Litchfield National Park

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.

First 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 birds.

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.

Next 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.

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