Posts Tagged 'Northern Territory'

The real Mereenie Loop Road…

When I was planning my Central Australia trip it was difficult to find useful information about the state of the Mereenie Loop Road. Videos I found made it out to be a difficult, dangerous and sometimes very wet adventure. In contrast, I found it to be more like a well made, unpaved highway. Perhaps I got lucky 🙂

For sure, though, you’ll ruin the shockers of a street car – 4WD definitely recommended!

Well worth it for the fantastic scenery, the emptiness and for avoiding most of a day’s drive back to Alice Springs from King’s Canyon.

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Northern Territory diversity…

Berry Springs – hotel balcony grass seeds – ants nest webbing on the bluff above Lameroo Beach

crazy critters, oddities and sunset juxtapositions…

Lovely last day relaxing in Darwin. Discovered two crabs on the beach at Fannie Bay either in combat or engaging in foreplay, can be hard to tell the difference sometimes wouldn’t you agree? One was blowing copious amount of bubbles… most strange! Click the image to the left for an up-close view.

The next beach mystery was little tiny shells moving of their own accord. One does not see such things on the beaches of Victoria. No, the humidity hadn’t finally got to me, they were houses for little tiny creatures. Exceedingly cute!

Mindil Beach Sunset Market was most definitely worth the visit. Highly impressive was how the entire population of Darwin seemed to be there. After all it is a bi-weekly event during the dry season, that’s dedication.

Topped the day off with drinks with some ‘locals’ who most kindly took me under their wings for the remainder of the evening (thanks Mark for the poolside invitation). Nurses and mental health staff at the asylum seeker detention centre, they are put up at our hotel at for the duration of their contracts. How’s that for our tax dollars at work! Mind you, in Darwin real estate is in short supply and no doubt short term rental contracts are hard to come by, so let’s not start bashing the government just yet 🙂

smell the serenity…

Mary River region off the road to Kakadu – Fogg Dam and Leaning Tree Lagoon

O Brutus, damn good genes!

I like crocodiles, I like river cruises, put them together and it’s a blockbuster for me. This time round though it was somewhat of a guilty pleasure as they make the crocs jump for pieces of meat. Damn cool to see I have to say. I consoled myself in that it was in their natural environment (Adelaide River Jumping Croc Cruises, NT) and not the croc show in central Darwin. They still have to dance for their supper but at least they’re not in captivity and can bite back if they choose! As the tour guide so kindly reminded me as I leaned out to photograph the mighty 5.5m Brutus, who calmly eyed me off less than a meter away!

PS The title of this post is an in joke in case you were wondering. Sorry, couldn’t resist 🙂

PPS Quote of the day from Brigitte, friendliest croc money taker ever: “When you come back you can stay with me love.” Aw thanks Brigitte, I’ll do that.

you’ve started now, best crack on…

Good to lose my 4WD virginity at last. Driving the narrow dirt tracks was unexpected fun, albeit environmentally unfriendly I know, sorry. Even traversed a croc infested passage of water, not that there appeared to be any crocs of course!

Driving today and wandering around Litchfield National Park was a vivid reminder of that vast empty black of Sunday night. The bush just goes on and on and on, essentially unchanging as far as the eye can see for as long as you care to drive.

Not that there aren’t plenty of tourists! Only twice I escaped them. At Rum Jungle Lake* I saw a turtle briefly, so far inland, who would have thought. I stood by this small body of water, the breeze passed through us all, carrying the weight of all that living, passing along its expectant message. Vast but not empty. Existing, and that’s all.

By the water’s edge some creature and its friends had churned up the mud a little. Crocs? Some small hopping thing? Other than the occasional bird the rest weren’t giving up their hiding places.

Having almost turned back at the water crossing challenge, I held high hopes for solitude at Tjaynera Falls. The car park dashed those hopes, as if there wouldn’t be others, silly me. With a 1.7km walk to the falls and the day drawing on, the promise of a croc-less pool to wash away 39°C worth of sweat made up for it. Passed some people but miraculously I arrived at this little patch of watery paradise to find myself alone. So I fulfilled my wish to swim as nature made me in a place just as nature made it, not a soul there but the fish.

As well I dressed when I did, for teenagers awaited on the return journey.

Keen to be back by dark I took the circuit route back to Darwin via Berri, unpaved for 30km. Well underway, ahead appeared a large smoke plume – perhaps the fire I saw from the plane? The road veered away but soon what looked like smoke hazed its way ahead through the trees. Maybe making the most of the 4WD might come back to bite me! Soon I realised it was probably just dust from a vehicle up ahead. Twit 🙂

Something I’ve really appreciated driving out here is the lack of signage. Essentially it’s you, the land, the road and the occasional turn off sign. None of country Victoria’s aggravating Drowsy Drivers Die signs every five minutes, endless billboards, continual reminders of the speed limit, other myriad signs just in case you had nothing else to think about.

Here, they assume you know how to drive and if you stuff up you’re screwed, and let you get on with communing with the environment as best you can, considering you’re in a car. Thank you NT government, keep up the good work.

  * Found more than I bargained for when searching for a link about Rum Jungle Lake. Fingers crossed the one I went to was named in honour of the mine and isn’t the lake that’s supposed to be closed to the public. Someone should tell the tourism board!


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