity aspect to it and is just amazing to swim in with the added bonus that we know there are no crocs this high up. We try our best to get some pic’s but there are a few oldies and an Italian couple who think nothing of getting there arses in our photo’s on more than one occasion. Ourselves and a few others have a private joke at their expense.
I then get in to the last of the pools and this one is a bit of a worry as I have not seen anyone swim in it but I get my fake braves on and get in. A family with a couple of kids arrive at the same spot, number one kid gets in and shout MUM look, a big….., I am now swimming like David Wilkie (google him) and at the same time shouting to the kid to finish his sentence, BIG WHAT SON”, turns out it is a large water monitor but by now I have scrambled out over the rocks and I am busy trying to get my blood pressure down.
We stay for quite a while and a couple who parked next to us at the station appear and we small talk a bit before making a start on our decent. Poor Kaz, the way down is giving her MacDonald knees a going over but we make it down unscathed and a bit hot as it is now the usual 35 degrees. There is a bottom pool but we decide that there is a high chance of crocs and leave it to the young Aboriginal kids to get eaten.
We get back to the car and it is toasty hot but aircon on and off we go to have another go at the shitty road back. We cannot believe it but we are stuck again behind some Volvo wagon thing and once agin we are driving it to a red dust storm and the Pajero is shaking more than George Pell. We get out and on to the lovely Tarmac road and head for the secret swimming tip big Brogan provided earlier. The turn off arrives as promised and looks sort of funny as there is a huge drop off the road in to the approach road but we get our 4×4 on and drive on. If the corrugated road was bad then this is 100 times worse and we reckon big Brogan is having a laugh as the road, I say road but there is no road we are just bouncing from one huge rock to the other and poor Pajero is once again getting a beating. Having suffered this for a couple of kms we get a break and reach a dead end with a gap in the trees. We head straight through and there it is, a lovely water hole with not one other person around. Looking at the water we reckon it might be fine to have a little paddle and let the fish provide a pedicure but no way are we going to swim in the dark parts. Just then we hear a car arrive and Kaz has a Wolf Creek moment again but amazingly it is the people who parked next to us again and the Dad is elated at the site of this spot and I reckon he thought I was going to swim here. He strips off thinking he would be first in and then has second thoughts as we inform him that we ain’t swimming here as we like breathing and leave him to it.
We get back to the road house and decide we will treat ourselves and eat in the bar. Timed perfectly as happy hour is on, we order both eats and drinks then retire to watch yet another sunset outside. A couple start to chat and we take part for a bit then we are saved by the arrival of our food which we scoff then retire for the night knackered. Oh and the stick man and woman are the signs for the toilets, no word she just the stick figures.

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