Our Top End Tour
was super, with Phil and Trish plus six.
We found new species everywhere, we got our daily fix.
We rubbed on sun block, Rid and Deet, by the bucketfuls,
Then marched through Mangroves, braved the heat, humidity, mosquitoes.
Breakfast at 6:30, no sleep-ins were allowed,
We had each place all to ourselves, there never was a crowd!
By 6 pm wed had it - all tired, wind-blown and weary,
We showered, ate, fell into bed, for our eyes had become bleary.
One eve in Darwin we went forth, Beach Stone-curlews we did not get,
Instead we watched a wedding party photographing as the red sun set.
Then we turned the scope up to the sky to view craters on the crescent
And saw a crescent phase of Venus, before its transit across the sun
While cruising Mary River, Black Bitterns were the go,
And a huge salt water crocodile that killed water buffalo!
The owners island picnic spot with fencing all around,
Did not entice our group at all, it did not look safe or sound.
Phil took us on a Spotlight trip our first night in Kakadu,
Lapwings, Stone-curlews, a Pratincole and a Moon Snake in full view,
A Barn Owl sat in the spotlight, four Dingos in a huddle,
Two Spotted Nightjars along the road, we almost gave Phil a cuddle!
Phil led us straight to Sewerage Ponds for ducks, grebes, waders, tern,
And our trip on Yellow Water made other folks with envy burn.
We had the boat all to ourselves, every view was clear
Of Jabiru and Brolgas, and of large crocs we had no fear.
Each day Trish fixed lunch for us, on a gorgeous gourmet platter.
We came like vultures to her tasty fare, to eat and drink and natter.
She booked our rooms, handed out the keys, told Phil "Its
Youve exercised these folks enough, they want tea before its
The Boab trees arent they fantastic! each ones a
From Yellow Kapok, when their pods are ripe, a pillow you can make.
The Green Birdflower is oh so green, the Mulla-mullas are fluffy;
The Woollybutt blooms are bright, bright orange, spotting Lorikeets
is a toughie.
We took a boat ride on Lake Argyle, on the edge of the Kimberley;
There were White-quilled Rock-pigeons plump and fat on the rocks for
us to see.
The Sandstone Shrike-thrush sang for us, and hugged those sandstone
The Bustards were so many and tall, they appeared in little flocks!
Huge Garden Orb spider webs laced the islands, we gave them wide berth,
We were told a portion of their web is the strongest natural fibre on
The Nail-tailed Wallabies hopped for us so we could see their up-curved
And the Yellow Chats at the eleventh hour, appeared like the
We took a flight to Mitchell Falls well not quite, we didnt
Except for Neville, King of the Day, who saw Falls and the Black Grasswren!
Some of us were too hot and tired, the boulders were too daunting;
Four others joined the group with Phil, their blackfellow guide was
The helicopter ride was great, no doors but lots of air!
The pilots are so young these days, have they yet shaved their chin
We saw sun rise, we saw sun set, while we were in the sky.
One more night in Kununurra, then we will say good-bye.
We swam in croc-free motel pools, we ate fresh barramundi,
We bought Power-aid, old newspapers and cold ice creams aplenty.
Farewell to the great Kimberleys, to Wyndham and Lake Argyle.
Our time in Western Australia has surely made us smile.
Its a long trip back to Darwin; heads nod, mouths agape, eyelids
While the rest of us are sawing logs, Phil doesnt let us down.
"Theres a big Goanna on the left, Whistling Kites above the
But weve got to get to Katherine, no more photos should you take."
We whizzed right past that bloated cow, it looked ready to explode;
Thats one place we didnt hang around, we raced on down the
Next was an injured python, with bands and head of black;
Our brave and peerless leader stopped and flicked it off the
Edith River was a pleasure, the water still and clear
With flycatchers, a Northern Fan and Willy Wag we hold so dear.
As we left Pine Creek the grass was ablaze, and a kettle of kites flew
Mixed with Brown Falcons and one Wedge-tail circling way up in the sky.
Horst looked dapper in his safari gear, Kay and Rosemarys legs
were a sight.
They are red and splotched and itchy, they couldnt hold another
Nevilles taken 2000 photos, Lesleys filled her small sketch
Helens notebook is on its very last page, we look weary and our
hairs gone bad.
But havent we had such fun on this tour, such colourful sights
The red round the Partridge Pigeons eye, the black and white
of the PigeonPied.
The black breast of Rainbow Pittas, the flash of blue on a Kookaburras
The purple crown of a Fairy-wren, the chestnut breast of a Mannikin,
The orange feet of the Scrubfowl, white dots on a Star Finches breast,
The subtle grey on a Sea-eagle as it stands on the edge of its nest.
The red comb on the Jacanas as they run along lily pads green,
And the head and neck of a Jabiru with its iridescent sheen.
The white throat and streaks of the Grasswren, the pink crest on a Great
The bars and bands and spots and splashes, the songs and calls that
Not to mention the flowers weve seen and noted, but the winner,
its a cinch:
Is the purple, red, blue, green and gold of the wonderful Gouldian Finch!
Kay's trip report on Top
'People on the Top End Tour'
poem by Kay Hahne