Sunday, July 31, 2011

Adventures in the Northern Territories

Last week we took some days off and flew to the so called "Top End" in the Northern Territory of Australia.
Once at Darwin we hired a 4WD campervan that would allow us to drive through all the unsealed roads and get to more isolated areas far from the mass tourism. At first the car looked great...but that was just "at first".... Later on the first night we would discover that the car had no mosquito nets in the windows... that meant either you sleep with all the windows closed and you suffocate or you keep them open and be literally eaten by thousand of mosquitoes.... great, isn't it??? After that horrible first night we bought a mosquito net and duct tape and covered the windows so we could be free of mosquitoes and have some air at the same time... bud luck that we forgot to close the small rear windows and so we woke up covered by mosquito bites again!!! ;(
In any case, the 4WD paid back... we drove hundreds of "corrugated" roads where all the car shacked like crazy and we crossed rivers where water raised up to 70cm!!! By the en of the trip, we could not open the side door, we could not close the back door, and we had lost several screws.... but that's why you rent a 4WD!!!

We visited three national parks: Kakadu, Nitmiluk (or Katherine Gorge) and Litchfield. The highlight in Kakadu were the crocodiles: there were both freshwater crocs, smaller and shy, and saltwater croc, very aggressive and really big!! There were many places where swimming was restricted because of the crocs. The park rangers tried to capture them and relocate in other "less turistic" areas. In the places where swimming was allowed it was always "under your own risk" ... creepy!!! Still we managed to swim in amazing places, and many times all by ourselves. Whenever we found a waterfall, we would swim to the base.

We also saw some aboriginal art and had a interesting chat with one of the park rangers about the situation of the aboriginal populations and the future of their culture.

And every night we camped in quiet places, far from the road, where we could make fire (the most effective way of keeping the mosquitoes away!) and enjoy a thousand of stars.

Overall, it was a great trip. Enjoy the pictures!!
PS. There are some videos worth to be seen... check them on the links below!!

video 1. Saltwater croc

video 2. Swimming at the Jim Jim falls

video 3. Crossing the Jim Jim creek