Jatbula Trail June 2014

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Jatbula Trail June 2014

Postby Lizzy » Mon 30 Jun, 2014 2:09 pm

Just back from a sensational bushwalk along the Jatbula Trail which runs from Nitmiluk Gorge to Leilyn Falls near Katherine in the NT. I did the 62km walk solo over 6 days and had the place to myself :D
After finishing my packraft trip up Nitmilik Gorge I returned and did a quick rearrangement of gear before catching a lift across the river to the start of the walk. it was about 12.30 pm by now and hot!!!
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I was pleased to arrive at the Northern Rockhole to cool off
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Northern Rockhole
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The falls aren't flowing but I was pretty happy non the less!
after a bit of a break I headed off to the first nights camp at Bibblecombe Cascades. Another refreshing dip was had and guess what- no one else about except a little bandicoot that night.
Day 2 and I headed off in the early cool for Crystal Falls. The day heated up quick as I followed the little blue triangular markers guiding the way. The trail took me through long grasss, rocky area and along the escarpment. At one point I came to a rocky outcrop with a small cave and some Jawoyn rock paintings
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The cascades at Crystal Falls was a welcome relief to the heat and a spa bath was first on the agenda. It was at this campsite that I saw the only other walkers on the Jatbula - they had stayed an extra day and were returning back to the start as one of their group had gotten sick.
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Next day the walk continued on to the spectacular 17 mile Falls and roughly the half way point. On the way I ducked down into The Ampitheatre which is a spot the local Indigenous used to visit and has some interesting art.
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The Ampitheatre
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Re: Jatbula Trail June 2014

Postby Lizzy » Mon 30 Jun, 2014 2:18 pm

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17 Mile Falls
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Day 4 and I continued on to Sandy Camp. another cracker of a camp spot with a big lovely swimming hole and sandy beach to camp on.
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Sandy Camp
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For my last night it was off to Sweetwater Pool which is only about 5 Kim's from the end but I preferred another night out on the trail than amongst the crowds at a commercial campground and I couldn't get a lift till the following afternoon.
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Sweetwater
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At around lunchtime the place got a bit busy with people doing a day walk to Sweetwater but all of a sudden they all disappeared and I once again had the place to myself for another refreshing dip.
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Re: Jatbula Trail June 2014

Postby Lizzy » Mon 30 Jun, 2014 2:22 pm

Final day on the Jatbula and it was a quick walk to Leilyn (Edith Falls) where I had a nice morning bath in the upper pools- once again all to myself!!
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Leilyn Upper pool
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I then spent the next few hours lazing around he lower pool which waiting for my transfer back to the gorge with Gecko Tours.
I feel privileged to have been able to visit such an amazing part of this country- it certainly is a special spot!
Cheers
Lizzy
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Re: Jatbula Trail June 2014

Postby philm » Mon 30 Jun, 2014 4:53 pm

Great thanks for posting. Looking at doing the track June 2015.
How were the temperatures?
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Re: Jatbula Trail June 2014

Postby Lizzy » Mon 30 Jun, 2014 6:01 pm

It ranged from about 12-32 degrees I think. I found after lunch it was pretty hot & so liked to get my walking done before then. Nights were cool- took my hubby's Sierra Designs Nitro 30 which was about perfect for me. It was pretty windy too which made it feel a bit cooler.
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Re: Jatbula Trail June 2014

Postby philm » Tue 01 Jul, 2014 1:00 pm

Hi Lizzy

Did you drink the water straight from the creeks or are there tanks at the camp sites?

Also in terms of transport did you book up Gecko much before - We are thinking hiring a car from Darwin and leaving it in Katherine, then getting the bus with Gecko back to Katherinea at the end.

Sound like the approach you took.
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Re: Jatbula Trail June 2014

Postby north-north-west » Tue 01 Jul, 2014 2:17 pm

I've always drunk the water straight from there, including at Nitmiluk. There's a reason that last campsite is called Sweetwater Pool.
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."
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Re: Jatbula Trail June 2014

Postby Lizzy » Tue 01 Jul, 2014 3:09 pm

Hey Phil,
Yep drank it without treating or filtering and no ill effects.
I booked with Gecko the week before- although I heard some people having trouble getting hold of them. Left the car at Nitmiluk visitor centre and caught Gecko back from Leilyn. They were coming back after taking a guided group out a day behind me- so I spent the last night at Sweetwater and then had to wait all day the next day at Leilyn but that was ok with me :)
Some people leave their car at Leilyn and get a lift back to the start and then they can finish when they like. It suited me better to have car at Nitmiluk to leave my raft etc in.
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Re: Jatbula Trail June 2014

Postby ofuros » Wed 02 Jul, 2014 5:16 am

Two great rafting/ walking adventures Lizzy....very envious, reminds me of the escarpment walks around kakadu.
Mountains view are good for my soul...& getting to them is good for my waistline !
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