Darwin

2 July 2012

I can’t believed its July, I knew the date today because its been 2 years since we had our Cloey wedding. It was a special night and we laughed the restaurant down with Vibs and Josh and Alice and Tom!

We have done a lot of driving in the past week-and-a-bit since we left the Cape area. Its a loooonnnggg largely very remote trip to Darwin. The few places we passed through on our way had quite a few services marked on the maps, and they are there, but all in 2 buildings- one building generally holds the bank/post office/community centre/council building (usually with the same worker who just changes counters) and the other the pub/take away or restaurant. We have done a lot of km but we  have enjoyed the drive, the changing scenery and our stops off as well.

Anyway here we are in hot hot Darwin, the wet season up here must be a killer. Apparently the temp does not vary much but of course the humidity does. wheww….

On our way to Darwin we stopped in the small community (but the only one around) of Borroloola for fuel and decided to have a look in the Aboriginal Arts Centre. Someone there told us about a concert that was taking place that night at the basketball courts featuring local song women singing in Yanuwa language along with a singer/songwriter who is from the area but is now based in Darwin. The concert was the culmination of a year long project involving local women and children and encouraging participation and continuing the language. We decided to stick around for the concert- we figured when something like that presents itself we should go with it. Im so glad we did. We arrived and found our place to sit on the court and enjoyed being at a community event especially one so inspiring. It was clear how it was an event that evoked a lot of pride. It was great fun watching all the kids running around and the music was beautiful.

The next afternoon we stopped at a great spot for a night, Hell’s Gate, which is not at all as it sounds. It was a great spot for the night with big boulders to scramble around on, Olly spent several hours on them taking pictures and then we watched the sun set. After about an hours’ driving and some awful roads we went over a grid and bumped our way into the Northern Territory. How exciting to have driven all the way here!

The next night was spent in Limmen National Park and on the way we stopped for a walk at the Southern Lost City. This is an place of extraordinary sandstone pillar rock formations. My dad would have loved it, I was wishing he was with us. Another stop for a quick swim cooled us down and washed off the dust at Butterfly Springs, a perfect cool water spring with a small waterfall tumbling into it and not surprisingly heaps of butterflies.

We spent some time at Elsey National Park near Mataranka and as we arrived in the early afternoon it was very hot so off we went to look for an area we could swim in. The sign on the way to the river assured us there were only freshies (fresh water crocs) in the water which are generally harmless to humans and there should not be any salties (salt water cros which are aggressive and not ones to swim with). When we got to the river it was a wide deep river and we wondered how on earth they know there are no salt water crocs in it when they are everywhere else and also made the comment if we did see one its unlikely we would have the frame of mind to notice if it was fresh water or salt water croc!! They have a ‘program’ where at the start of the dry season they look in the river and remove any that are found to other areas and then keep an eye out for any from there. Anyway it was a nice, cool, and a little bit paranoid, swim.

We knew there was a thermal spring nearby so later in the afternoon when it started to cool we went for a look. We both expected a natural pool of sorts to soak in and were delighted when we found a beautiful warm water creek. There were stairs leading down into the water and a a few hundred metres later a little set of stairs you could get out, in between there was just enough current to float down the warm, crystal clear, deep waters. It was brilliant! We did it the second time with our snorkels on which was even better. It was fantastic to float past the palms and lily pads and hear the birds when you raised your head out of the water.

Excited to have a look around Darwin over the coming days and doing some washing etc.

L

our camp spot at Hells’s Gate

Southern Lost City

Butterfly Springs

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