Leaving Darwin for Kakadu

We’ve had a quick look at the job opportunities in Darwin and nothing has tweaked our interest. There’s a few jobs similar to those we left behind, but we’d both rather be doing something new, and preferably only of a seasonal length.

We’ve been in Darwin for long enough now to have had a good look around, and we’ve enjoyed what we’ve seen. It’s an expensive place though, and even though it’s a small city, it’s still a city, and cities aren’t really where we want to be. So, tomorrow we’re moving on to have a look at Kadadu, then on to Mataranka. From there, who knows where the wind or whims will take us. Probably on to Northern Qld, if nothing else takes our fancy. What a good feeling that is – nothing written in concrete, just where ever we choose on the day…..

We’ve had such a good time catching up with Kelv. He’s been showing us around, and in turn, we’ve also been dragging him off to places he hadn’t seen. He’s been patiently (but I suspect reluctantly sometimes) tolerating our tourism choices, but at the same time he’s also enjoying seeing some things he wouldn’t normally be choosing to look at.

On our way back from Litchfield National Park one day we called at the Mango Farm where he’d been working for a bit of photo shoot for his resume. He looks very much at home driving a tractor. Suspect he’s found his niche in life in farm work. It was interesting while there to look around the farm too, and get an idea of how seasonal pickers live and work on a Mango farm.

Vistiting Kelv's mango farm
Vistiting Kelv’s mango farm

On one of days in Darwin we visited Burnett House, an old Queenslander type, national trust house on the water front at Myilly Point. It’s an amazing piece of architectural design so suited to the tropics, and it survived both the bombing in world war two, and Cyclone Tracy in 1974. Both didn’t leave it completely unscathed, but nothing that couldn’t be repaired whilst keeping it’s original design in tact. It’s one of those houses that makes you realise how far removed we’re now living from sensible and sustainable environmental living. If ever you come to Darwin, please put this house on your list of ‘must do things’. It’s inspiring.

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Northern Territory wonders

We’ve been having a wonderful time since we arrived in Darwin last week, and with the help of our tour guide, Kelvin, are now finding our way around quite easily.

Darwin is small city with a population of around 130,000, but that’s without the tourists. At this time of year that number must rise dramatically.

We’ve been to, and swam in some wonderful swimming holes, some in Litchfield National park, and at Berry Springs. They’re pleasantly warm and so beautiful. One of the swimming holes in Litchfield had several water falls, and we managed to find a spot under one of them with a good seat and foothold. The pounding water from the water fall gave us the best massage ever.

Darwin has lots of local markets, and we’ve been to the Mindil markets twice, and Parap markets. They’re both really good markets, but the Thursday night Mindil markets are particularly special. They have an amazing array of food stalls featuring food from all over the world, and it’s good food too. We bought our dinner and wandered down to the beach with it to watch the sunset – along with about half the population of Darwin. I’m not kidding. We’re going to take a photo of all the people next Thursday and will post it. I’ve never seen so many people on a beach at one time. Apparently sunsets are a rare sight for the Eastern state visitors….

We’ve been to two museums, which gave us a good insight into this small cities tragic past. Firstly it was bombed to bits by the Japanese in 1942, and we hadn’t known to what extent until going to the museum. Then, less than 35 years later it was almost annialated by cyclone Tracy. Now it’s a lovely, new and small cosmopolitan city that’s so easy to find your way around. The locals hate peak hour. To us peak hour in Darwin city centre on a week night is like any suburb in Perth in the middle of a week day. We could even do a U-turn at 5.30pm on a week night on a main centre city street. Amazing..

So, we’re loving the top end. The weather is amazing, around 14 over night, and around 30 in the day. Low humidity and soft breezes, and consistent day after day. Also, of course we’re loving having Kelvin with us to show us around. He loves this place and his pride in it shows. Must say, so far I can understand his love.

It’s not all good though, it’s super, super expensive. Caravan parks are around $350 a week, which is very pricey for Grey Nomads. National parks and museums though are free.

We’re starting to peruse both the job market here now, and the house sitting opportunities. We’ve noticed the house sitting opportunities in North Queensland are abundant, but here they’re a bit scarce. In another week we should have an idea if we’ll be staying here for a while, or travelling on. For now though we still have a lot to see here, so we anticipate a minimum two weeks more if job or house sitting doesn’t turn up anything appealing.

Now in Darwin

Stunning Katherine Gorge
Stunning Katherine Gorge

We stopped at Katherine for three nights. Katherine is virtually a junction town that, wherever you’re coming from in Australia to the NT, you have to come through Katherine. With Katherine Gorge being one of the counties most famous and beautiful gorges, it’s a place that justifies a stopover of a few days.

We stayed three days for a look around, and to see the gorge. Breathtaking!!! We can’t wait to see it at the end of the wet. Katherine itself has a pleasant enough feel to it, but I believe in the wet it’s harder going than Darwin. At this time of year it’s a busy, busy little place with hundreds of tourists (or terrorists as the locals call us) either arriving or passing through each day. At least a dozen cars with caravans are parked at the tourist information centre at any time of day.

We’re in Darwin now and are staying at Lee point caravan park. Kelv is between jobs so is no longer on the farm in Humpty Doo. He has a friend that stays in this park, so here he is and here we came, despite some of the worst WIKI camp reviews. We’re finding the park okay though, but at more than $300 a week, it’s expensive, but no more so than other parks around Darwin. We have our own ensuite and laundry here which will be great if we end up here long term, and we suspect we will.

We’ve been here three nights so far. Kelv is showing the place off to us and doing a wonderful job. He should get a job as a tour guide! His enthusiasm for the territory is catching and so far we’re loving it. Time to get today started though at the moment, but when I get time I’ll write about what we’ve seen so far in this small, new and very clean city.