Alice to Darwin

Trip Start Aug 08, 2011
Trip End Jul 22, 2013

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Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Saturday, April 13, 2013

Day 5

Last night we went out for some goodbye drinks which was fun. We had bonded as a group very quickly and it was sad to say goodbye! One of the girls, phoebe, is a student soon to start in cardiff so I have suggested when she gets fed up of beans on toast, s he should come over for dinner - perhaps she could even sneak me into the students union to relive my uni days?!
I chose to have a leisurely day today recovering from our intensive rod trip! However a hot room on the top bunk with people leaving for trips at the crack of sparrow six meant my lazy morning was not quite as lazy as I hoped but was still better than a 5 am start. Later I met one f the girls for lunch and a few of us went to the flying drs museum which was interesting! That afternoon was spent organising my bag and washing clothes then catching up with a few people on Skype before an early night!

Day 6

Today's was he earliest start - 4.30! I joined with another tour (same company) to head towards Darwin. The first few days will be driving intensive with 1500km to cover! Today's 550km went quickly as we all got to know each other and Kim our guide made it fun with lots of stops. Our group this time is more varied ages. The youngest being around 18 and the oldest perhaps in their 60s. I'm the only Brit this time and people's English more varying standards but I've mostly spent time with a Danish couple and 2 German sisters whose English is great! We stopped at a few places including this random campsite which claims to have the biggest concentration of UFO sightings in Australia! So there was alien memorabilia everywhere. We even had tin foil hats we made to protect ourselves...
The best stop however was at devils marbles - huge rocks and boulders balancing on each other. Again beautiful views but also fun for paying and climbing amongst for photos!
We stayed at a very basic campsite using our swags for the last time! Boo. As we proceed further north it will get wetter and more mozzie infested so its back to tents fr a while. I will miss falling asleep under a blanket of stars!

Day 7

We had a lie in this morning - 6.30am!!! I then ran up the hill to watch another outback sunrise before we set off on the road again. This morning was mostly driving but time flew by as I napped most of the way. We arrived at the infamous daly waters pub for lunch. A well known Aussie outback pub which collects items from its many international visitors so every square inch of the bar is covered in ID badges, stickers, badges, hats and even travellers bras! The best bit though was the BBQ and swim in the pool! From there we continued onto our campsite ( pink panther themed?!!) where a number of surprise activities had been set up fr us starting with a tour of the wildlife sanctuary- the campsite owner fosters injured wild animals and rehabilitates as many as he can - mostly birds snakes and wallabies but he even has a salt water croc! Then we had a ride on the old railway just before sunset. This railway used to be the main transport link between here and Darwin. After our train ride we watched the salt water crc being fed and got a few very close up snaps! Then after dinner the best surprise was a very close encounter with a baby kangaroo. The joey was called redman and was rescued from Alice springs 4 months ago when his mum was ran over. He had broken his tail so he will never be rehabilitated into the wild. Instead he has been hand reared by the campsite owner and the 2 ate insuperable. At the moment he is pretty small but in4 years he will reach maturity at 7ft tall! Yet apparently he will still be hanging out behind the bar! I'd like to see that! We all got a cuddle and all fell skittle bit in love with redman who is very affectionate and likes a chin tickle! Slightly less affectionate were the 2 pythons he bought out afterwards. I did hold them but I was very scared! The photos are very amusing!!

Day 8

Back on the road again with a 5am start. This time headed for Darwin! 1st stop was mataranka where we swam in a natural hot springs built for the soldiers in WW2. It was a very pleasant way to start the day and even though it was 7am we were not cold as the water was 35degrees. Then it was off to Katherine gorge. Rainy season came late this year so many parts are still shut to tourists including the kayaking as the river may still house salties! Instead we did a walk which was very beautiful but very very hot! It was very humid with no wind and we were climbing in the mid day sun. We were so exhausted and sweaty afterwards! It was a much easier walk than kings canyon but we were all found it much harder as the outback has drier heat and a breeze! But we better get used to the weather as our 3 day Kakadu/litchfield national park starts tomorrow! We are not far from Darwin now so we will go to dinner and then probably get an early night and drink some hydralyte in preparation!
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