The Top End

Trip Start May 31, 2005
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Trip End Aug 31, 2007


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Where I stayed
Edith Falls

Flag of Australia  ,
Monday, May 22, 2006

7th May
Started the drive up to Darwin. Stayed at Edith falls, 60km north of Katherine, for the night. Was a good choice. Nice quiet site with a lake and waterfalls.

8th May
Got up and checked out the lake and falls before leaving. Very pretty, but not tempting enough for me with all the croc signs dotted at the entrance.
Arrived in Darwin. Decided to stay at a backpackers while we sorted out a trip to Kakadu National park. The cheapest was 'Elkes' on Mitchell street, which wasn't too bad, so we paid for a week. We also booked our trip to Kakadu, leaving in 2 days for a 3 day, 2 night adventure.
Also went into an employment agency to register for a bit of work.
We think Darwin was a lovely little place - okay, every city has its wierdo's, and Darwin has its fair share, but the layout of the place is simple and easy to get around. A nice amount of bars, shops and restaurants all along one main street, including 'Hogs Breath Café', where we went for dinner of course! Had a few beers in 'Shennanigans' irish pub and entered the pub quiz which were totally crap at and then retired.

14th May
Had to get up at the crack of dawn to get picked up for the trip. It was tough, as we were kept awake all night by extremely loud germans sat in the yard outside our bedroom window until 430am. Not good.
A big 4x4 pulled up and we loaded up our bags. 2 other girls from 'Elkes' were also on our trip - Astrid and Kathrin from Austria. We picked up all the others - Anais from France, Anne marie from Denmark, Billy from Belgium and Mai from Japan. Tom and Mike were the only guys, as well as the guide who was called Ginder and seemed a bit mad for 6 in the morning.
We had to go via the boss's house to pick up our food for the next 3 days. Whilst there, we checked out his 'pet' crocs. Then we went to Ginder's house to meet 2 others, Phil and Sissy, who were coming on the trip. They were driving themselves though and staying in accommodation, rather than roughing it like us poor sods. We found out later, that Sissy is actually Austrian - so she could chat to Astrid & Kat.
We finally got on the road. Ginder had a tendency to abruptly stop the car on the side of the highway every now and again when he saw something of interest in the bush. One time, he spotted a frill neck lizard up a tree. We screeched to a halt, and he darted off into the bush to try and shake the poor thing down from the tree. He shook this little skinny tree to death and finally the lizard flopped down to the ground. Ginder picked it up by the tail, but the lizard refused to show his frills. He let him go and the lizard made a run for it on his hind legs - they don't use their front legs to run. It looks so funny.
We entered the national park and pulled up for our first hike/climb of the trip. A 9km trek, involving lots of climbing up steep rocks and through cracks and crevices. Got to some great views over Kakadu. It was pretty sweltering, so we were relieved to find a small pool and some waterfalls to cool off in. Saw a nice size water monitor lizard, chilling by the water. After the hike, we went and set up camp. I had obviously become a little too used to our luxury inflatable double mattress that we use for camping and was horrified when I saw the half inch thick piece of foam I had to sleep on.... With NO pillow. It would be a restless night. Mike on the other hand seems to think that these poor excuses for a bed, are 'better for your back'!!!!
Ginder cooked us kangaroo fajitas on an open flame barby. They were great. We got totally eaten alive by the mosquitoes whilst we sat chatting around the fire.
We got up dead early the following morning and headed deep into the park. We had an excellent day. Swimming in beautiful pools of fresh, clear water, in between hiking and climbing. We'd work up a sweat trekking, then stop by some waterfalls and jump in the cool water. We stopped at some falls - 3 tiers and an underwater cave. The cave was pretty cool. There was a hole under the water that you had to submerse yourself into and sink down, then there was a big opening and you had to swim a few metres diagonally to get back to the top. A few of us gave that one a go as you only go under for a few seconds. There was another one which was about 10 seconds under. The only one crazy enough to have a go was Michael. He sank down a few metres and had to guide himself through a tunnel under the rocks. 10 seconds later, he popped up the other end. He did admit it was a little scary though.
We spent ages at this set of falls. Climbing up and down the different tiers. Jumping in off the cliffs, sun bathing and just having a laugh. It was great.
That night Ginder made roast chicken and it was lush. The didgeridoo was being passed around for everyone to have a shot at. Me, Tom and mike were all crap - needless to say, we wont be shipping home one of those. Got eaten alive by mozzies again and actually managed to get at least 3 hours in a row of shut eye in my comfy bed.
Packed up camp this morning - last day of trip. Met Phil and Sissy who had stayed in a luxury hotel that night, so they turned up looking fresh as daisies. We went to see some aboriginal rock art and Ginder told us the stories behind the paintings. Lookes around a few more historical sites and then headed out of the park to the Adelaide River for our 'croc cruise'. It was basically a boat slightly larger than a tinny, with a roof. The 9 of us fit in with plenty of room to spare. Ginder started her up and off we pottered down the river. The first croc we saw was a baby, sunbathing on the riverbanks. We lobbed some meat at it,but it scuttled off into the water. It was only minutes after that we saw a humongo one slide into the water. We then had one swim up to the boat - obviously knowing what was in store. Ginder attached a piece of meat to some string on a stick and swung it around on top of the water. The croc made a jump for it and the top half of his body was propelled out of the water into a mini jump as he snatched the meat away. It was pretty smart. He hung around for a while, then got bored and swam off. We saw several more crocs. It's really great to see them in their naturl habitat and so many of them. And to think they are actually considered a pest in some parts of Australia.
We stopped at the 'didgeridoo hut' on the way back to Darwin, where Astrid and Kathrin bought one each. I spent the whole hour playing with a northern territory carpet python which was lush. She was really inquisitive. It was like having a small child wrapped around your shoulders.
Ginder invited us out for drinks tonight as it's his birthday. He also gave us vouchers for free food at 'The Vic' so we were to meet there.
We all met up and a few drinks turned into an all nighter. Ginder was able to get free drinks - so the boys took advantage and were drinking by the jug. Everyone slowly disappeared after taking on to much drink. Mike and I left in the early hours of the morning, leaving Tom and Ann Marie on the dancefloor....
On Sunday we went to the Mindil sunset markets down on the beach. We got there just as the sun went down and the sky was an array of wonderful colours. The markets were cool - little stalls selling lots of arts and crafts, live music, loads of food stalls, including one called 'Roadkill' whose motto was "you kill it, we grill it!" Therefore, Mike had a go on some crocodile, camel and possum. Croc was definitely the best - the other two were foul. We ate far too much food that night.
Entry Date - 23rd may
15th
Mike managed to find a few days cash work doing some labouring so he went off to work early. Then I got called up to go in to. I was cleaning at Darwin RAAF barracks just down the highway. Only did a few hours today, but have work for the rest of the week. Had to mop the health centre, where all the guys were getting jabs ready to go out to Timor. Then just drove around the base, cleaning offices. Easy!
16th
Mike and I worked again. Went to the fox & fiddle for crab racing and free bingo.
17th
Moved out of Elkes and settled back in to camping. Sissy and phil were staying on a site that they recommended, so we went there. Checked out phil and sissy's bus. Its massive and ace. A full on bus, converted into a mobile home. Where the luggage compartments usually are, they have a pull out BBQ and pull out washers and driers. Inside there are leather couches, plasma tv's, a dishwasher, a mini bar, bedroom and shower room. It's quite amazing. Everytime they fill it up with fuel, it costs over a grand, That gets get approx 3,000km. Sissy likes to live in luxury though. Fair play.
We were quite comfortable in our little tent anyway- who needs 40ft buses?
Mike bought us tickets to go see the da vinci code on Friday. I'm so excited.
18th
worked again. Went to shenanigans. $8 jugs - buy 4 get a free Tooheys T shirt. So that's what the boys did!!!
19th
worked. Went to cinema to watch da vinci code. Not bad - but as always, doesn't beat the book!
Saw a poster today advertising for people needed for work at showground. I called up and the lady was pretty desperate. She needed people to work at the funfair - $100 a day for Sat and Sun. I called Astrid and Kathrin and got them to come too. So Staurday morning, we pull up at 'Fred's Pass Show'. Totally unorganised. We stood around for an hour and then got told we would be working on the stalls. It was hilarious. Mike was on the stall where you have to get the ball in the milk urn, Tom was on the inflatable worm and me and the girls on the lucky ticket stall. How funny did we look. The people that run the fair bit kept telling us to shout in the microphone to attract people and bang our drum that was oddly placed in the middle of our stand. Yeah right!! Astrid gave it a go once or twice, but I don#'t think anyone understood what she was sayong. It was so funny. The time ticked by and soon it was dark. We doidn't klnow what time qwe wpui;d be finishing, but it was getting late. We had boght the tent with us and were camping overnight to save on accommodation. We actually finished at 11pm. Quite a piss take really. 13 hours for $100. Slave labour - but the weather had been nice and it was quite a laugh. Towards the end though, loads of drunken locals cane in and got a bit childish. A load of them were on the dodgems, the last ride of the night and when it finished they all went skitso and demanded that tghey have more time. I thought there was gonna be a massive fight on. They were so daft.
Astrid & Kat got a lift back to their hostel and said they were too tired to come back to work tomorrow.
21st
We told the bosses we had to leave by 5pm today - no way were we doing such a long day again.
Did the same as yesteday but there were much les people. Mike had moved on to the basketball stall now as the other was so boring.
Sissy and Phil came to the show and invited us and the girls around for dinner tonight. They couldn't have timed it better. Now we had something to look forward to when we finished for the day. Fresh fish and crab too - Tom's favourite... seafood!!! Hayley and Seb also arrived in Darwin today and stopped by the show on the way to see us. They are going to check into the same site as us.
Finished at 5 and got back to the site. Showered and went to the bus. They cooked up a stonker of a meal, which we inhaled. Then we just sat and relaxed. Splendid.
We gave the girls a lift back to their accom and said cheerio as they were leaving for Adelaide tomorrow. They have told us we have to go and stay with them in Austria. Mike jumped at the chance - Astrid's family live in the mountains... who mentioned snowboarding???
22nd
It absolutely, unexpectedly, hummed it down last night. The tent simply couldn't stand it and we got dripped on for most of the night. We couldn't be assed to sort it out, so we just covered ourselves in towels and put up with it. Packing away a slightly damp tent that morning, we decided to go back into town and stay there again.
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