Published: December 28th 2008November 17th 2008
The croc jumps out of deep water!
We arrived into Darwin and man was it hot and humid. We checked into our rubbish hostel only to find out it was burgled the night before, nice comforting thought.
Very early the next morning we started our tour round Kakadu National Park. We jumped in the back of a Toyota 4x4 with a few other people and made our way down. Our first stop was at the Adaleide River, to try to find crocodiles and hopefully feed them. We got on a small boat and cruised up the river. Within about two mins two crocs were following us. The boat driver rambled on in the background telling us really interesting facts such as “oh yes, crocs will eat just about anything.. including you..... and me of course!” with a really corny laugh thrown in, whilst his assistant hung rods of meat over the side to bait the crocs. After a few teases they’d eventually jump for the meat. Apparently they weren’t that hungry at this time of year. The average size of croc was about 3 meters but the last one we saw was at least 5 meters, even our corny driver was amazed.
We carried on and
Kakadu Rock Art
This is not art but stories told by Aborigines. This story is about Ian losing his bus pass.
made our way towards the national park. It took about three hours to get to the entrance. Our plan was to drive deep into the park which is a massive 20,000 square kilometres, our first stop was to see some aborigine rock art. One thing nobody told us about was the amount of flies there are in the park at that time of year. Literally any given moment you have about ten flies hovering around your face and landing on you - just below your eyes, on your ears and even up you nose! They were so annoying that we barely paid any notice to our guide going on about the rock art. We really wished we’d bought a fly net before we left!
We drove further into the park and set up camp for the night. Luckily at about 6pm the flies go away, so it’s possible to start relaxing a bit. Mosquitoes usually arrive at this time but there didn’t seem to be too many around, which was a result. We had a camp fire cooked some Kangaroo and did a rather nice stir fry. Then, because the temperature never seems to drop below 30 degrees, we
Jim Jim Falls
Lovely inviting water to swim in. No croc's honest!
slept out under the stars. The guide did bring tents but nobody wanted them. Only Kelly took a small tent, in case of mosquitoes, but that was pretty much just a fly sheet.
The next morning at 5:30am the flies returned and woke us all up. What a great start to the day, annoying ‘bzzzzz’ going around your head! After a swift breakfast, we made our way over to Jim Jim Falls. We walked and climbing over huge rocks and made it to the falls - well I say falls, at this time of year no water runs over the top as it’s all dried out from the dry season. We were in the beginning of the wet season, but it needed to rain quite a bit before any water would flow. It didn’t really matter as the pool at the bottom made a fantastic swimming spot and the surrounding scenery was amazing.
Nearly all the swimming spots we went to whilst in the park have warnings of crocodiles in the water, but our guide assured us that they usually only have one every now and then and that when they do find one it gets removed pretty quickly -
Flooring it down the highway, our guide suddenly stops the car gets out and runs in to the bush. He grabs this lizard from the tree and shows us. How he saw it I'll never know.
after all, tourists use these swimming spots all year round.
We left the falls and made our way back into the bush. Whilst driving along one of the tracks our guide slammed on the brakes and jumped out of the jeep and into the bush. He returned a few minutes later with a lizard in his hands. A frill neck lizard that flares up it’s skin behind his head. First of all we were amazed that he managed to see it, he then casually took it out of the tree and brought it over for us to look at. After taking a load of pics he let it go, and it was hilarious watching if run away. They run like complete idiots!
Anyway, we spent three days bush walking and swimming in Crocodile Dundee style swimming holes at Kakadu National Park, (incidentally that is where most of it was filmed as well as some scenes from the new epic ‘Australia’ apparently) before heading back to Darwin to go on one more tour to explore Litchfield, another National park in the Northern Territory, which is famous for yet more beautiful swimming holes and wildlife but also for the giant termite
Litchfield Termite Mound
A termite mound. This one is apparently 60 years old.
mounds found their.
There were two types of mounds, some that look like gravestones and other massive ones called cathedral termite mounds. We saw some that are up to 60 years old. The termites make them out of spit, poo and puke!
Back to Darwin once more and after spending a day seeing the sights (of which there are none) we did the ultimate tourist shopping and bought a Didgeridoo - it’s obligatory to have one, right? The lady in the shop was very helpful and let us try lots of different ones (apparently it’s all about the sound), Kelly managed to get a sound out of one straight away, but I couldn’t seem to do it. I almost gave up but at the last moment just as we were about to buy one I got that sound to come out. Hurrah. So then I went around all the digi’s we liked the look of again to see how they sounded. Eventually we found the one we wanted, bought it and sent it home. Let’s hope I can still play it when I get back.
We then rushed off to the airport and caught our flight down to Alice Springs.
This is a river. The day before it was totally dry and full of drunks?!
Alice Springs is the closest town to Uluru (Ayers Rock) but it is still over 300 kilometres away. We got to our hostel and made a trip into town to grab something to eat. We were warned by a few people that Alice Springs has quite a large community of Aborigines that live on the streets. Walking into town was a little intimidating. Lots of them are drunk standing at the side of the road (or lying in most cases) shouting to each other - either in their local dialect or in a very slurred drunken English! Either way, we couldn’t work them out at all. We avoided them as best we could but they were on nearly every street corner. After getting our groceries we decided it best not to head into town after the sun goes down. When we returned our hostel reception told us it’s not recommended to walk about at night. Best to get cabs he said... Whoops?
It didn’t matter too much as the next day we left for a few days to go and see Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon. Again we were picked up at a stupid hour and driven for
Or Ayers Rock to the uneducated.
five hours before we got to camp. Everything is miles away in Aus!! We stopped at camp to have lunch then headed first to Kata Tjuta, also known as The Olgas. It’s a range of rocks that stick out of the ground. It’s a very sacred site to the Aboriginals and some parts are closed to the public as they use it for important tribal meetings. A couple of kilometres away is the main site, Uluru or Ayers Rock. We went over to see the sunset. As we arrived there were tons of tour buses, some with tables and chairs laid out with champagne and nibbles, we arrived with our small 4x4 bus and a couple of cans of beer in hand walked past them all and went for a short walk where we got a great view of the rock. The clouds were out but just as the sun was to set they broke on the horizon and lit up it up a strong orange colour. We then continued back to our camp and made a fire and had dinner. It was a nice evening.
The next morning we got up really early to see the sunrise at
Strange Sandstone Domes.
Uluru (pretty much the same as the sunset?!) then made our way towards Kings Canyon. This turned out to be one of the more impressive sites we saw around Uluru. We hiked around the canyon for around 4 hours, climbed up to the top looked down into the huge gorge and walked through tropical like gardens in the middle also known as Eden. It was all very exciting, but very hot indeed. Towards the end we took in a view across the canyon of all these sandstone domes. It looked like a Luna City, like it might of been used as a set from a 70’s sci fi movie.
We spent another night camping under the stars then headed back into Alice Springs.
Next we flew down to Melbourne to be greeted with nice sunny weather. It didn’t last. Melbourne is known for having all seasons in one day. That was too true as the next day it started off sunny then cloudy, rain and even hail stones at lunchtime - they were huge too!
It was pretty cold so we didn’t want to hang around. We had planned to go across the Great Ocean Road so after walking
Great Ocean Road
This isn't the 'Daley Thompson' Koala, but still nice to see.
around town a bit we decide to hire another car and make our way across.
The drive was fantastic, very scenic. Along the way we were pointed to a small turn off that lead down to the coast through a forest because, it was recommended because of the number of wild koalas that can be found their. We saw literally hundreds of them. At one point we pulled over to the side of the road where a koala walked across the floor right past us and stopped at the base of a tree, he stared at us for a little while then jumped up and continued to clime the tree. Amazing really considering all the others we’d seen up until that point were basically grey blobs asleep in trees - they rarely move as they sleep around 22 hours a day, this one was the Daley Thompson of Koalas!
We spent a few more nights on the Great Ocean Road then went up towards the Grampian's National Park. The weather improved their a lot, so we stayed a few days in a really nice hostel in the middle of the park. The guy that owned it allowed guests to
Grampian's National Park
Early evening the Roo's come out.
make camp fires, which I did every night. And at around 5pm every night Kangaroos would turn up and graze near by. It was a very relaxed place. We went walking through the park most days, through small canyons, rivers and waterfalls. It was nice.
We then turned back to Melbourne but rather than staying in the city we took up an offer to stay at a friends house. He had a lovely place that he’d built himself. It was just finished. We spent a few nights there and took a look around the local area, walking through the rain forests and tasting fine wine in the wine regions.
One night we were invited out to a small BBQ that’s held every month. We arrived at this large house out in the sticks, The guy who owned it (Bruce!!) had made a small outhouse with a BBQ and heaters. All the locals and friends came along each month with food and drink and were allowed to cook and drink, whilst Bruce arranged for music and entertainment. It was quite surreal as everyone was dressed like cowboys and the music was country and western. There was only about 20 people
BBQ with our host Brucey!
in all but everyone was very welcoming of us and very friendly. It was a fun night and we caught a glimpse of the traditional Australian country way of things.
We finally went back to the city of Melbourne and stayed a few more days. One day walking around town we noticed a small football stadium had been erected. The Homeless World Cup was being hosted in Melbourne for the first time. Having never seen this before we thought we’d check it out. Basically, 52 nations from all over the world entered a team to play 4 on 4 street football on a small pitch. Each game last for roughly 15 mins. We took a look at the schedule and saw that England were playing that day so we hung around to watch. The whole thing was free, so we got a seat and waited for the action. England played Poland. The crowd had a huge amount of Polish nutters screaming. England came on and took the lead almost straight away, but Poland came back and continued to score several goals. One Polish player got sent off but England couldn’t still seem to get a goal although almost getting
We watched the Homeless World Cup. This is England. They lost to Poland 3 - 5.
the ball in the net loads of times. In the end Poland won 5 - 3. We left feeling a little disheartened - a usual feeling for an England supporter I suppose! We didn’t follow the tournament after that but England were playing again later that day. We never did find out how they did in the end, but they certainly didn’t win it - Afghanistan did!!
And finally we left Melbourne and drove around the coast up towards Sydney where we were staying for Kelly’s birthday before jumping on the next plane to head to Perth...
There are more photos below