We’re currently in Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory, and there’s not much to it. It just seems like a small, run-down city to me. Darwin is probably most well known for being bombed by the Japanese in 1942. We’ve seen many war memorials and plaques, but it’s so hot here, we’ve spent most of our days in the shade or air conditioning. The real sights in this area are outside of town.
We rented a car and drove out to Litchfield National Park, which was pretty cool. It’s not quite in the Outback, so there are still many trees and plants, but the dirt is red. First we saw giant termite mounds. I know it sounds gross, but it was actually really interesting. There are two different types of termite mounds: Magnetic Termite Mounds, which are oriented north-south to protect them from the floods and heat, and Cathedral Termite Mounds, which are really incredible feats of architecture if you think about it. We figured out that if termites were the size of people, the Cathedral Termite Mounds would be five times taller than the tallest building in the world. Incredible.
After that we took a break from the heat and went swimming under the waterfalls in Florence Falls. This was all fine and dandy until something bit my foot. Twice. I had to get out of the water, even though Brad was making fun of me for scuba diving with thousands of fish, but freaking out in a shallow pool with a handful of fish. (For the record, hanging out and observing fish in crystal clear water is very different than being attacked by an unknown assailant in cloudy water.)
We spent the night in the Litchfield Safari Camp. They had a carpeted tent for us to stay in. It’s the beginning of rainy season here, so it stormed for a while in the afternoon. After the storm, we grilled up sausages and watched wallabies hop around in the nice, cool weather.
The next day, when we were driving out of the park, we witnessed a sad scene. Brad was driving the speed limit on a two lane highway when all the sudden one of these huge, 4×4 Outback trucks comes roaring around to pass us. Right after the truck passes us, we see a wallaby hop out in the road. Now these trucks, besides resembling mini-monster trucks, all have steel grill bars, mainly to protect them from kangaroos. So the truck smacks into the wallaby and it falls right in front of us. Brad had to slam on the brakes and swerve away to avoid hitting the poor thing. There wasn’t anything we could do, but I still felt bad that the poor wallaby died just because some jerk was in a hurry to get to some small town in the middle of nowhere.
Later that day, we went on the Jumping Crocodile Cruise in the Adelaide River, where they feed saltwater crocodiles from a boat. We were both surprised by the lack of safety regulations. Some of these crocodiles were massive, about five meters long, and there were no rules like “stay seated at all times.” With everyone going from one side of the boat to the other, I kept thinking about what would happen if we capsized. Obviously that didn’t happen and we enjoyed watching the crocs leap up out of the water and eat pork chops off a pole.
Anyway, our time here in Australia is almost over. It’s been great, but we’re very excited for the next leg of our trip, Indonesia!