It’s been a while since I last posted, these past few days have been a bit of a whirlwind experience for my partner and I and I think I’ve gotten quite a few blog posts to come out of it. So as some of you may know, my partner and I are moving back to his hometown, so in the short time span of a few days we’ve had to pack 17 boxes, organize cutting off the power, water, internet, phone line, clean up the apartment, have people inspect our apartment and deal with the whole mess that is when you break a lease with the real estate. Anyway throughout all this happening, it’s been exciting, scary, fun, nerve-wrecking…but all in all an experience that I am glad I was able to go through with my partner. Anyways to get to today’s topic, I’d like to write about this awesome trip we did a couple of days before we left Darwin (yes we somehow forced ourselves to make time to see some great outback Oz!).
Have you heard of a place called Litchfield Park? Don’t worry, not many people have, I hadn’t either, but you might recognize the name Kakadu, known the world over for being an amazing piece of paradise in the middle of Australia and covers an astounding 19,804 square kilometres. Well unfortunately, Kakadu is quite a long drive from the city centre of Darwin, and we didn’t have time to go there, plus because of earlier this year’s wet season, a lot of the roads were blocked to get to Kakadu. So we found a place that was the ‘next best thing’ and in others opinions even more popular with locals than Kakadu, and I can understand why, it is unbelievably beautiful. Covering around about 1500 square kilometres, it’s about 100 km drive south-west from Darwin.
We went on a tour with a company called “Kakadu & Litchfield Dreams” you can visit their website here by clicking on the name if you’d like to learn more about it after this blog.
The itinerary for the day was really packed with all the right timing and events to make it a memorable Australiana experience. Picked up nice & early at around 7am, we boarded a small tour bus that seated 20. Driving around the city, our driver gave a little commentary as we picked up the other guests for day from the various hostels and hotels. For a small city, Darwin has some big chains, and pretty much everything you need in a city, just more compact and everything is within walking distance.
After about an hour and half drive, we arrived at our first stop for the day, along Adelaide River, we got ready to board the Jumping Crocs River Cruise which as it name depicts, is an awesome experience watching some huge crocs jump out of the river whilst you sit pretty much right in front of it in a dingy type boat (putting into perspective – if you reached your hand out during feeding time it would be close enough to snap it off). While waiting, guests were also welcome to try holding some snakes, which were (I think…haha) not the poisonous kind, ok of course not, but they were huge and quite intimidating. I admit, I was not brave enough to try, but my partner was sooo eager too haha. So after our little battle of me not wanting to try, I got lucky and they told everyone to board so I got a good excuse not to.
Boarding the dingy speed boat, was an experience in itself. Crossing the small platforms on the water and seeing all the beautiful flora and fauna surrounding the river was spectacular. Our host driving the boat, was a charmingly witty gentleman and really got everyone excited with his commentary. It was kinda scary ‘teasing’ these big fellas, but they are pretty strong and like ‘moving’ prey too. We got lucky (gosh sound so touristy haha) and saw one croc they call ‘Hannibal’, a giant 5m croc that they guessed to be around 150years old. They said crocs this big only really need to eat twice a year (bigger kills probably) so they don’t surface much. I don’t know how to describe how great this cruise was, so I’ll just post some photos here to show you.
After our hour and a half cruise, we boarded the tour bus again to go to our next destination, to see the gigantic termite mounds made by the Magnetic and Cathedral Termites. Our guide told us that for every metre high, it took the termites 10 years to build, and some of the mounds we saw were up to 6 metres, even getting higher our guide told us as you venture further into the outback. Now these termite mounds are seen almost everywhere, they’re massive. Relying on their instinct and ‘feelers’, termites are blind, and our guide said if you put it into ratio with humans, it would be like having a million blind people building a 3km high house in 10years to compare how fast these little critters work.
Our next stop, was Wangi Falls, at this time of year the swimming lagoon at the bottom of the falls was closed to visitors as crocodiles are still able to enter the watering hole making it unsafe, but they said later on in the year, say around July, it is open with creeks leading to the falls dried out, and crocodiles moving to the rivers to catch some sun. So, instead we were able to have a beautiful stroll along the boardwalk leading to the viewing deck and hike a little through the outback terrain. The trees grow so high here, and you really get the impression of what space is here, for kilometres and kilometres that the eye can see there is just forest and wide spaces of land without any trace of the human footprint, no tall buildings or smoke filling the sky. It’s unbelievably beautiful breathing in the fresh air and taking in all the scenery.
The Tolmer & Florence Falls, was our next stop. Here we enjoyed mixing and mingling with the other tourists over a delicious lunch of cold cuts, salad and sandwiches. It was really interesting to meet all the others, some on their “discover Australia tours” which go all over Australia, who were visiting from Sweden. There was some Italian bachelors, 4 guys travelling together who were on a working holiday in Darwin, and numerous elderly couples who had decided to see a little bit more of their country. At these Falls, the watering hole was open to swimmers, but since my knees have been playing up, my partner and I opted to skip walking down the 130steps to the falls, and instead have a paddle near the rapids in the creek. It was so fun swimming in them, like little spas in between the rocks.
After an hour of lazing in the sun and soaking up the scenery, it took us 5 minutes in the tour bus to get to our next destination, The Buley Rockholls. Now this place, is like a dream. These small waterfalls are fun to slide down to each rock pool, only being a metre or two each height, with about 5 levels before joining into one big lagoon that ends up into a place that looks like it would be great for white water rapid rafting. The water temperature was perfect, and I was surprised to feel how smooth the rocks were. Large slabs made the entrance to the rock pools, and this was naturally made this way. We spent an hour here splashing around, swimming and fighting the waterfall water in the bottom pool. Great fun. The place was pretty popular too, there was school excursion there and another tour group.
By then the end it was about 4pm, and we headed back to our tour bus for Darwin city to make our 6.30pm drop offs. On the way we got to stop in the tiny town of Bachelor and get a few snacks and share a beer or two with our new friends. A spectacular end to the day.
During our trip, I forgot to add the soundtracks the tour guide put on. A collection of a mixture of great Aussie music, from traditional didgeridoo to 80s Aussie rock, I can’t help but remember some of the comedy tracks that were played.
There’s this awesome Aussie comedian who goes by the name “Austen Tayshus”, and he his hilarious. Warning his comedy can be pretty crude, and probably hard to understand unless you’re Australian, lived in Oz sometime, or know a lot about Australian flora, fauna and places, since his jokes are puns about them. I found it so clever how he fits some really random words into it to make a conversation, probably funnier to listen to it then to read though so you can spot how these words sound.
To listen to the joke (with some random pics helping explain lol)
You can visit the comedian’s website at:
Translations (hahaha) provided by:
AUSTRALIANA by Austen Tayshus
This is not my work, provided by the previous expressed.Lyrics copyright Billy Birmingham / Little Digger Records.
Sittin’ at home last Sunday mornin’ me mate Boomerrang Said he was havin’ a few people around for a barbie, Said he might Kookaburra or two.
I said, “Sounds great, will Wallaby there?”
He said “Yeah and Vegemite come too”.
So I said to the wife “Do you wanna Goanna?”. She said “I’ll go if Dingos”.
So I said “Wattle we do about Nulla?”
He said “Nullabors me to tears, leave him at home.”
Boomerang (Aboriginal weapon) (Barbie – Australian slang for barbeque) (Kookaburra – Australian bird) (Wallaby – Australian animal) (Vegemite – Australian food product) (Goanna – Australian lizard) (Dingo – Australian wild dog) (Nullabour – Highway through the outback of Australia)
We got to the party about two and walked straight out the kitchen to put some booze in the fridge. And you wouldn’t believe it, there’s Boomer’s wife Warra sittin there tryin to Platypus!
Now, I don’t like to speak Illawarra, but I was shocked, I mean how much can a Koala bear.
So I grabbed a beer, flashed me Wangarratta and went out and joined the party.
(Booze – slang for alcohol) (Platypus – fresh-water animal) (Illawarra – A region in southern Australia) (Wangaratta – Australian town)
Pretty soon Ayers Rocks in and things really started jumpin’. This Indian girl, Marsu, turns up, dying to go to the toilet but she couldn’t find it. I said to me mate Al, “Hey, where can Marsupial?” He said “She can go outback with the fellas, she’s probably seen a cockatoo”.
(Ayres Rock – that big rock in the middle of Australia) (Marsupial – pouched mammals, e.g. kangaroos, bandicoots, wombats) (Cockatoo – Australian bird)
Well just then Warra comes out of the kitchen with a few drinks for everybody. Fairdinkum, you’ve never seen a Coolabah maid. I grabbed a beer and said, “Thanks Warra – tah”.
(Coolabah – Australian tree) (Warratah – Australian bush)
A couple of Queensland at the party, one smellin’ pretty strongly of aftershave. One of ’em sat down next to me and I turned to him and I said, “Ya know mate, Eureka Stockade!”
(Queensland – Australian State) (Eureka Stockade – the site of a civial revolt in the 1800’s) (Eureka – translating to ‘You reek a” – meaning you really stink).
It was a really hot day; Oscar felt like a swim. He said to Ina, “Do you want a have a dip in the Riverina?” She said “I haven’t got my Kosciusko”.
Well Bo says, “Come in starkers, Wattle they care!” Ina says “What, without so much as a Thredbo?” Ah, Perisher thought! Has Eucumbine in yet?
(Riverina – an area in southern Australia known for fruit orchards) (Kosi – meaning cosi – slang for swimming costume) (Kosciousko – a mountain in the Australian snow fields; highest peak in Australia) (Wattle – Native Australian tree) (Thredbo – Ski Resort in southern Australia) (Perisher – another ski resort near Thredbo) (Eucumbene – a lake in Australia)
Well a few of the blokes decided to play some cricket. Boomer says “Why doesn’t Wombat?” “Yeah, and let Tenterfield”.
He said I should have a bowl but I was too out of it to play cricket so I suggested a game of cards. I said to Lyptus “Wanna game of Eucalyptus?” He said “There’s no point mate, Darwins everytime.”
(Wombat – Australian animal) (Tenterfield – Australian town) (Euca – card game) (Eucalyptus – Australian tree koala’s live in) (Darwin – Capital of the Northern Territory – territory of Australia)
Well Bill said he’d like a smoke. Nobody knew where the dope was stashed. I said “I think Merinos.” But I was just spinning a bit of a yarn. Barry pulls a joint out of his pocket. Bill says “Great, Barrier Reefer, what is it mate?” “Noosa Heads of course. Me mate Adelaide ’em on me.” And it was a great joint too, Blue Mountains away and his Three Sisters.
(Merino – Australian sheep) (Great Barrier Reef – The famous coral reef running down the coast of Queensland) (Adelaide – capital of South Australia) (Noosa Heads – a seaside resort in Queensland) (Blue Mountains – Mountain range outside Sydney) (Three Sisters – Landmark in the Blue Mountains, 3 pinnacle rocks)
Well I thought I’d roll one meself, I said “Chuck us the Tally Hobart”. He said “They’re out on the Laun, Ceston, can you get em for us?” Burnie says “Its okay mate, she’s apples, I’ll get em for ya”
(Tally Ho – Cigarette papers) (Hobart – Capital of Tasmania – Australian State) (Launceston – city in Tasmania) (Burnie – city in Tasmania) (Apples – one of the main export products of Tasmania)
Just then Alice Springs into action, starts to pack Billabong. And you wouldn’t believe it, the bongs broken. I said “Lord Howe!”
“Hay-man” somebody says “Will a Didgeridoo?” I said “Hummmmm mummmm mummmmm mummmmm maybe it’ll have ta.”
(Alice Springs – capital city of the Northern Territory – near Uluru / Ayers Rock) (Billabong – water hole in the outback) (Lord Howe – Australian owned island off the east coast of Australia) (Hayman – Australian island on the Great Barrier Reef) (Didgerdoo – Aboriginal musical instrument) (Hummmm mummmmmm mummmmmm – sound the didgerdoo makes – long droning sound)
I look in the corner and there’s Bass sittin there, not getting into it, not getting out of it, I said “What, is Bass Strait or somthin?” Boomer says “As a matter a fact mate, he’s a cop” I said “Ya jokin mate, a cop, I’m getting outta here, lets Goanna.” She said “No way, I’m hangin round till Gum leaves. Besides, I dont wanna leave Jacardanda party on his own. Have you seen him? I think he’s trying to crack on Toowoomba, he’s already tried to Mount Isa And he’ll definitely try to lead you Australiana!”