Published: October 13th 2011October 13th 2011
Well, our first blog post from a new state, after spending six weeks in Western Australia. Time is flying...
It was nice to chill out for a few days in Broome - did a few touristy things, went to the outdoor cinema (deckchairs under the stars), watched the sunset on cable beach, went to the museum, and also did a few admin bits, caught up on emails and gave Bert a health check (doing fine for an old man). But we find it hard to stay anywhere for more than this as its the journey that appeals on this part of the trip rather than the places, so we hit the road again heading for the Northern Territory.
The drive from Broome to Katherine (the first town you hit in NT) is about 1600kms, and the road (highway 1) goes through 3 towns. So that's like driving from Lands End to John O'Groats and only going through 3 places the size of English villages on the way, with perhaps 2/3 petrol stations in between these. This took us 4 days or so and we stopped at what we could - a gorge in the Kimberly, and Kununurra, the last
town before the WA/NT border was quite sizeable and was on the edge of a national park so we spent an afternoon and then the next morning there. But the days were hot and long in the car, and pretty much went like this:
-wake up with the sun around 5:30, soon be in a pool of your own sweat, so get up
-shower off the sweat
-hit the road around 6am, and have two hours of fairly comfortable driving temperature
-be sitting in a pool of your own sweat by 8am, continue until a suitable lunch spot
-any water that started the day cold would be warm by midday
-lunch would be somewhere nice in the shade, but the bread would be almost cooked
-get back into sweaty bert and repeat the morning, with the drinking water temperature increasing
-find a campsite before it gets dark
-put the tent up and sweat a lot
-if the campsite has a pool, jump in it, often still clothed
-cook tea, and sweat some more
-shower (cold), feel clean and cool but then as soon as you get dry, be dripping with sweat again
-rinse the days clothes through and hang
them up to dry to be worn the next day
-consider re-showering but realise this could go on all night
-wait for the tmperature to drop a few degrees before getting into the tent, all the while trying not to be bitten
-lay in a pool of your own sweat until falling asleep
-repeat. (the NT is 1.5hrs ahead so the days were the same just shifted slightly)
So needless to say we and a lot of our clothes are pretty manky right now! Since Katherine we have had lots of places to stop at so it has been fine. The heat is just about bearable as long as you don't try and do anything strenuous - a 1hr gorge walk in the middle of the day nearly finished me off on the first day out of Broome. We can't sleep in Bert as its far too hot.
Its all about the journey, and to drive through the Kimberly region and experience the vastness of the area (almost twice the size of the UK) and its remoteness was quite an experience. There was lots of wildlife to see, and I only hit one wallaby :-( they are daft
they hop into the path of the car and its more dangerous to swerve than to hit them. It's 'interesting' up here to say the least - we're just about getting used to having to check every toilet for spiders, snakes, frogs, lizards, large flying insects, massive biting ants, and everything else before sitting down. Even small ants bite, there's just no getting away from the things that are out to get you up here.
In Katherine we spent an afternoon at the gorge (very nice), and saw some wallabies with tiny joeys poking out eating grass, and then the next morning at the School of the Air - school for kids on remote stations that is done over the internet. It was pretty amazing to learn about this - the school covers 800,000kms and the kids tune in to one lesson a day and have work sent that they have to sent back in. Debs was fascinated by this and there will be more info about it on her blog for school - www.pe-teacherontour.blogspot.com if anyone is interested.
After Katherine we moved north to Lichfield national park and spent the day heating up in the car and
then cooling off in swimming holes under amazing waterfalls. The heat made this day even better as it was so nice to get in the water! Oh, the night before we stayed in a campsite just outside the park and saw an advert for an arts and crafts evening in the local library, so thought hey, lets go hang out there. So we did, and boy were we glad - not only could we sit in an air conditioned room for the evening talking to locals, but they provided snacks, including home made lemon meringue pie with a passion fruit topping. What an evening.
And now, Darwin... its Mindil beach night market night tonight, a market with amazing street food overlooking the beach while the sun sets... and then back on the road tomorrow. It will be nice to point Bert south for the first time since leaving Perth and head to slightly cooler temperatures (though not expecting much of a drop unitl we get towards Adelaide. 3500kms, with the red centre in between. Lets roll!
(Sorry no photos yet - lost the lead...)
There are more photos below