Top-end, sweltering in the early wet

Trip Start Nov 07, 2010
Trip End Jan 22, 2011

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Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Sunday, December 5, 2010

We flew early from Yogha to Bali and has we had 12 hours before our flight to Darwin booked into a little hotel for the day by the airport - with a pool which was ideal. This was just South of the start of the Kuta strip so had a wander - it's very built up & international here as you can guess, but there's a nice boardwalk along the beach & that retreat that is the a/c mall. There was a nice sunset & a pub over the road with pizza & chips (shame). It seemed we were there for a  good long day - then on to the late flight to Darwin with the Aussie tourists. A 3am arrival is not ideal & we do not recommend the Value Inn, however we found the much nicer Comfort Inn, Vitina & after a leisurely cafe breakfast (at the 'Ducks Nuts' were soon in the pool. We had a leisurely start up here - it is so hot & there was cricket on the TV. We are also back 'in control' so a shopping trip yielded goodies like goats cheese, avocados, prawns, peaches, mangos, milk(!) so after 4 weeks in Indonesia it's self-catering salad & fruit paradise.
It's a little odd up here as it's so hot & nothing much seems to happen outside the eating/drinking cycle - it's too hot to walk about or laze about the beach/parks & we were the only people at the botanical gardens. The exchange rate is bad news & everything is much more expensive than when we were here last (down to 1.6) & the tours are all very expensive so we went for the cheapo 5 day car hire & have done the run through Litchfield NP & Katherine down the Stuart Highway - recommend Florence Falls, Buley Rockpools, Edith Falls. This has involved quite a lot of waterfalls & swimming in their pools & pretty good success on the wildlife front - lots of wallabies & kookaburras but also a golden yellow tree snake. So Liz is happy. So real small outback towns (really hamlets) & the northern Australia 'problem' that the indigenous population hang around everywhere hoping to get drunk. Its now ID to buy any alcohol in Katherine with restrictions on amounts per day. Not that pleasant a sight - also big success here was the Katherine Hot Springs - not really that hot but shady, We are already far enough into the wet for the river to be too high & fast to swim in. The pattern has been the build-up to a big tropical storm late afternoon (sometimes earlier). And of course we won the cricket & the locals are grumpy....lead news story & still all play on main free-to-air TV.
So it's on to Sydney in the morning.
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