Today’s program was a trip to Litchfield National Park about 180 km south of Darwin (so “just around the corner” in Australian terms). On the way there we got a first impression about how vast Australia is and how fast population density becomes very low once out of a major city.
stop of the day were the Magic Termite Mounds where we saw hundreds of
(yes, you guessed it) Termite Mounds some up to five or more meters in
height. We were about to see many mores the next few days everywhere
alongside the road. Impressive what such small animals are able to
build. Subsequent stop was at a series of warm water holes where a lot
of people were having a bath (it was Sunday after all) and a nearby
waterfall (with more people swimming). As we were in the dry season the
water flow was rather moderate which apparently changes dramatically
once it starts to rain. Speaking of the weather. Just to give you an
idea (and to make our Swiss readers a bit jealous) temperature are here
somewhere between 27 and 35 degrees. Luckily very often a bit of wind
makes things quite bearable.
Later on a platform offered us a
fantastic view of the huge plains around us. There were only trees as
far as one could see (yes, it was bigger than Singapore for sure).
Arriving at the Wangi Falls (more people swimming) we started to realize
that our low fuel indicator was on and thoughtfully decided to head
back. Fortunately we made it to Batchelor where we pumped petrol and
decided to setup camp for the night. So there it was our first camping
night. First task was to setup the tent. I (Kevin) still think setting
up a tent should be part of every management course as it has all
elements of the work place ranging from frustration over team conflicts,
shouting in anger and the eventual gratification of achieving a task
(perhaps I setup a management consulting company). Anyway, it was not
all that bad and we managed to setup shop in about 10 minutes without
any major relationship crises in between. The camping ground even had a
swimming pool (and this for 9.50 AUD per night/person) which we warmly
welcomed. Back at our tent we saw our first wallabies (uneducated Kevin
thought they were Kangaroos). For dinner our gas cooker prepared bangers
and mash (well, we are in a former country of the English Crown after
all). As night has fallen (quite early at around 7 pm) we started to
enjoy the stars and moon and as always when you look at them you feel
quite unimportant and small. It was fantastic. Once in the tent the
night started to turn on its sounds; bats, bugs, birds and many more
sounds from unknown sources (a bit like Singapore Zoo Night Safari minus
the Zoo and Singapore). The female part of the travel duo needed a bit
more time to get used to it but knows by now all cries of all Australian
Next day we headed back to Darwin to get our car fixed.
The car company sent us to a car repair shop outside of town which
provided us with the unique chance to see Darwin industrial park (woha –
should be in every travel guide). As they told us that it would take a
few hours to asses and fix the car we had no other choice but to linger
around and kill time with reading (at this time Kevin had to admit to
Hazel that her idea of buying Kindle Readers was a really good one). As
it turned out we could only pick up the car the next day and so we
checked in the Banyan View Lodge which was a backpacker in town. For
dinner we tried the local Vietnamese Restaurant which was not bad.
day we picked up our car in the afternoon and the steering alignment
problem was indeed solved but the dashboard was still not working. As it
was already evening we had to spend another night in Darwin.
So the next day we needed to bring the car to another mechanic shop where they had a good look at it but told us later that there was not much they could do and that we just needed a new dashboard.
A bit frustrated we decided to have a swim in the artificial lagoon which turned out to be nice and relaxing (despite the water being as warm as the outside temperature). In the evening we bumped into a German guy whose plan it is to walk all the way back to Germany from Australia (we assumed that he knew that there is no bridge between Australia and Asia). Anyway, we were quite happy that this was his plan and not ours.