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June 13, 2006

Greetings from 'Down Under'

So we flew from Bangko to Singapore and then from Singapore to Darwin. Although spending 4 hours in an airport terminal of a country you know nothing about is amusing enough - it took about an hour to work out what the currency (and its exchange) was - we were glad enough to get to Australia.

After a fairly harrowing immigration process (never have various parts of me been sniffed so throughly by as many dogs) we collapsed into the terminal and got the bus into town, a few hours sleep at our hostel ("the Cavenagh") saw us hitting the streets at midday to see what Darwin has to offer, but about 13:50 we had seen everything and so went to the cinema to relax and watch The DaVinci Code - which was pretty good :o) Dinner that night was had at the hostel (Chilli Con Carne Spag Bol) washed down with a "schooner" of local beer - pretty good

The next day we were picked up at 6am by the tour company and courtousy of an overgrown 4WD truck we drove to Kakadu National Park.
There were 10 people on the trip including us, we were in the care of our Tour Guide 'Tex', who drove us around, showed us the sights and even cooked for us in the evening! The guy was great!

On the first day we went on a 2 hour Crocodile cruise in a billabong and saw both freshwater and saltwater crocodiles. The 'freshies' are the ones with long very thin noses and are considered 'nice' - in that they won't attack unless you really annoy them - the salt water crocs see you as a walking buffet. We saw loads of other bird life including some sea eagles - which were cool.
Sopme culture followed - a trip to Ubirr to see the Aboriginal Rock art - which was cool! We camped in a semi permenant camp ground (the normal site was overrun with Mozzies). We had a monster BBQ for dinner (lamp-chops, sausages, pasta salad and potatoes) before crashing into bed.

The next day we swam in 2 waterfalls; the first at a palce called 'Gubara' followed by a visit to an Aboriginal Cultural Centre to learn a little about the native culture. we then drove to our second campsite at a waterfall called 'Gunlom'. We setup camp and spent a few hours of the afternoon swimming at the base in the plunge pool. About an hour before sunset we walked to the top of the waterfall and watched the sunset over the plains - which was really cool :o). Dinner was a monsterous bowl of chicken/pasta/tomato slop - which despite the name was really really good!

On the final day we again went to 2 waterfalls. The first was a 3km walk from the road called "Yurmikmik" (Motor car) falls - and was really cool. The water was absolutley freezing but we all swam/did some barefoot Deepwater Soloing around the plunge pool!
The second was at a place called something springs. The waterfall was smaller but still quite impressive. We ate tortials for lunch - with left over slop. Before starting the long drive home.

On the way back we stopped in at the Adelaide River Inn for a drink - the Inn is also the final resting place of the Buffalo (Charlie) from Crocodile Dundee (which was filmed in Kakadu) who died a few years ago. Charlies final resting place isn't as restfull as you might first imagine - he has been stuffed and now stands at one end of the bar... partially on the bar. :o) Have a Google Image search for "charlie crocodile dundee" and you'll see what I mean.

We got back to Darwin at about 6pm and having showered and changed went to the local backpacker bar which had free food for anyone coming back from a trek, we met up again with all of our group and Tex.

Today we are chilling out, we had a line-in, each of the previous 3 days we have been awake at 6am. Then wondered along to the "Indo-Pacific Marine" a sort of small scale aqaruium with a difference. We were shown round by the enthusiastic owner, who show us all the exhibits he himself had put together and looked after. The difference he explained was that all his tanks etc were self sustaining - he hadn't changed/cleaned/filtered the water in the tanks for almost 20 years - everything in each exhibit worked together and ept everything ticking along. All very interesting!

Tomorrow we are on the 6am flight from Darwin to Cairns where we begin our bacpacker trail in ernest. Not quiote sure what to expect but we only have to survive 3 weeks before our flight from Sydney. It will probably be 3000km of post A-Level 18 year olds but I'm srue I can fill their minds with enough University Horror stories to keep myself amused...

Hope all is well :o)

Posted by edwardnorthridge at June 13, 2006 01:23 PM