Gorge of the Flies

Although it is well known that the wet season isn’t the ideal time to do a roadtrip across the top of Australia, we are surprised to find that the Cutta Cutta Caves, near Katherine, are closed for the wet season. It’s a shame to be sure, but we continue on instead to the Joe Creek Picnic Area where we take the escarpment walk to a high lookout over the Victoria River.

From here we find a few things;
  1. Phone reception (even on Optus!)
  2. Some great rocks to climb (seriously it was impossible to keep Doug off them)
  3. And the knowledge that walking in 40°C heat can really take it out of you.

Okay, so the last one shouldn’t be that surprising, but for 2 young, fit, thrill-seekers such as ourselves, it was an important lesson to slow our pace to match the conditions.

Tonight we plan to camp in Judburra National Park, down by Limestone Gorge, but naturally this turns out to be closed for the wet season as well so we camp instead at Jasper Gorge.

Driving through the gorge is a fantastic experience and well worth the 50km of dirt road, however the campsite is basic and the flies, ants, mosquitoes and other bugs are insane. The flies in particular make doing anything at all 10 times as difficult.

Just as the sun starts to disappear (and so then the flies) I decide it is time for an outback shower and a cold beer. The car shower pump works extremely well and is both refreshing and effective for getting clean. The cold beer is just a bonus, after all, who doesn’t love a shower beer?

With the sun down and the flies subdued for now we hit the sack after a long day of driving, little knowing the horrors that await that night.

Earlier in the evening both Doug and I noticed a flash or 2 in the sky, but dismissed it as fireflies, despite the fact it was clearly lightening. I guess we were tricked by the lack of any other signs of a storm, and absolutely no sound of thunder despite the dead silence of the night. Instead we went woke up to insane winds, lightening, thunder, and a half asleep Doug yelling “Dave, the rain’s a comin’”. So we madly rushed to set up swag and tent, stash all loose belongings/chairs/tables in the car, and pull down the fly screen dome we had been asleep in before the wind did that for us. To the credit of our still half asleep selves, all this happened in a matter of minutes and our respective waterproof structures were up in time to meet the rain with dry belongings, dry beds and dry humans in tow.

The next morning we get up early and repack properly all those things which were shoved hastily in the car during the night, as well as our now wet and dirty swag and tent. All is going well until just after sunrise, as we discover once again- we are camped in the Gorge of the Flies.