We managed to break camp this morning, fill another gas bottle, and drive about 54 km to the Northern Territory Wildlife Park where we spent the entire day. This excursion fitted in well with Ruby’s schoolwork, which required some research into zoos. The park is an excellent example of a zoo that has re-oriented itself towards conservation and education. The bird display was particularly impressive. We saw some beautiful raptors up close: there were owls, eagles, and kites, including a magnificent and reputedly bad-tempered sea eagle. We saw a native buzzard too, which is becoming scarce due to habitat destruction.
There was also a magnificent saltwater crocodile kept in a rather cramped enclosure. These are truly terrifying beasts. During a display of a Black-Headed Python and Blue-Tongue Lizard, it began to rain (this was the first rain we’ve seen since we arrived at Minnie Water early in the journey). One of the rangers told the kids that Blue-Tongue lizards make good pets, and they both got a chance to handle one.
And they got to handle one of the larger reptiles as well…
Because we lingered at the park until late in the afternoon, we decided not to drive on to Katherine and instead drove 8 km down the road to Tumbling Waters Caravan Park at Berry Springs. The mozzies here are truly ferocious. Overhead fans provided some respite from the continuous onslaught, but my ankles are swollen from bites. Susan injured her hand this morning whilst packing up. She got her palm pinched in one of the sliding poles in the tent. Clare is nursing a wound on her foot that she sustained in Tony’s backyard: she tore the sole of her foot on the thorns of a fallen palm frond, and Susie and I spent some time fishing thorn fragments out of the wound.