Australia, Indonesia · 5 Days · 16 Moments · August 2017

Leah's adventure in Darwin, Northern Territor

13 August 2017

A plain old plane trip After getting the third degree from a bung eyed customs fellow, we finally made it onto the plane. We were at the back of the plane next to a bogany type car racing mechanic from Melbourne who was doing a quick four day trip to kuta with some mates from his racing team, who were in Darwin for some car racey type thingy. Nice fellow despite his excessive use of profanities as adjectives, and lachy had a bit of chat to him. After telling us that he never falls asleep on planes he fell asleep pretty much straight away. I wriggled around trying to sleep while lachy read his book, accepting the fact that there was no way he was sleeping now. Made it to denpasar on time, but then had a lovely one hour journey through immigration and customs to be greeted by about 1000 dudes holding signs. Lachy finally found our dude and we jumped in the car for the hour journey to ubud, lachy snoring the whole way. Made it to mahanadewi at 3:00am and collapsed into bed.
Midgie National Park and a foody farewell Drove to Charles Darwin National Park where we stopped to look in one of the old ammunition bunkers displaying some old war heads and other ammunition related paraphernalia, all the while being attacked by swarms of midges. Then drove past more old bunkers to the lookout in the park, which was a lovely park area overlooking Darwin city. Got eaten by more midges and watched a photographer attempting to photograph a pair of cockatoos. Under constant bombardment from the midges, we fled back to the safety of the car and drove into town for dinner at the marina. Chose a lovely Greek restaurant overlooking the marina, drinking kiwi sangria and feeding on tasty Greek fare. After dinner it was time to get to the airport, making it with plenty of time to spare for the second time this holiday. I'm starting to think this whole marriage thing has changed us for the better. Haha.
Old Darwin town After checking out we attempted to go to the shopping Centre to deposit our cash into my account. Seems that old Darwin is desperately in need of a new shopping Centre. Pretty sure we would still be there looking for a car park had we not turned around 5 mins in and headed to the city, where there was a plethora (yes, got that word in lachy if you're reading this) of car parks. Deposited the $ and walked down the street, passing a couple of the guys playing the sticks (is that what they're called?) busking... Not a great deal of talent involved. Stopped for lunch at a nice bar and headed back down the street at the same time the variety bash cars were driving through. Not sure how half those cars made it through the desert, but they were cool, beeping their crazy horns and waving to everyone. We then headed back to the mercure to relax by the pool for a few hours, then made our way to Charles Darwin National Park.
The elusive firefly On our last day in Darwin we decided to hire a car to make life easier. So after waking and eating fun size cereal for breakfast (mmmm, coco pops!) we trooped over to the airport on foot in search of firefly car rentals. Said car rental place appeared to be non-existent, and were also not answering the phone. After faffing about in the airport for ten minutes trying to google their location we asked at the Hertz desk. Dude behind the desk just pointed at the smallest bloody sign you've ever seen that said firefly. Gah. Anyways, we were just happy to have found them and proceeded to complete the hire process and get the fuck out of there with our keys. We drove back to the hotel and rested for a while before checking out at 12 - only 11 hours prior to our flight departure.

12 August 2017

Back onto the bus for our three hour journey home, stopping at something or other springs for dinner. Some people are while lachy and I played pool with some awful old sticks. About half way through the game I got distracted by Steven the peacock, who the chef was feeding, and an old man took the opportunity to swoop in and start playing pool with lachy. I had no problem with this whatsoever, and headed to the back of the roadhouse where I watched the sun set over a windmill - picture perfect. As Audrey-Anne was settling in to drink her bourbon and orange juice, which she'd been trying to get all day, we were hustled back out to the departing bus. She skulled her drink and I'm sure had a fun and/or sleepy journey back to Darwin. Arrived back in Darwin at about 8:30 only to realise the bus had decided to drop individuals at hotels before doing the main drop at the transit centre. We bailed pretty quickly at a random hotel and caught a cab back to our hotel. 700km odd in one day!
The gorgeous gorge Finally made it to Katherine gorge visitors Centre to gorge ourselves (ha!) on the buffet lunch. Nice view overlooking a river/creek thing bordered by trees filled with sugar gliders, which being half blind I initially mistook for large dead leaves. After lunch quick bus journey down to the gorge, where we boarded a boat captained by a youngish indigenous man by the name of ? First gorge was gorge-ous, saw a few freshwater crocs (oh so tiny!) that would most likely be a mere snack for a large saltie. After reaching the end of the first gorge we disembarked and made our way across the rocks to a second boat. The little old ladies were troopers and also came along with some assistance. Second gorge was spectacular and had a very spiritual feel, we even stopped on top of the supposed resting place of the rainbow serpent. The place would be epic seen from a chopper! Stopped at the loo on the way back to the bus where lachy mistook a tree frog for a large skid mark. Ha!
The bus to retirement, er, I mean Katherine Gorge Up at half past a fucking sparrows fart to taxi into the city to meet our tour bus to Katherine gorge. Taxi driver dropped us at the wrong location so we had to hightail it through the city in the dark to find the actual place we were supposed to be. Luckily we made it in the nick of time to board a coach and be greeted by none other than Audrey-Anne Worthing. The remainder of passengers were mainly older retiree types, including a couple of little old ladies probably in their 80s who sat behind us and had the most mundane conversations the entire trip. Very cute though. So, totally different crowd from yesterday, with a much drier tour guide who sounded uncannily like Murray from Flight of the Concords. First stop war cemetery, followed by morning tea at something or other springs and then onto Edith falls for a swim. Not quite as impressive as yesterday's falls but refreshing nonetheless.

11 August 2017

Swimming holes and waterfalls Next stop a waterhole called bull-something-or-other or something. Danny spread out a picnic for us while we went for a swim. Insider tip from Danny to the honeymooners from Buderim was to head right away from the main waterhole. Good tip, after a bit of hunting we found an awesome spot with easy access and jumped in. Made our way upstream through a mini gorge and over little tiny waterfalls, found a nice quiet spot and rested for five mins, watching blue dragonflies and other bugs dance on the surface of the water before heading back for lunch. Could have stayed there forever. Next stop a beautiful waterfall with two falls and an expansive swimming hole at the bottom. Lachy needed food, so got himself and ice cream contrary to the old wives tale don't eat before you swim. Consequently struggled to swim out to the waterfall, where you had to fight the current to get under the falls. Another beautiful spot.
Chomp chomp First stop on tour - jumping crocs. Greeted by a short, stout, barefooted man with the largest, greyest, matted beard I have ever seen. He was a bit out of sorts due to us being fashionably late, and seemed to be upset about not having time to give us the safety spiel. In a nutshell, no arms out of the boat or chomp chomp, no fall in water or chomp chomp, and don't all rush to the same side of the boat or the boat capsizes and - you guessed it - chomp chomp. Made us file two by two down the ramp to the boat (we assumed to enable ease of getaway in the case of a chomp chomp attack), and proceeded down the river. The man had plenty of knowledge to impart, which it seemed he expected us to already know as he started each sentence with "you do know". Boated down the river dangling meat off a stick, enticing large crocodiles to jump out of the water and chomp, teasing the poor suckers to enable photo ops for us ignorant city folk. Awesome experience!
Waterfalls and jumping crocs Tour today with wollaroo tours to litchfield National Park. Started off with a 2 hour tour of Darwin to pick up all of our tour mates (downside of being picked up first). The tour guide Danny was a legend, funniest tour I have ever been on. Went to three different hotels to find one of the guests, Audrey-Anne Worthing, a cute lady from Texas who jumped on the bus with two coffees and was dubbed co-pilot due to the only seat left being next to the driver. We proceeded to call her "texas". Great group of people, a lovely couple from Adelaide, another group of adelaidians with kids (lachy enjoyed speaking shit with the dad), a dude from mission beach and his backpacker girlfriend, and a smattering of other, less rowdy peeps. Stopped for beers on the way home before prawns and champagne on sunset at Fannie Bay - everyone was pretty jolly by then. Got dropped off at the supermarket to buy food. Lachy was a little drunk so we decided on hotel restaurant for dins

10 August 2017

What's with all the great foreign taxi drivers here? Another fun cab ride that deserves a mention, a young Pakistani guy who is here studying nursing. Had some interesting conversations about same sex marriage, studying in Darwin and the unfair ratio of males to females here, which turns out could be a pivotal reason to make same sex marriage legal 😜 also discussed was the quality of the beaches and the "bitches" on the sunshine coast. Good value
Thursday night - Mindil beach market Checked in to the mercure to find our bungalow had no power. We moved bungalows and then headed out to the mindil beach markets - one of the most friendly and funny taxi drivers I have come acros- a Pakistani(?) guy who was happy to take the piss out of himself and everyone else. The markets were great - arrived to two guys playing the didge and drums, creating a great atmosphere. We then started our food journey through the market - oyster shooters, oysters, yiros, smoothies, honey puffs and baklava, frozen drinks and greek charcoal lamb. Sat on the beach with hundreds of other people to watch the sunset over the ocean - it was amazing watching the sun disappear so quickly over the horizon, with gorgeous hues of orange and yellow contrasting against the darkening beach and silhouettes of the people in front of us. We proceeded to browse the market's wares, buying a couple of hats for our litchfield tour tomorrow and some jerky for lachy. Awesome
Thursday morning - a foray on the foreshore We actually managed to check out of the motel pretty much on time - possibly a first for both of us. After leaving our bags at the motel, we ventured our for coffee and bought pies and pasties from a very sour girl at the parap bakery. Lachy left her a tomato sauce smiley on the table, which I'm sure she appreciated fully. We had decided to get a taxi to Charles Darwin National Park, but after waiting for a taxi for 20 mins outside the pub, decided to walk down Gregory street to the foreshore. We sat down in the shade and enjoyed the beautiful outlook from the foreshore, before making our way towards the NT museum and art gallery. Managed to spend about 2 hrs in the museum, which offered some really interesting fauna exhibits as well as some pretty cool pieces of art. Had lunch at the museum cafe and caught a taxi to pick up our bags and check into the mercure resort

9 August 2017

Wednesday night - Casino!!! After arriving at the Casino we played some roulette over cocktails and drinks), with me having to convince lachy to leave the table when we were $150 up. After that we went and played the big wheel, lachy list his $10 after about 5 mins while I slowly turned mine into $50. Meanwhile lachy had be tired over to the sports bar to have a punt, where an old aboriginal man named Edward was incoherently trying to have a yarn with us. He was a lovely old man but I could barely understand him ( I think he'd had a few too many VBs). All I could understand was that he wanted to sit outside on the west facing verandah to have a smoke and feel the sea breeze on his face. I was too tired to try to understand him at this point so left him to his mates, cashed in our chips and got a taxi back to casa on Gregory.
Wednesday night - Rachel's for dinner We got dropped at Darwin waterfront looking for a restaurant called Rachel's (a recommendation from Leanne the manager at Casa on Gregory). Realised that Rachel's is actually located at the marina 4km from where we were, so we jumped in another taxi and finally found Rachel's, a casual seafood restaurant stringing the water overlooking the water. The food was to die for, seafood platter and the most tender, juicy ribs I have ever come across. We enjoyed a bottle of red and got a bit piss and sentimental, then journeyed by foot to the casino (a solid 20min walk).
Wednesday - Getting to know Parap via our stomachs After arriving at Casa on Gregory at about 1:00am (our flight was half an hour quicker than scheduled - hooray!) we had a decent sleep in until around 9:00am. We took our time getting ready and eventually headed out the door to find ourselves in a cute little village. Breakfast was at the cyclone cafe (yes, a very original name), tasty coffee and decent meals. Following breakfast we went back to the motel to collect some brochures, where we chatted with the manager Leanne for a while. She was super helpful and gave us some great food recommendations (obviously a woman after our own hearts!). We managed to collect a pile of brochures touting various tours and attractions, and armed with everything we needed headed back to our room to plan. Lunch was at a Japanese restaurant around the corner, followed by a drink at the pub where we got a little chatty. An afternoon nap prepared us for the night ahead.