It was about 17:30 on 27 Aug 2010 when Zig (1+1) and I made it back to the Kakadu Highway from the Old Goodparla Homestead. As part of his ranger job, he needed to check out the nearby Ostejic (or maybe Ostojic?) Road Camp area on Gerowie Creek before we went back. Public access to the area is prohibited (I don't know why). We just made a quick pass through the area; however, I noticed a grave marker when I was taking pictures out the window. Zig had not noticed it before and did not realize that it was there. I just figured it was some guy with the last name, Boydy, who had worked at the road camp, died on 13 Nov 1995, and his family or friends buried him there. It could have also been the nickname for a guy with the last name, Boyd (like Australian footballer Matthew Boyd, who is called "Boydy"). However, in trying to find online information about the Ostejic Road Camp and/or Boydy, I found out that B.O.Y.D.Y. could mean something very different! I hope there is nothing sinister about this grave.
Both going in and out of the Ostejic Road Camp area, we saw many Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos. They are a beautiful bird, but really noisy. Wikipedia mentions a traditional story from western Arnhem Land that tells of Black Cockatoo and her husband Crow, who are Bird-people, sprouting black feathers after becoming afflicted with a sickness from across the sea to the north. In fear of being buried underground, they transform into birds and fly high in the sky. Wikipedia also says that in the folklore of the Tiwi people, the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo is said to accompany the dead to heaven. I wonder if this could have anything to do with the gravesite being where it is? On the way out, there was a large flock of cockatoos feeding in a flat area. I managed to get a videoclip of them.
There is a metal footbridge crossing three large boulders in the streambed near the base of the Bottom Moline Rockhole. Although the welds on the footbridge say "The Rock Hole I. Fisher 1960," the small plaque on it says: "This bridge was originally built by N. & I. Fisher and the pathway by volunteers from Moline 1959." The footbridge has to be strong and well anchored, since I am sure that it must be covered with torrents of water at certain times of the year. BTW, the pool and stream below the bridge looked like perfect crocodile habitat!
The first day of my visit to southern Kakadu, Zig (1+1) took me to a beautiful rockhole, which had a small waterfall and a natural pool area with crystal clear water. When I was there in August 2010, I did not realize that there are actually two Moline rockholes, Top and Bottom. I believe that where we went was the Bottom Moline Rockhole. The Top Moline Rockhole is closed to the public. There was literally no one else there, including saltwater crocodiles (thank goodness); however, that is not always the case so be careful! The Goymarr Tourist Park includes the Bottom Moline Rockhole in their list of Waterfalls of Southern Kakadu. Their website also indicates that they are in the process of developing a walking track between the Tourist Park and the Rockhole.
The unmarked turn northwest to the Bottom Moline Rockhole access road is ~5.5 km northeast of the southern entrance to Kakadu National Park on Hwy-21. The access road runs ~1.0 km to a parking area next to a picnic table. It is an easy ~200 meter walk from the trailhead to the Rockhole. Please note the danger signs about turbulent water and crocodiles. It would be good to check at the Goymarr Interpretive Center when you get your park pass whether a special permit is required to go to the Bottom Moline Rockhole.
The Goymarr Interpretive Center (as it is called on the Kakadu Visitor Guide map) is part of the Goymarr Tourist Park (formerly the Mary River Roadhouse), which calls it the Visitor Information Center. It is located near the south entrance to Kakadu National Park on Hwy-21 about 60 km northeast of the Stuart Highway. You can get your park pass, Visitor Guide, Aboriginal artwork, and souvenirs there. A park pass costs 25 AUD for 14 consecutive days. All international and interstate visitors aged 16 years and over need to buy a park pass before they arrive at Kakadu National Park. All Northern Territory residents and children under 16 are free.
The south entrance to Kakadu National Park is on the Kakadu Highway (Hwy-21) just north (~0.5 km) of the Goymarr Tourist Park, which is ~60 km northeast of the Stuart Highway . On 26 Aug 2010 it took Zig (1+1) and I ~35 minutes to get there from the Stuart Highway. Along the way you pass many creeks and the Moline Golf Course (see a separate travelogue).
The Park Notes on the Geology of Kakadu tell us that an unconformity is where there has been a period of erosion between the formation of an older rock and the deposition of a younger rock. The Ikoymarrwa Lookout is located on the unconformity north of the Goymarr Tourist Park, where red weathered basalt sits under a lighter coloured sandstone cap. Although the Ikoymarrwa Lookout is a very unassuming place on the Kakadu Highway, it has some interesting aspects.
Ikoymarrwa is the descriptive Jawoyn name for the Moline Rockholes. The view is nice to the west but if you know where to look toward the northwest, you can see the cliff tops above the Top and Bottom Moline Rockholes from the Lookout. Another interesting thing is that the stream which forms the waterfall between the two Moline Rockholes used to cut through the unconformity ~200 meters to the southeast of the current gap. The former cut is the one closer to the Lookout. I included a view from Google Earth that shows this.
Joe Fisher Bridge crosses the Mary River ~250 meters north of the turn to the Goymarr Tourist Park. It is ~270 meters north to the Kakadu National Park boundary. There are warning signs about crocodiles by the bridge. Zig told me that just the year before they found a 4.5 meter long saltwater crocodile in the river ~20 meters above the bridge. They named it "Moline." It was tagged and tracked by satellite. Saltwater crocodiles generally spend the tropical wet season in freshwater swamps and rivers, moving downstream to estuaries in the dry season, and sometimes traveling far out to sea. Fortunately when I was there in August 2010, "Moline" was doing a saltwater tour.
The turn to the 700 meter access road for the Bukbukluk Lookout is located off the Kakadu Highway (Hwy-21) about 13 km north of the Ikoymarrwa Lookout. There is a picnic table near the trailhead. It is a ~400 meter roundtrip to two lookout areas with views of the Old Goodparla Station. See also a videoclip
There used to be an airstrip at the Old Goodparla Homestead. Believe it or not, it still has an airport code, YGPA. Clearly, no airplane has landed there in a long time, since there are fairly good-sized trees and plenty of tall grasses growing in the runway. From the airstrip it is ~1.5 km to the homestead itself.
The turn to the southeast off the Kakadu Highway to the Old Goodparla Homestead is ~1.1 km north of the turn to the original Goodparla Homestead site. The road heads southeast past an interesting rock formation for ~0.5 km before turning north. It is then ~0.9 km to the Old Goodparla Airstrip, and another 1.5 km north and west to reach the homestead.
The story of why there are three Goodparla homesteads is that in 1953 the Goodparlas went partying and could not find their way home to the original homestead site, so they started another homestead on Gerowie Creek (what is now Old Goodparla Homestead). It happens to be near an area with springs (which is probably the real reason that the homestead got moved). BTW, the story continues with the same thing happening again. That is how "New Goodparla" got founded. See also other tips and a travelogue.
About 100 meters east of the Old Goodparla house and shed is a flat area with springs or at least an area that collects considerable water from a large drainage. It now has a fairly large amount of green grass and rich looking soil, but it would have been a good place for a garden when someone was living at the homestead. It drains into the nearby Gerowie Creek which also had plenty of water when we were there in August 2010.
The regular road into the Old Goodparla Homestead is a 4WD road but there is an alternate road that is even less traveled. It is a high-clearance 4WD road. Although the road starts off relatively flat, only vehicles like Zig's Toyota Land Cruiser could negotiate it, especially one dry creek crossing (no pictures there since I was holding on for dear life). There were some huge Cathedral Termite mounds along the way. The road is traveled so little that it is difficult to tell where it goes sometimes.
I am not sure I would want to stay at the Old Goodparla Homestead at night. We saw evidence of a recent large animal kill down by Gerowie Creek. The buffalo horns between the homestead and the creek might have been from an earlier time.
The turn to the southeast off the Kakadu Highway to the original Goodparla Homestead site is ~1 km north of the turn to the Bukbukluk Lookout. There is not much left at the original site except for some rock floors, old mango trees and the remains of a corral inside a small fenced area. It is sometimes called the Old Old Goodparla Homestead and was built on creek that flows from a sacred spring in the Bukbukluk area. There was an old bedframe under a tree down by the creek. Zig said that it was probably from Aboriginal people that moved in after the homestead was abandoned. See the tip on the Old Goodparla Homestead for the story of why the original homestead site was abandoned.