So we finally got out of Darwin, even if it was only for 2 nights.
It was a much needed (and deserved) break from work, civilisation and all of the crappy news of the previous week.
We went on a 2 night, 3 day excursion to Kakadu National Park with Territory Experiences and what an experience it was! The sheer beauty of nature never fails to amaze me. Whether it’s the deadly rocky cliffs that hang over crystal clear plunge pools or a majestic salt-water crocodile gliding through the water in search of its next feed, Mother Nature leaves me in awe.
We left Darwin at 6.30am on Wednesday morning with our tour guide, Adam. He was your typical country Aussie bloke- a good laugh, easy to get along with and a huge passion for the great outdoors.
Our first stop was the Corroboree Billabong, technically a part of the Mary River but it’s own water way in it’s own right. We cautiously hopped onto a small river boat in the know that we were cruising over croc-infested waters.
It didn’t take us long to spot one- they’re fucking huge.
The last of the dinosaurs, fresh and salt water crocodiles inhabit a large area of the Northern Territory and Queensland waters. It’s known as croc country and there are warnings at every waterway/ hole telling you not to swim or you’ll be gobbled up by one of Steve Irwin’s mates. Obviously there are some waterholes that are monitored and crocodiles are kept away from to enable swimming but you still can’t help but think – ‘what if one slipped through the net?’
A ‘freshy’ in search of a feed. Corroboree Billabong.
We then made our way to Ubirr Aboriginal Art Site. Inhabited thousands of years ago by the indigenous people of Australia, the land and it’s rock faces have (literally) been painted red.
The Aboriginal people used to and still do use art as a means of communication and for spiritual purposes. If they were heading out spear fishing that day, they would paint a barramundi on the rock in hope that it will bring them luck and fortune.
Similarly, if they caught food that day, they would paint it to give thanks and show respect for their food. The people are very passionate about their land and they believe that they were solely put on the earth to protect the land, sea and it’s creatures. It really is very beautiful how they care so much for it. It’s a shame the rest of us don’t quite pay as much respect.
The paintings are used for story telling and to educate their people too. There are paintings of rifles, monkeys and none-indigenous people to name a few and these are to show others of their kind more about the outside world.
They use the rocks to paint, grinding the different coloured rocks and mixing them with animal blood/fat or water. Red is the most common colour in the paintings mainly because that’s what colour most of the rocks are, the red paint sticks around the longest too. Some of the paintings are thousands of years old.
It really was quite impressive, although I’ve got to admit, the indigenous people are no Vincent Van Gogh.
We then climbed up to the top of a rocky hill to see the magnificent view over Arnem Land- Land protected and rightfully owned by the Aboriginal people of Australia.
We found camp, had dinner and got an early night ready for an early rise to explore Jim Jim Falls. Due to it being the dry season here at the moment the waterfall wasn’t at full force. There was still some water falling but not a substantial amount. The water was freezing and as it was only around 18/19• (yes that’s cold I’m my eyes). I didn’t spend too much time in the water, just enough so say I’d done it. It was extremely pretty and once the sun came out I enjoyed a little bask in the sun on the beach (yes, a beach in the middle of nowhere by a waterfall!)
Again it was dinner and early to bed ready for our final day of the trip.
Barramundi Gorge was bloody stunning. At the top there was plunge pools of luke warm water where you could jump into one, swim under and into another. As the sun hasn’t quite hit our swimming spot however it was difficult to find the secret entrances underwater. So we gave that one a miss. Down at the bottom there was a large pool, again lovely and warm (as far as swimming is concerned anyway) with another waterfall towards the back of the pool. We spent our morning here jumping in off rocks and generally just feeling lucky to be alive. Swimming pools are all fine and well but you can’t quite beat swimming in the ones that Mother Nature herself created. We began our reasonably long journey back to Darwin, stopping off for some lunch on the way. After a third day of sandwiches, I’ll not be in any rush to buy any bread. That’s the only thing about going bush, you’re pretty limited with cool box space, preparation space and also pleasing everyone, so I guess sandwiches are a safe bet.
On our way into Darwin it was comforting to see everyone sat out in the bars and restaurants and it made us feel very at home. So naturally we went out with our tour group (who quite frankly didn’t know what hit them when Kerry, Ludo and I started dancing) and got white girl wasted. Who cares that we were on breakfast the next morning?!
Darwin- We missed you.