Last time (some three weeks ago) I wrote about a collapsed culvert on the Gimbat Road, the road into the Yurmikmik area and Gunlom, which prompted the Department of Construction and Infrastructure to close the road on 08 March 2011 until further notice.
This road into the Yurmikmik area can usually be accessed for most of the wet season. For a limited number of days the Yurmikmik walks may become inaccessible when the Kambolgie Creek is in flood.
A road closure for several months, however, is unprecedented!
Updates from Kakadu National Park officials on predicted opening dates for key visitor sites like Yurmikmik, Gunlom, Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls have been slow-coming and somewhat patchy (until yesterday).
The Department of Construction and Infrastructure was even less forthcoming with information on the extent of road works required.
A week ago, they couldn’t even tell us when they were going to get started!
Frustrating (to say the least), as I’ve been telling people for weeks to keep an eye out for new blog posts!
It took some networking among industry partners, a telephone marathon, emails to people in high places and many sleepless nights until we finally received the news that the graders are on the road!
It seems that the waiting game will be over soon, work on this road has now been prioritised: Two graders are now working on the road and repairs to the damaged culvert also commenced yesterday.
This means the Yurmikmik area with its walks to Boulder Creek and Motor Car Falls should become accessible within a week – and access to Gunlom shouldn’t be too long either.
Crocodile surveys in the Gunlom precinct are being undertaken over the next week, while rangers are putting the finishing touches to campground and day use area at the same time.
As soon as the road closure is lifted, we will swap the walks to Nanguluwurr and Gubara for a dip in the plunge pool at Ikoymarrwa, the walks into Yurmikmik and (a few days later) a trip to Gunlom!
We’ve also received word on the status of Maguk, Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls. This is what we’ve been told in a nutshell:
Maguk (Barramundi Gorge) is unlikely to open to the public before some time in July. Water levels in the area are still very high, too high to start with the mandatory crocodile surveys. The access road will also require some TLC, a serious washout is currently hampering access for the rangers.
While the Jim Jim Road is also in need of road works (five spillways will be installed on the gravel road between the Kakadu Hwy turnoff and Garnamarr campground, some washouts on the 4WD track into the Jim Jim Falls precinct will be tended to), the rangers will be able to place crocodile traps in the creek in the following week and crocodile surveys will commence shortly thereafter. At this point Kakadu National Park rangers are hoping to have this site open by mid June.
Access to Twin Falls is expected for late June, depending on water levels in the Jim Jim Creek crossing. I hope to get a few more details on Twin Falls out to you soon!
I know. This is probably not what you want to hear if you have booked to go on a tour with us in early June.
Nevertheless, we will make your day worthwhile, you will see the most beautiful places available to us at the time – and you will take home some wonderful memories.