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We recently did a trip up to Cobourg Peninsula, Northern Territory in the Garig Gunak Barlu National Park for a week, beach fishing and exploring this pristine part of Australia. The white sand beaches and the turquoise colour of the water blew us away, not to mention the amazing wild life that surrounds this area. If you are into adventure and fishing this is the place for you.

The adventure starts on the way to Cobourg, to get there you will need to drive through Kakadu National Park (about 250kms East of Darwin) across Cahill’s Crossing into Arnhem Land through 300 plus kilometres of corrugated dirt road. If you can handle that you’re in for a reward. Before starting your adventure to Cobourg, a permit needs to be approved and acquired in Darwin by Park’s and Wildlife Commission Northern Territory, a permit for a week cost us $232.10. This includes camping (dump toilets and hot showers, not that we need hot showers this time of year). Just make sure you have enough fuel, water and food with you to last you the whole time you are there, the last fuel stop before hitting the corrugations is Jabiru. Apparently in peak season obtaining a permit can be difficult as they only let a certain number of people in the National Park at any one time. Coincidently the only other campers in the National Park were fellow Complete Campsite Exodus 14 owners, Heather and Steve, who have travelled from Victoria to Cobourg every year for the last 6 years.

On our way along the corrugations, only 10 kilometres from camp, we noticed the van was leaning over to one side. We got out to check and discovered we had a punched airbag in the trailer. After doing the number of kilometres and corrugated roads as we have, you are bound to have something go wrong. We crept to camp and set up for the week, Alan the Ranger was very helpful and assisted us with getting in contact with Complete Campsite and organising a new air bag to be flown in to the National Park.

diamonds on the ground island view

On an average day in Cobourg, we would take a drive down the coast track during low tide and check out the turtles and other sea life hanging in the bays. We also would go to the rocky points and search for oysters and crabs. As Ranger Alan says, “if you can’t get an oyster there is something wrong, they don’t run away from you”. We got plenty of oysters, they were massive and tasty. As for crabs, we were not very successful!

During high tide, we would fish off the beach and rocks, we caught Trevally, and Queen fish. For some reason Isaac thought Trevally wasn’t a very good eating fish and threw a few back, this was all before Alan told us it’s a great fish to eat. We cooked some up and were disappointed we had thrown so many back, they were beautiful coated in flour, pepper and salt then cooked on the BBQ.

child holding a fish

Sunsets on the beach in the afternoon were spectacular, but the best part of the day was driving over the Croc Crossing of a morning and seeing how big the croc slides were from them coming out of the creek to the beach from the night before. We first thought the croc crossing sign was a joke until we saw the crocodile tracks and the crocodiles! Speaking of animals in the night, there were many fresh tracks and signs of Banteng around our camp and on the road each morning, but we never saw one.

Our new trailer airbag part arrived the day it was planned to, thanks to the team at Complete Campsite. Being so remote it’s good to know we can rely on Complete Campsite’s after sales team to get us out of trouble. After installing the new airbag, the next day we drove back to Jabiru with no worries, ready for the next adventure…

Bonnie Garrard

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an aligator on the beach