Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Night 40 - Kakadu

We would have rathered head off earlier but we had to wait until the Aboriginal Land Council opened in Jabiru so that we could get our permit to enter Arnhem Land. It cost us $13.50 each for 24 hours and the conditions were that we were only allowed to go to the Art Centre, no deviations, no stopping and no taking video or photos for commercial purposes.

After we got our permit we drove towards Oenpelli which is the first settlement in Arnhem Land. We stopped quickly at the Border Store to buy some cakes (Lisa's choice!).

There is a 6m range in tide at the border so we had to time it correctly but we had the tide tables.

Thinking I would keep the boys interested I said 'anyone see any crocs' and immediately Bailey said 'I do'!! They were only about 3m away from the car. It was like they were waiting for their next dinner to arrive. Its ok when your on a tour and you see them but when you see them and your on your own it quite unnerving.

We crossed the border into Arnhem Land feeling quite privileged, not many people get to experience this. I can see why they want to keep Arnhem Land sacred and why they want to make people pay because as soon as we crossed the East Alligator River the landscape changed from a woodland to an open wetland.

We travel along heavily corrugated road for about 8k's past a few abandoned cars that had obviously rolled over and werent roadworthy anymore. Oenpelli was intersting, very eye opening for the kids. We were greeted by a wave of stray bitsa dogs! I dont think the locals had seen too many cars with surfboards before!

We arrived at Injalak Art Centre to appreciate and see artists at work weaving the baskets and painting. When I parked at the art centre I had to get out and check that there were no dogs I was about to park in incase it was a family pet, and offending someone who then might spear me (tribal law!). Unfortunately there wasnt anyone weaving and the artwork and baskets were really expensive.

We decided to head back to Ubirr to check out some more rock art and the place made famous by Paul Hogan and Crocodile Dundee. We started on the 1.5kms walking track which took us past the Rainbow Serpent site.

And a few other sites....

We climbed up to the top of Ubirr and came to the spot made famous by Crocodile Dundee and here he is...

This is where he did the bull roarer scene....

The view from the top was outstanding....360 degree views of wetlands, escarpments and distant fires.

We headed back to the caravan park for another arvo of swimming and schoolwork.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Night 39 - Kakadu

First up today we went to the Bowali Information Centre for a coffee and a look around. They had an interactive display centre much like the one at Window Over Wetlands. There is so much to learn and look at, especially for the kids. They have displays on the types of plants and animals, also the places to visit and the history of the local people.

We head south about half and hour or so from our caravan park to a sacred site called Nourlangie Rock. Here there are many old Aboriginal artworks which had us in awe. The artworks are between 2 and 5 thousand years old.

We started on our walk and within minutes we hear rustling in the bushes, its a wallaby about 2 metres away. He couldnt care less that we were there, he was more interested in scratching in the dirt. Kai was so excited he ran back down the path to tell some other people that we had found a wallaby!

We climbed up the track and arrived at our first cave. There are boardwalks so visitors arent walking on the dirt, this could cover the artworks in dust. This first cave was massive, we could almost imagine them sheltering undercover with only the light from a fire.

A few more paintings followed....

This is Nabulwinjbulwinj....

Quite interesting his moves on the ladies!!

After exploring the artworks we climbed about 200m up to the top of the lookout. The view of Nourlangie Rock from the top was simply amazing. It was ridiculously hot and poor Craig got stuck carrying Ellie!

After climbing back down we drove to Anbangbang Billabong. It was beautiful, peaceful and oh so quiet.....it was the huge croc warning signs that made me stay in the car!! Craig and his 'mini me' shadow had a quick look around and saw plenty of Magpie Geese and luckily no crocs!

We arrived back at lunchtime, had some lunch then a swim in the pool. The rest of the afternoon we did some schoolwork on the picnic rug.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Night 38 - Kakadu

We certainly have itchy feet! We have been in Darwin for 8 days and its really time to move on. Irs been nice not having to pack and unpack each day but we are ready for a change of scenery.

We leave Darwin and drive about 220kms along the Arnhem Hwy stopping quickly to get our Kakadu National Park passes. They cost $25 per person (kids under are 16 free surprisingly) and last for 14 days. We had been told to stay at the Kakadu Aurora Lodge so we headed there after a quick look around Jabiru.

Now this is my kind of camping!! Beautiful shady trees, green grass, beautiful birds and a park manager that says 'just go find your own spot'. We had planned on staying two nights but we have just decided to stay three!

As soon as we got here the plan was just to sit back and relax. We set up the picnic rug and lego for the kids and Craig and I checked out the Kakadu maps and made a plan for the following day.

It was a beautiful starry night with a slight breeze which was really refreshing. When checking in the park manager told me that there were plenty of dingoes around at night. He told me not to feed them but just to shoo them away. Yeah right, I will not be shooing any wild dogs away, Ill be keeping my distance! He told me to take everything inside at night as lately they have even been stealing peoples thongs! At about 9pm a cheeky dingo comes around the corner and almost into our campsite. He got scared when he realised we were out and ran away. Cheeky buggar!! We will try and get photo evidence.......Craig is stalking it!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Night 37 - Darwin

Last night in Darwin....

We just thought we would have a relaxing day by the pool and catch up on the boys school work. They are doing it by distance education and there is a heap of it!!
Its hard enough to get through our hectic schedule of touring and sightseeing then get on with the boys work (I think I still have a grasp of year 3 maths though!).

I think they should let us make our own more relevant assignments so that the boys can really get a feel for the environment they are travelling through.....such as "Are We There Yet?" my tales about travelling!, "Different Cultures" I thought the drunk people would steal my surfboard! or "How the Different Sites have Inspired Me" MUM, the Nintendo DS has run out of batteries, I'm bored!

Mum and Dad went out and bought some really nice aboriginal artwork this arvo. You will have to go around and see the paintings!!

Finally, this arvo, Lisa's calls have been answered....a lovely tropical downpour. It only lasted about 20 mins and all it did was make everything steamy but it did rain. The locals were saying "unseasonal rain".

In the arvo we headed to the Palmerston Markets where we indulged once again. The markets were a bit quieter than the week before but still had some great food stalls with Thai, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Malaysian and 'aussie roadkill' on the menu....I settled for a Thai salad this time.

The kids had a ball with some dancing clowns revving all of the littlies up with disco songs... Bailey was a classic getting down the front and staying there for the whole time. Kai easily got the most lollies that were tossed onto the dance floor....no mercy was shown thats for sure!!

Had a few farewell drinks with Mum and Dad as they were leaving early the next morning. Its been great having them up here for the last week or so!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Night 36- Darwin

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CRAIG......he got boardies, beer and thongs.....how Australian!!

The day started with our ususal birthday pancakes, yummo!

Pam and Ross went and did some sightseeing so we ventured to Berry Springs Nature Park about 25km's away. This place was magical, I thought it was actually better than Litchfield. The boys went in for a swim in the crystal clear water (I am way too scared of crocs!!).

Why do the boys have to do this in every single photo??

They swum with Archer fish, Sooty Grunter and Long Tom. There was hardly anyone else there, just a few other Britz vans with the usual loud poms!

Here are a few pics of the beautiful trees that surrounded us.

We came home for a quick pit stop and then drove into Darwin for the Mindil Markets, what a fantastic time we had! I wish they had something like this in Sydney. The smells, tastes, sights and sounds were amazing. We had a look around and then sampled the food. Craig decided on an emu stick and a crocodile stick from the 'Road Kill Cafe'. Lovely!

This is Mindil Beach....one of a few beaches in Darwin. They do have the occasional croc show up so its no wonder there is no one swimming.

This didgeridoo player had was absolutely amazing, I got goose bumps watching him play and the kids didnt take their eyes off him. He played with such heart and soul and the whole crowd were right into it. I wish we had seen him play his second set but there was so much else to see and do.

After dinner it was time to watch my first sunset over the ocean. We just happened to be there on the full moon so it was amazingly spectacular to see.

The beach was full of tourists also watching and taking photos.

The sun had set and it was time to watch 'Dan the Fire Man' who was unreal. We took these amazing pics of his show.

We arrived back home at about 8pm and put the kids to bed. It doesnt seem to cool down at night, Im sure its still about 35 degrees. The rain coulds keep building but the rain never falls.....its just hot and humid every day.