August 13th 2016 – Outback Tour Day 4 of 10

August 13th 2016

Today I started the next part of my outback tour. The tour is a three day trek to Alice Springs called the Cicada Tour. Our tour guide, Simon, picked us up from the Youth Shack hostel at 6:30am. The Youth Shack was pretty bad. It felt like it was a University dorm room with a bunch of party animals. I’m very glad that I had my own private room, because one of my tour mates showed me how disgusting their shared room was. Despite having my own private room I still was woken up plenty of times by yelling and screaming. 

For this part of the journey we had 19 people. 11 of them are carryovers from the last three days. We drove about an hour and a half to Adelaide River for a coffee and a rest. We had been here before on the previous tour. The next stop, Pine Creek, was an hour and a half away as well. We stopped here for fuel and a rest.

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After that we headed towards Katherine Gorge where we had sandwiches for lunch. Four of the 19 of us went on a kayak tour, while the rest of us (myself included) went on a 4.8km walk to a viewpoint overlooking the Katherine River. The view was great!

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This tour is called the Cicada Tour, which is named after a moth, which is the size of a human hand. Cicada’s can live in a tree or underground for up to 13 years, then they come out and have sex and then die. Not the most spectacular life, but maybe it’s not that bad? The Katherine River, also known as the Cicada River, is located in Nitmaluk National Park 

At 5:15pm we left Katherine Gorge and stopped in Katherine to pickup liquor for the next two days. We arrived at our camp site at around 6:30pm. Our camp site is located in Spring Vow, which is only about ten minutes outside of Katherine. The camp site was a fairly substantial RV park about four years ago, but was closed to the public due to sewage problems. The site couldn’t handle the amount of sewage that people produced so the decision was made to shut it down. Way Outback tour group has a special agreement with the owner of the land so we essentially get private access to this huge facility. 

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We made a campfire, and prepared a dinner of steaks, sausages, potatoes and onions with cheese cooked over the fire, and salad. 

We learned about a few interesting facts about Australia. There was a secret war in Laos around the same time of the Vietnam war. The United States dropped so much Napalm and so many Cluster Bombs in Laos that their soil was so polluted and destroyed that nothing was able to grow there, until eucalyptus trees from Australia were planted in the land. Eucalyptus trees are very hearty and can withstand some pretty harsh conditions. This plan worked and over time the trees actually made the soil good enough to actually be able to grow vegetation and food again. The other fact we learned was that Australia invented the boxed wine about 51 years ago. 

We went to bed at about 10:30pm. I slept in a swag, which is essentially a bag that you zip up all around you and has a pillow and a thin mattress to sleep on. It was surprisingly comfortable! Throughout the night wallabies were walking around everywhere. Today we drove 350km. 

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