Again, apols for the delay with this one, have been marooned in the outback and plauged by slow internet connections so am ratherÃ¯Â¿Â½behind, and such a lot has happened since I last wrote!
But first things first -Ã¯Â¿Â½Darwin -Ã¯Â¿Â½only a two hour flight from Bali and nearly as hot. It is actually changing from the wet to the dry season up here which is great for me as I had no idea how much the weather can affect visits to the Northern Territory. But luckily I hit it well and all the tours and dry season activities are now up and running.
Darwin is quite a strange place to start my Oz adventure because it's so remote and a bit of a sleepy town really (apart from the army of backpacker in situ). So not exactly at the heart of western civilisation but a great leap towards it.
Spent a couple of days exploring the sights the city has to offer and getting myself both kitted out and organised for venturing into the outback. There is a really good museum and art gallery which I enjoyed lots as I've been rather lacking in this sort of activity on the first leg of my travels. And another highlight was the deckchair cinema which was one of the nicest things I have done, like ever. It's right by the sea and shows arthouse films. You take a picnic and there's a bar etc then you can relax into your canvas seat while the sun sets and the bats fly overhead, its was super.
My hostel was pretty smart but despite being busy and having a huge bar attached it wasn't massively sociable becasue most people are flying through either on their way back from or about to set off on a tour.
But I had my own tour of Kakadu National Park to embark on and it was loads of fun. Just two days but we saw and did lots and camped out under the stars at an extemely basic campsite in the middle of nowhere, ie, there were drop toilets and nothing else, not even running water. Was great cooking on the campfire and sinking a few tinnies with the rest of the group though (even though the curse of the couples was still with me). We went to some lovely swimming holes which were a blessed relief after walking in 36 .c heat. Although am very annoyed as I bought a new sarong (to replace the one I left in Bali) and all the colour ran onto my new bikin bottoms (whichÃ¯Â¿Â½I bought to replace the one I left in Thailand) which was really expensive! What was turquoise is now a murkey green/yellow, very upsetting....
Can't say the cuisine here is quite up to Asian standards, but I did have some yummy Barramundy and chips down at the wharf which is the Darwin specialityÃ¯Â¿Â½and was at least affordable (which is more than can be said for most of the food here, even the supermarkets areÃ¯Â¿Â½ a rip off!)Ã¯Â¿Â½
So all in all, have had a great time so far in the NT and will now venture futher into the middle of nowhere, starting with a 27 hour train ride to Alice Springs, which sadly I am really looking forward to - I love long train journeys!
See you at the other side.....