Outback Day 9
Trip Start May 07, 2005
117Trip End Ongoing
We decided to spend the day at a nature park, the name of which eludes me. It was like Alice Springs Desert Park (see day 4) but in a rainforest instead of a desert. The entry fees were a bit steep but the cashier man gave us a 20% discount when we asked if there was a coupon we could use. I think he took pity on us because it was raining (which it does every day in the Wet).
The park was extremely nice and well done. The exhibits were far apart and very large but there was a train that ran every 15 minutes. There were talks and demonstrations. We watched them feed pelicans and small freshwater crocodiles. The highlight was probably the wallabee and wooleybutt area. I really wanted to know what a wooleybutt was. I imagined something like a koala. It turned out it was a tree. How boring! Actually as far as trees go it was interesting
We saw some dingos. They look exactly like dogs, moreso than some dogs. They are evolved from wolves but can breed with dogs and in fact there are few pure dingos left in Australia because of all of the breeding with wild dogs. I already mentioned the pelicans but they were so cool I thought I'd mention them again. They looked like cartoon creatures and look extra silly when eating. They catch fish in their huge beaks but have to swallow them head first so they go through complicated manuevering to align the fish properly. Sometimes they would run along the water using their wings to keep them from sinking.
Oh, and speaking of silly birds there was a flock of geese-like birds that at some point decided to roost in the trees
The acquarium was great too. It had large and small crocodiles, sharks, a sawfish, manta rays, barramundi, and lots more. The sawfish was the most extraordinary. It actually uses the saw to detect electric fields generated by other animals.
We took a long walk through the aviary but all of the birds were soaked and pathetic looking.
At one place there was a sign warning us that leeches inhabit the area and offered salt packages to help remove them. I grabbed a few packages more for sprinkling on eggs than leeches. However an hour later I saw a leech walking on my shoe. A leech check revealed two of the suckers drinking my blood! They refused to come off at first but then I remember the salt and they quickly gave way. How thoughtful of the park to provide us with such an interactive animal display.
After leaving the park we went to a park with a thermal waterfall and swimming hole. It sounded like the most absolute heaven
We decided to try staying at a small town on the penninsula 6km west of Darwin. It was a long drive and we discovered that part of it was on a gravel road that was more water than gravel. That was a fun 9km in our camper van! We showed up at the hotel/camping resort and the owner was mystified that we would drive our camper out there during the Wet. The camper park was flooded but he gave us a spot in the back driveway and let us use the shower in one of the many unused hotel rooms. We bought some bait from him and head out to the jetty to fish. There were lots of big fish jumping out of the water but none wanted our hook so we left empty handed. I have decided that Norway is the only place where you can really catch fish.