Camping cost: $1536.73 Sites: 40 Average: $38.42

peteg's blog - travels - NT 2003 08 - 2003 08 15 KatherineGorge

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The tour got underway. Yesterday both Karen and I called the company — Adventure Tours — to ask that they pick me up from her place out at Nightcliff; they'd previously indicated that it'd be no trouble to pick me up from wherever. No joy, and moreover they asked that I be at their office at 5:30am to sign in! I ended up watching the sunrise there, sometime around 7am.

I took a seat on the coach next to this Irish guy, Leo, who turned out to be the most laid-back guy on the trip, mixing it with everyone. There was also an Irish girl, Trish, along as well, and she had that killer soft Irish voice and ready smile that makes them easy to travel with.

The problem with going on these kinds of tours is that you're inevitably the only Australian on it apart from the tour guides, who will almost-certainly crank out the Ockerisms just because they can. Take, for instance, Marty from Rockhampton and Jimmy, running as far as he can from Geelong: their idea of something fun to do on the bus was lightning bingo. I tend to think of this game as merely a way of keeping Catholic grandmas off the street, for the Lord knows what these old dears are capable of and does not wish to upset the rest of his flock. Increasing the rate at which the games are played adds not one jot to it's ability to capture the intellect. Oh yes, the prize... the prize, you ask? Well, you got it whether you played or not: "free" pizza and beer at the end of the tour.

Anyway, we headed straight for the Katherine Gorge, and that was absolutely beautiful. (We were supposed to check out the Adelaide River WWII memorial, but the bus didn't stop.) Most people took canoes or the tourist boat down the river, but I and some others opted to just go for a walk along it, and for a dip. The water was the cleanest I've ever been in; you can drink the stuff and hardly notice.

Spent the night in these permanent tents at a permanent campsite; it was kinda like a zero-star motel. It made me realise that the company must be more highly capitalised than I would've expected, as they own or rent these sort of things all over the N.T. and remote Queensland.