The big road trip – Darwin

Sunday and Monday (the end of August, a full calendar month on the road).
Two full days on the road making our way quickly into the Territory and then all the way to Darwin. Our first day was a long drive but easy and we were in Katherine in no time. I’m sorry I missed the places along the way. Time is my absolute enemy this trip but next trip I’ll be keen to explore the national parks and small towns along the stretch of Victoria Hwy from Kuna to Katherine.

What I did briefly see was the turnoff to Bullo River Station which made me think of the women who have influenced me. Obviously there’s my mum who moved to Aus from the UK and then ventured south to Sydney from Hervey Bay alone. In the 60’s! In a mini! The other influential women include Jeannie Gunn (We of the Never Never) and Sarah Henderson (Bullo River). Obviously these are pioneering colonial and post-colonial white women but I can’t really apologise for that. It’s just what I was exposed to in my formative years. Their struggles and achievements are inspirational and I always felt I could have done what they did. Although, my achievements pale next to theirs.

Anyway, we made Katherine in good time on Sunday so we hit Katherine Springs to cool down. A great little natural spring that we both enjoyed especially The Piper (swinging into the pool). It’s amazing how the spring just starts there in such a huge pool. Seemingly from nowhere, like a filtered pool returning water through the pump. Crystal clear warm water that flows endlessly and quite fast resulting in more pools, cascades and spas. Mother Nature is really very kind.

Monday we finished the trip to Darwin and have checked into the van park for 5 nights. That’s our longest stop and we are here to rest and then explore. Darwin city, the wave pool, the water slides, Mindil Beach Markets and a fishing tour on Saturday. As usual lots to do with not a lot of time to do it …

Tuesday 1st, Wednesday 2nd and Thursday 3rd September
Water, water, water.

Darwin town is proving to be very warm, just the way I like it. So, it’s all been water. Monday afternoon after checking in we hit the pool in the caravan park. Of course we also hit the shops for supplies and The Piper moved out! He now resides in his two man tent under the awning but outside the camper. Time for me to downsize!

Tuesday we had a day at home, washing clothes, swimming in the pool and sorting a few bits and pieces out. We’ve got our awning on the camper up this time so that took a bit of doing but it’s worth it for the heat and the shade it gives us. It makes our home even bigger and means that we can be outside in shade. Outside though is full of sand flies that have hammered my legs! And the pretty green ants are using my camper as a direct route from tree to tree. I’m not to worried cause their not interested in entering the premises. Yet!

Wednesday (yesterday) was spent in the city. A girl has to do what a girl has to do so I found the hairdresser and beautician and feel much better for it! The. We hit the wave pool on the Darwin Waterfront and The Piper surfed all afternoon. Literally. I finally dragged him out, hungry and tired, about 4pm and we headed home for dinner and a drink. Beer and hot weather. If you’re in Darwin make sure you go to the wave pool. Entry is incredibly cheap, $7 for adults and $5 for school age children. They provide boogey boards and inflated rings as well as sun lounges in heaps of shade. What a great and cheap way to spend a whole day. Take sunscreen!

Today the car has finally had a wash. I’m amazed at the numbers of clean cars in the van park and was ashamed of the big girl but she’s rinsed off now and looks much better. And I can see through the windscreen! With a few more camping bits and pieces purchased we headed for the Leanyer Recreation Area. What can I say? Well done NT government. Another great facility with water slides to rival the best we’ve seen in Aus, but these are entirely free. Along with a water park and a pool. A very impressive place to spend a whole day free of charge and in the safety of a lifeguarded swimming area. The Piper and I slid all three slides and then he got soaked many times over by the big bucket, having made another new friend. Another place I had to drag him from. Make sire you go and take everything you want or need except alcohol.

Tonight we’re off to Mindil Beach markets … I’ll let you know how that goes.
Mindil Beach markets and the museum

Mindil Beach Markets was a great thing to do. It was, as we had been told, packed but we got some dinner and saw the sunset on the beach. The Piper had a deep fried spud! A potato that is skewered, before being spiral sliced and then battered and deep fried. Coated in chicken salt, we ended up sharing it. Something I’d not seen before! The sunset was lovely and then we strolled around the markets looking at crafts and other market wares before catching up with our new friends and getting the Darwin insiders advice on Kakadu. With all that in my head we made for home.

Friday 4th September we headed to the museum, recommended to us by our new friends. This is a great place to spend a couple of hours. Believe it or not you need to take a cardy. The air is cool and dry, to assist in preserving the artefacts and art works. There is a great display of aboriginal art, a display of animals, reptiles, birds and butterflies of the NT, a section on cyclone Tracey, a maritime display and the day we visited a display of the art works of Ben Quilty. There was also a fascinating photographic display of sea creatures that mimic other sea creatures for the purposes of protection or predation. We spent all morning wandering the exhibits and left after learning all about Sweetheart the crocodile.

Our afternoon and our trip were brightened significantly when The Newby joined us for a 5 night leg of our trip! Arriving at 1.45 we were sliding the water slides by 2.15. Induction to the adventure over, we headed home for a gentler swim and to start the pack up and preparation for onward travels to Litchfield and Kakadu. To follow the 4 of us (don’t forget The Moose) have a look here.

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