Australia

Day 1 of Leg 3: Darwin to Litchfield National Park

— 20 Aug 2012 —

Another day, another tour. I was getting to the point where I felt a bit like a tour whore. Every few days, I would have a new tour guide. This one named Debdum. I felt dirty. Cheating on the last tour guide. That said, there were familiar faces from the last tour and it just felt like another day.

The Journey

Point A: Darwin
Point B: Litchfield National Park
Distance: 90 km

We headed out of Darwin and the weather wasn’t looking too good. The sun was just peeping out but the mist was heavy, in amongst the trees. I wasn’t too confident about the weather but Debdum was droning on and on about himself (Kiwi-turned-Aussie), why he was in the tourism industry (loves the freedom with being on the road) and the activities for the day (termite mounds, rock pools, cruise and tavern), that I forgot about the mist.

An hour later. The sun was out and the sky was as blue and clear. No more mist.

Our first stop, termite mounds. I wasn’t really excited about seeing these because I had already seen them on the roadside with Keith, but looking back at the photos, I think I was secretly excited. Why else would I have such a big grin on my face right? (Note, I’m approximately 165 cm tall, so you can see massive these cathedral mounds get!!!).

On the other side, there were magnetic termite mounds scattered everywhere. I thought they were tombstones at first (which was weird because why would there be a cemetery in the national park?), but quickly realised they were magnetic termite mounds.

Magnetic termite mounds run north to south, to take advantage of heat from the direction of the sun rays on the greatest surface area of the mound. The termites like a constant warm temperature and will move from one side to another as the sun moves. If you’re still interested in reading about these suckers, read more here.

There was about 3 hours till lunch and Debdum allowed us to have some free time in the park. There were easy hiking trails which would talk us to the waterfalls and the rock pools. Since we had so much time to ourselves, we did them all!

We trekked on the man-built pathways through the lush green trees, through the fresh flowing water. I couldn’t believe how green the place was.

After a well-deserved soak and sunbathing session (hiking is hard work!), and snaggers for lunch, it was off for a cruise on the Corroboree Billabong.

A billabong is an Australian word which means a small lake. It is a body of water that used to be joined to a river, but no longer is. The word is more well-known in the famous folk song “Waltzing Matilda”, which takes place beside a billabong.

Despite the stunning landscape and crocodiles (I finally saw crocodiles in the territory!!), I couldn’t help comparing this cruise with the one I took in the Chobe. I told myself you can’t go comparing the two trips, you’re on different continents for one, and you’re with an entirely different group of people. I even got bored at one stage. I felt guilty but I couldn’t help it. Toni also started getting bored and tired of the birds so we worked on our tan (folded down the straps of our tops so not to get weird ass tan marks). We definitely made good use of the remaining time on the cruise.

Having absorbed all that we could about the birds and their breeding pattern (not as interesting as I thought), we headed off to camp just in time to watch the sunset and the water glistening as the last of the light went down.

Accompanied by a couple of cold ones of course!

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