Ok, finally we are on the very last leg of our Oz Experience which has been great from start to finish. Our final destination? - Darwin in the Nothern Territory - the place we have come to for our outback experience.
We arrived in the evening and as soon as we got off the plane you could just feel the heat and the humidity hit you square between the eyes and nose as everywhere smells of damp (its the wet season at the moment). Our first impressions of Darwin were not very high as it is very quiet at this time of year - mostly due to the one minute its boiling sunshine next minute its thunderstorms - never seen rain like it its literally like someone opening fllodgates from the sky the drops are that fat and blobby he he! We have been laughing cos the territorians dont run they just walk as if its blazing sunshine - we did the same not wanting to look stupid but cursing at the same time and wishing our sunglasses had windscreen wipers! :)
The first couple of days - not really that much to report - we did a walking tour around Darwins sights (so not interesting in the slightest). Darwin has not had much luck in preserving its history bless it as it was bombed in the second world war and hit by the famous Cyclone Tracy in 87 so much of the sights are remains of old buidlings that didn't get blown away - interesting the first 9 times - sixty and your pushing it lol! They do say however that the shipping port is going to be the gateway to Indonesia which should hopefully put a little spirit into the place - god knows when that will happen though.
We were not that fazed about the boring aspect of Darwin as we were quite happy to sit it out and watching a few films waiting for our outback experience to begin plus its too hot to do anything anyway - the humidity has seemed to have sapped all our energy and drained any enthusiasm we may have had for any more exploration for all of three streets! lol (only joking Darwin is a little bigger than just three streets! but not much! :))
Friday finally came and we were off on our Kakadu tour and we began our outback experience - proper Australia! Our tour kicked off at the Croc Jumping Cruise on the Adelaide River where we all held some snakes. One was a smaller water snake called Medusa that we all let slither all over us and just as we thought the trauma was over our tour guide Jack came over with Olli a big fat constrictor - Round was told he was very friendly as he was being wrapped around her neck - they are such strong creatures and it was the weirdest experience to feel the snake start to constrict itself around your neck - its like a pulse! The croc jumping was incredible - we were so lucky as we got to see the biggest baddest meanest croc on the river who's head was massive with scars all over it from fighting the other crocs and his teeth were even bigger - he was just MEAN! His name? - Hannibal! - figures! To get the crocs to jump the guides had some fresh meat on the end of long sticks. When the crocs jumped for the meat it gave you an idea how powerful they were and how you shouldn't sit on trees over rivers! ;) ;) - just check out the photos!
The next stop on our tour was a traditional outback pub with a few old cowboys propping up the bar - bless! Kate D saw a baby wallabe which was very cute and there were lots of bugs and flies roaming around - felt like we were properly in the outback and being hard core travellers. We had lunch here and sped on our way to Nourlangie aboriginal rock art site with drawings and paintings dating back to 20,000 years plus! As we were approaching the first site our tour guide stopped dead in his tracks and told everyone to shush - couldn't believe it we actually saw a Wallaroo - Australila's rarest kangaroo - they are all black and this female must have been only a few metres away from where we stood - wow! We continued our journey into the escarpment as it started to rain and we got caught in a thunder storm. The rock art was extremely impressive and most drawings were still very clear. We learnt a lot about aborginal dream time, their beliefs and culture, inlcuding some beliefs on the family unit that we found strange - your not allowed to talk or make eye contact with your sister or brother!!!!!! The rain at this point soaked us to the core - acting our shoe sizes we absoltely loved it - and splashed about in the pools on the track :). The scenery around this area was where the film Crocodile Dundee was filmed and we got some great views looking up at it from unabangbang billabong :). Our final stop of the day was at Yellow Water a famous creek lookout where on a clear day you get the spectacular sunsets you only see in books or on tv! It was too cloudy when we were there but you can just imagine how good it would be!
We camped near Yellow Water in tents and tried buffalo sausages and kangaroo stir fry - liked buffalo, kangaroo was a bit chewy! We finished off a brilliant day with didgeridoo lessons - we all have so much more respect for people who play this instrument now as it is extremely difficult to even get a good sound out of it!
Our second and final day was spent in Yumikmik which is in the south part of the park. It was a whole day hike through the bush (Round was happy as we ventured onto unsealed roads which made you feel like you were in the middle on nowhere. The fact that we could see any one of Australia's ten deadliest snakes at any point during this hike made it even more exciting! The first stop on our full day hike was at Motorcar Creek falls which was the tallest and most spectacular waterfall we have seen throughout Australia. D and Bennett both swam right up to the falls and came back extremely out of breath as the force of the water was so strong! Our next stop was Boulder Creek a series of waterfalls and pools to swim in cascading down from the top of the escarpement to the very bottom where the group was entertained by a suicidal toad that couldnt quite jump from one big rock to the next lol! Boulder creek falls was just so pretty and peacful that it was just wonderful to relax and eat lunch here.
After lunch we visited some Cathedrak termite mounds - home to one of the longest living insects on earth - we cannot believe that insects so small could possibly make such a huge home for themselves. Our tour guide showed us that red ants try to get into these mounds but when he placed one of the ants near a hole the termite "soldiers" as the defence are called injected the ant with poision and safe to say the ant was in a bad way - these termite guys are not just an ugly face!
On route back to Darwin we stopped off at another outback pub which had a memorial to all the second world war soldiers and most importantly a huge stuffed Charlie! Charlie is or was the Buffalo out of the Crocodile Dundee movie. When Charlie died they stuffed him and preserved him and he now sits pride place atop one end of the bar. He has the sweetest face - kind of made us feel guilty for all the sausages we ate the night before! :) That concludes our outback experience - it was well worth the trip to Darwin and all feel like we have seen proper Australia now.
So tonight we fly to Bali - can't believe how fast our time in Oz has gone but we have had some wonderful experiences but could not have done it without Moose! Oz's highlights in a nutshell were the Whitsundays, New Years in Sydney with the Kiwi Crew, diving the Great Barrier Reef and our Kakadu tour - all fabulous in their own right but New Zealand as a whole is still the place we love the most!