I had never seen waterfalls before and took a trip to Jim Jim Falls which was not a great success. There was no water at the falls but then, I never made it that far. It was close to midday, temperatures of about 104 F (40C), the deafening sound of the crickets or cicadas and there were enormous boulders that had to be negotiated and were burning hot. At one point I started feeling faint so decided to miss the lagoon and stay put while everyone went ahead. There I was trying to catch my breath and the minute I sat down something crawled up my leg and bit me. Still feeling dazed I couldn’t quite figure out what it was except it hurt when it bit. I am still here so I guess it was not deadly…
I did swim at Litchfield National Park in the very gentle Buley Rockholes and though Wangi Falls had opened that day after being closed for a week following a crocodile sighting I could not quite bring myself to swim in it. I mean, how can they really be sure it is gone? Edith Falls near Katherine was my eventual proper dip at the falls and though it was disconcerting to be pecked by the fish, it was the loveliest setting.
In Katherine, thanks to the lovely Jann, for the first time, and undoubtedly the last, I went on a helicopter ride. White knuckled terror doesn’t quite describe it. And yes, I sobbed with relief when I was back on terra firma. But then this trip is about pushing boundaries and taking myself out of my comfort zone. So there. I have done it.
It is not every day you meet someone whose work truly makes a difference and in Katherine I was honoured to meet two women who do. Jann’s role is to engage and work with remote indigenous communities in order to increase employment and small business opportunities. And then there was the amazingly energetic 80 year old Barb who is a recipient of the Order of Australia medal for her work during the 70s in Alice Springs and Katherine educating and setting up a centre for Aboriginal health workers and for her work for leprosy control in the Northern Territories. I do not know who the original Katherine was but the women who live there are truly remarkable.