Monthly Archives: April 2013

Nitmiluk [Katherine Gorge] & Leliyn [Edith Falls] – Travel Log 11

Nitmiluk [Katherine Gorge] National Park located 30 km northeast of Katherine which in itself is located 310 km south of Darwin along the Stuart Highway.

The park covers an area of 292,800 hectare and is jointly managed by the Parks and Wildlife Service of the Northern Territory and the traditional owners of the land the Jawoyn Aboriginal people.

On the western side of the National Park, Leliyn [Edith Falls] is accessed by a turning off the Stuart Highway, located 42 km north of Katherine, along a sealed road some 19 km from the point of entry.

The area is some billion years old when most of it was covered with shallow seas which were fed by numerous streams depositing sedimentary materials into them. During the Neogene Period, some 23 million years ago, Nitmiluk was formed by the sandstone and conglomerates deposits which were compressed into thousands of metres in thickness. Following a series of tectonic movements the area was subjected to periods of faulting, stretching, thinning, and lifting creating the foundations of the gorge. The Katherine River of the time was to zigzag a course through the fault lines and cracks eroding it in conjunction with adverse weather conditions during dry and wet seasons alike. This resulted in the deep gorges and spectacular landscape seen today.

As I previously mentioned in my Travel Log 10 – Kakadu: my wife and I travelled to Darwin in August 2011 to celebrate my 60th birthday. After spending the Big Day at there, the following day we treated ourselves to another long day out to Katherine Gorge and Edith Falls. We arranged the day trip through APT. We were picked us up from our hotel – Holiday Inn Esplanade – and were dropped back on the return. We should have stuck with AAT Kings had we known the driver was to give us all a headache by her constant chatter.

On route to Katherine we had a stop at Pine Creek to stretch our legs and look over the tiny settlement which boasted a railway museum and not much else. Katherine itself looked like a pretty little town and we were disappointed that APT felt it better to stop at Pine Creek than at Katherine which had so much more to offer.

The highlight of the day however was the Katherine Gorge Cruise which, because we were in the dry season, consisted of two cruises: one in the lower gorge, and then by disembarking and climbing up a pathway to the upper gorge to embark on the second leg of the cruise. Along the way one can see numerous examples of Aboriginal rock art. The return journey comprises of a reversal of the trip. In all, the “Gorge” comprises of a network of 13 separate gorges carved into the ancient sandstone by rapids and falls. The cruise lasts two hours and begins with a buffet lunch on board the boat, amongst freshwater crocodiles and an abundant bird life.

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Following the cruise we are taken to the Nitmiluk Visitor Centre which displays large-scale models illustrating the fauna, flora and geological formations of the park. The centre also boasts a large selection of souvenirs and handmade artifacts of the Jawoyn people. I bought a nice shirt: had to buy something!!

On leaving the Visitor Centre the tour continues by taking us to Edith Falls. Here there is a large freshwater pond which is safe to swim in. My wife and I preferred to stay on Terra Firma as much as we were told the crocodiles here are not man eaters we weren’t brave enough like some in our party.

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We returned to Darwin at approximately 9pm. A long day, but well worth it.

RLB – Tomewriter


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Rob's 60th 005

As we commemorate ANZAC Day, let us not forget the Merchant Mariners who supplied the fuel, food, and military supplies for the much-needed war effort.

During the conflict of World War II of a total of 55,882 Allied merchant seamen, 25,864 died as a direct result of Axis naval and air forces.

“They shall grow not old as we are left grow old,

Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn,

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning



Poppy Flower

Poppy Flower

         RLB – Tomewriter

Smithy's War Final

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Kakadu National Park – Travel Log 10

Three hours and 171 kilometres from Darwin taking the Stuart and Arnhem Highways [State Route 36] heading in a south-easterly direction you will reach the Kakadu National Park. Covering an area of 19,804 km² it is one of Australia’s most spectacular natural habitats.

For around 40,000 years the area has been home to the Gun-djeihmi, Kunwinjku, and Jawoyn Peoples who are the traditional owners of the land. The area is well reputed for some 5,000 sites which illustrate the Aboriginal cultures in rock art demonstrating their occupation of this land over thousands of years.

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Aboriginal Rock Art

Kakadu is diverse in many ways both biologically and ecologically thanks mainly to four major river systems: the East Alligator River, the West Alligator River, the South Alligator River, and the Wildman River. These provide the estuaries, tidal flats, and flood plains which create the perfect environments for an incredible variety and concentration of fauna and flora.

My wife and I travelled to Darwin in August 2011 to celebrate my 60th birthday. Spending the Big Day at Kakadu was a wonderful experience. We arranged the day trip through AAT Kings which picked us up from our hotel – Holiday Inn Esplanade – and dropped us back on the return.

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Pool at Holiday Inn Esplanade Darwin

The coach was comfortable and air-conditioned thank goodness as though August is winter the daytime temperature rarely dropped below 30*C and nights averaged about 18*C.  The tour included a couple of stops each way to enable us to stretch our legs and to allow the driver a well-deserved break. A buffet lunch was included on the stop to Kakadu which was well organised and the food was hearty. [Forgive me I am unable to remember the name of the place we stopped, although I think it was on the Adelaide River]:

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The highlight of the trip however was to witness the glorious wetlands and I will let some of the following images speak for themselves:

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Although a long day, it was well worth it; and we looked forward to our next adventure the following day to Edith Falls and Katherine Gorge…..

RLB – Tomewriter

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Patonga Beach Hotel

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Patonga Beach Hotel

It was my wife’s birthday yesterday so decided to take her out to lunch. As our son had a day off work I invited him along as well. Rather than going to our usual haunts of either the Club on the Hawkesbury at Mooney Mooney or to one of a few restaurants at Terrigal on the Central Coast we thought we would give the Patonga Beach Hotel a try. We had heard good reports about it, so we were looking forward to making up our own mind about the place. We were not disappointed. The ambiance and location of the establishment was superb as was the food, and at a very reasonable cost. The menu was varied, but did tend to be biased towards fish/seafood; not that I mind as the Atlantic Salmon I ate was excellent. Our son opted for an Angus steak and the birthday girl had Mediterranean Lamb which was slow cooked and served in a piquant sauce with seasonal vegetables.

Their website link is:

There is a ferry service from Palm Beach every day, or if you want to get there by car from Sydney, take the Gosford exit off the F3 motorway and head towards Kariong. Follow the signs to Woy Woy and then take the Ocean Beach Road to Umina and follow to signs to Patonga. It is certainly worth the effort.

RLB – Tomewriter

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As one project ends, a new one begins………..

With the Sword and the Rose now finished, I am just completing the editing stage before I offer it to a 3rd party publisher for consideration; I have started the initial research needed for my new project: To Embrace Amidst Orange Blossoms.  Originally I was going to call my this book project “Elena” taken from the principal character of my story. On reflection however the name did nothing to alert the reader what the story is about, whereas the new title has a much nicer ring to it, and could be easier to be identified as a romantic tale, which of course it is.

In fact the story will have a time frame of just ten days [approx] and is set in the Spring of 1622 on a ship travelling from the Spanish port city of Seville to the town of Gandia in the eastern part of the country. I am aiming at a word count of between 17,500 to 40,000; and am hoping to start writing it with the next month or so.

As I still have been unable to find a day job to replace my previous one from which I was made redundant about 3 weeks ago, this new project will be a life saver and keep the brain working rather than wallowing in self-pity….

RLB – Tomewriter

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Old Photos

CCF Geology Field Trip 1969 - Top of Great Gable

It’s pretty cool stuff when starting to look through old photos. Having recently joined the website “Friends Reunited” it inspired me to have a hunt around my old photos to see if I had any from school days. Unfortunately I could only find one. Isn’t it a shame really when at the time, I probably had loads more, but one gets complacent never thinking that one day you would enjoy looking back to those days.

This one and only photo is me at the very top of Great Gable one of the highest, if not the highest, peak in the Lake District of England. I will hasten to add this is my favourite of all counties of England, especially around Grasmere and Kendall. This photo was taken in April 1969 when my classmates and teacher from Christs College Finchley in North London were on a Geological Field Trip.

RLB – Tomewriter

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My Old School……

Isn’t it great how something unexpected comes out of the blue…

I received an email from one of my oldest friends [oldest not in age because he’s younger than me, but in years we have known each other]. Attached to the email was a picture of our school building – Wembley Independent Grammar – which no longer exists. The site was demolished many years ago and in its place is a whole “new” housing estate.

Looking at the photograph brought back a flood of memories: I certainly made some good friends, and I sometimes wonder what happened to the majority of my classmates. The only one I have remained in contact with is Tony [he who sent the photo]. Seems Tony might have found this in the following website, as I just stumbled upon it myself: The link is of the school pupils and teachers. I’m there somewhere: I think I was at the end of the back row. Tony actually has a copy of the photo at his home [I lost my copy years ago], but what a great find. I will have to join the website and see if I can track down my friends from my senior school, Christs College Finchley which I went to in 1969/70……… what fun!!


Wembley Independant Grammar School Building circa 1966

Wembley Independent Grammar School Building circa 1966


RLB – Tomewriter



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And so begins a new start…..

Although writing is my passion, as yet it doesn’t help pay the bills and a day job is necessary. After 6+ years at Unilever my job has moved offshore to India and I was shown the door last Thursday 28th March 2013.

So begins a new start……….. The joys of visiting and registering with recruitment agents, scanning the various websites for possible appropriate vacancies, and hopefully being selected for interviews are once again upon me.

It’s only been a week, so its early days; and as much as it would be tempting to listen to some people and take a break, I however want to get straight into it and find work quickly. The trouble is that if you leave it for a few weeks/months you can risk becoming “lazy”, which would make it all the harder in getting back to the routine of early mornings and facing the long hard days of work.

I don’t think I can ever be accused of being “lazy”, far from it. I do enjoy working, though like most people I also do like a break, which is why I like to plan ahead for holidays [unlike my wife and stepson who tend to leave it for the last-minute], it makes working all that more ‘do-able’ knowing there is something to look forward to.

In the meantime, I will be filling in my time with research, not only for possible future employers, but also to remain up to date with market trends and employment opportunities.

Of course I must not forget my writing. I getting close in finishing my second novel. I must confess I had put it on hold for a while, whilst I came to terms of facing unemployment; but this was short-lived and I am excited at attending interviews to hone this crucial communications skill.  I hope my resume, which comprises a vast experience in my chosen field, will not only impress, but will secure an exciting new role sooner rather than later. For any would-be employer and/or recruiter out there who might be reading this post you can view my professional background on LinkedIn:

RLB – Tomewriter

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