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 Touching Country Pilgrimage

Part 2 – Northern Territory

The second week of the pilgrimage involved travelling in the Northern Territory.  Our first stop was Katherine where we hiked to a lookout to see the impressive Katherine Gorge and cooled down with a swim at Edith Falls, a popular freshwater swimming hole. 

Next was Kakadu, a place that we had been looking forward to and it did not disappoint.  The sunrise cruise started with the water being covered in mist and as it lifted, we were able to start to see the impressive wetland and its array of birds, brolgas, wild brumbies and of course crocodiles.  We also went hiking in the national park where we saw amazing rock formations, rock art that was 50 000 years old and watched the sunset from an amazing lookout. 

At Arnhem land we were privileged once again to go to an Aboriginal settlement and learn more about their culture.  At the Injalak Arts centre we met artists who showed us  how they do traditional paintings using reeds from the billabong out the back.  We also had Aboringinal guides who took us hiking, showing us rock art and allowing us to go to a sacred burial site. The last couple of days were spent in Darwin shopping, keeping cool at the local water parks and learning about Darwin’s history.  A visit to the museum taught us a lot about Cyclone Tracy, while the Military museum helped us to understand the full extent of the bombings that Darwin endured during WW2.

The end of the pilgrimage was met with mixed emotions - from not wanting this once in a life time experience to end, to being very excited to see our loved ones again.  The heat, green ants, ticks, mosquitos, exhaustion and dirt were only minor complaints compared to the great friends we made, the incredible sights we saw and everything we learned about northern Australia and its people.

We would like to thank Clairvaux MacKillop College for inviting us to participate on the pilgrimage with them and for welcoming us into their community.  We have made many new friendships and a strong connection between our two Josephite schools.  A special thank you must go to Ms Sandra Stadhams (Clairvaux MacKillop College’s Campus Minister) for her vision and organisation of the pilgrimage.

The Touching Country Pilgrimage was a life changing experience that is highly recommended for any of our students in the future.