Darwin: Warmth and more good fortune

Trip Start Jun 29, 2005
Trip End Nov 30, 2009

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Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Wednesday, July 13, 2005

It's good to be out of winter and into somewhere more tropical. Darwin - land of the free and sweaty. It has to be the perfect time to visit this place as there are no bugs, the temperature is a couple of degrees below the 32 degree average of the rest of the year, and the humidity is way down to the 30-40% level. Very pleasant. Ten days here will be good acclimatisation for more northerly Asian environments. Bring it on!

The last part of my Ghan train journey was completed yesterday afternoon. Early in the journey we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn and then passed by the Devils Marbles and Davenport Ranges. After a fitful sleep and a potter around Katherine (during the enforced 4 hour layover there), we eventually noticed a slight change in the surrounding vegetation as a more subtropical environment came to the fore. All in all however, you could travel 2,500 km on this line and still not be able to see much discernable difference in the various landscapes you travel through.

It ended up that Bastiaan, Ove and Flavian from the Ayres Rock tour were on the same train, which was good for a laugh in the lounge car. Unfortunately we weren't quick enough to book a canoe tour of Katherine Gorge, and there were no enterprising individuals waiting at the station to offer alternative tours, so the gorge will have to wait for another visit. We took some happy snaps instead.

I thought I'd include a couple of photos of the train because it's been an enjoyable way of travelling across the vast distances of this continent. Backpackers can utilise the rail system very cheaply ($450 for unlimited passage over a 6 month period), and even for my trip it was very good value indeed. It does take time but you get to see a lot of the land and you eventually realise that this country is not the barren wasteland most Aussies would have you believe.

Anyway, back to Darwin. This is my first day here so am resting my way into it at Frogshollow Hostel. It has a good reputation and young, funky crowd so despite the 13 person room I found myself in last night, it's a good place to chill out. Bastiaan has just departed but I'll catch up with Ove and Flavian at the markets tomorrow night and hire a car for touring Litchfield on Friday. Should be good.

In the meantime I've been to Cullen Bay and met with the owners of an alternative yacht to sail to/thru Indonesia in. Unfortunately Captain Des on the Panthalassa has been waylaid on his way up the far north coast of Queensland so will not make it to Darwin in time to start the race. He notified me of this possibility a couple of weeks ago but confirmed the bad news whilst I was in Adelaide. Fortunately a happy confluence of fate enabled me to find another boat looking for crew as theirs have recently cancelled on them.

And as I type up this entry they have confirmed that they would like me to join them for at least the trip to Bali, and preferably on to Borneo. Yay! Therefore I'll be travelling with Joe and Michelle on the 2 masted, 48 foot Mi Gitana for 4-6 weeks from 23 July, costing a princely sum of $10 per day (excluding sundry expenses). From now on you can call me Cap'n Pete!

So looks like I'll move onto their boat in the next 3-4 days and help with the preperations before departure. More news of this and other adventures like dealing with Customs and the Indonesian Consulate to get my 'Social Visa' when they come to hand.

Over and out Roger (see, getting all nautical already).

Next entry -> Mindel Beach Markets and Litchfield National Park (beeuwdiful)
Slideshow Report as Spam
Where I stayed
Frogshollow Lodge & Backpackers
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