I can't believe we are already halfway through our 5th month on the road. There has been many amazing highs and a few low on our travels. I am already wistfully dreaming of boab trees and the amazing spirit of the Kimberley's, I'm reminiscing of boat cruises on the Indian Ocean drinking champas with my sister, swimming at cable beach and snorkelling at Coral Bay. How quickly it feels these experiences in WA are becoming memories as we continue to fill ourselves up with new moments in the NT.
We have been in NT for over a month and have enjoyed the beautiful 'croc free' swimming holes of Edith falls and Litchfield National Park. We spent a week engrossed in the culture of Kakadu, listening to ranger talks, talking to people, taking in the spectacular stories depicted in the rock art and sprituality of this amazing part of Australia. We also spent the time being eaten by mozzies, poor Scarlett blew up like a balloon, reacting to all the bites, she looked so sad, she has certainly inherited her mozzie loving blood from her mother. The dawn wetlands cruise was amazing, so much birdlife, animals and the scenery was spectacular. I think the next visit to the Northern Territory will need to be in the wet so I can fully appreciate the changing seasons. Our last night at gunlom falls was a perfect way to end our time in Kakadu. As we travelled on the 4x4 track into the falls I was cursing Mike as all I wanted to do was get to Darwin, we were driving into fires on either side of the vehicle but there was no turning around and by the time we made it in and set up in the dust bowl camp site we were all so grumpy that we decided to head straight to the falls. After a very steep climb up we where greeted with a magical spot of little rock pools to swim in, the view was amazing and definitely worth the climb. We lazed around swimming, exploring the little pools and taking intake amazing scenery. I could only imagine what it would be like I the wet.
The next day we prepared for the terrible drive out only to find the road had been half graded and was a much better return trip, we cruised along the highway eager for some cultural delights and Darwin did not disappoint!!!
Darwin is one of my favourite cities, so relaxed, people are chilled and always seem to be smiling. We had such a great couple of weeks doing as many touristy things as we could! We visited the Mindle markets, enjoying the amazing food, great music, performances and time at the beach watching the sunset, sharing it with new friends from our travels. We visited every water playground, splash park, pool,spring or lagoon we could find. The kids had a great time swimming at berry springs, jumping from the rope swing into the water! (About a week after we left they did find a large female saltie in the springs, so I'm glad it wasn't looking for lunch the day we were there!) I visited every market I could get too, Mindle, Parap, Northcliffe, Palmerston, Cooinda... It was lovely to have a bit of time wandering around, and having access to fresh and cheap produce again! We spent time with our dear friends the Cooksons, Rosey and Megan are the same age as Scarlett and Lola , it was lovely watching them going off exploring and forging new friendships.
Another great highlight of our time in Darwin was catching up with the Heath family. We first met them on our trip 3 years ago when we crossed the Nullarbor together, it was great to hear all about their adventures as they have been on the road for all that time. The boys had a great time together, their friendship kicking off from the last time we saw them in Esperance 3 years ago!
Each day was getting a little hotter and hotter, the locals said the build up was about to start and I knew this was signalling our imminent departure, I made a list of the last few things I wanted to do but our plans were quickly thwarted when we had to make a rush departure due to 'he who will remain nameless' not extending our stay!!!! With a lot of 'dagger eyes' and some fairly loud expletives we packed up unsure where to go next.
We made our way down to Douglas Daly checked out the hot springs to find they had been closed due to a recent croc sighting, so we hightailed back to the caravan park for a respite from the heat in the pool. The next day we travelled on to Mataranka and spent the next three days drifting in the spectacular thermal pools. Lola had the best time swimming in the pools and riding her bike around and around, I don't think she even noticed the weather as it creeped up to 38, but it certainly meant she slept well at night!
So with the big drive to Alice looming we packed up and set off, Oscar was excited about a 10 hour car journey, because it meant they could have an adventure time marathon all the way down to Alice!