So long Northern Territory (NT). We cross the border into Queensland tomorrow appreciating that to have fully explored NT we should have done a 1,000 kms round trip down to Alice Springs before turning East. We’re saving that for another trip! This week’s adventures go under the various vowel sounds ………
A = aaaaaahhh
We gave a very big Hurraaaaaahhh when we learnt our bikes were finally fixed and we could move on from Darwin. Seems the cure was a good ol’ Aussie trick – applying sandpaper to the contact points! Nice as Darwin was, we felt we were stagnating having spent two weeks at the same campsite. Mind you it gave us the opportunity to visit the fabulous Museum and Art Gallery of the NT and meet up again with a lovely Norwegian couple we’d become friends with in Broome.
The sound aaaaaahhh could be heard as I floated around the thermal springs in Mantaranka. Just as well I brought more than one bikini! Bitter Springs was first. These pools were more natural (i.e. less concrete and more algae) and the water temperature was a ‘cool’ 34 degrees. We then drove on to Mantaranka Thermal Pools where the pool was surrounded by palm trees and the colour and clarity of the water was incredible. Loved it!
The next watering hole we visited that day was one of Australia’s great authentic pubs known as the Daly Waters Pub. It has a lot of character including knickers and bras hanging from the beams, signs warning about unattended children being taught to swear and an interesting happy hour. Being British we ordered pints (or schooners as they’re called here) and made no saving at all! Turns out if we’d ordered a “pot” which is a half pint we could have saved $1! This would explain why so many big burly men were standing at the bar drinking halves!
E = eeeek
You’d think I’d have got over my fear of insects and creepy crawlies by now but no! I still jump and squeal at the sound of rustling in the bush despite it usually being a lizard. This week I also had to contend with grasshoppers landing on my chest, frogs leaping out of the toilet, bats swinging from trees above and being careful not to disturb Olive Snakes and Salt Water Crocodiles! At least the spiders at the Spider Exhibition we paid to go in and see were all safely behind glass and ‘Sweetheart’, the crocodile was stuffed. Interesting fact – spiders have blue blood.
I = ay yay yay
The highlight for me this week was seeing the indigenous rock art in Kakadu National Park. Some paintings have been dated back 20,000 years. The quality of the art and the natural setting we were able to see it in made it a really moving experience. Photos depict animals, rituals and tales connected to the Creation Ancestors (aka Dreaming). For example, the last chap, Nabulwinjbulwinj (pronounced Nar-bull-win-bull-win), is a dangerous spirit who eats females after striking them with a yam!
O = ooooooohh
We did a number of walks with views this week including a climb to the Mirrai Lookout and up to Katherine Gorge, hence the oooohh’s.
Humpty Doo wasn’t that inspiring – so no eggs cracked there but we did take a couple of photos to prove it exists! Goodness knows why it needs a Park and Ride though for a journey of 450 metres!
U = uuuh oh
Just over two months left on the road so we’re starting to think about all the things we need to plan for including selling the van, organising storage for those things we’re hanging on to and making sure we give ourselves enough time to see and do all the things left on our pootling around Australia lap. Did I really say I was going to attempt a Sky Dive?