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Tuesday, July 5th 2005

09:11:44 PM

DARWIN!!

Fr. 08/07/2005

Today I went to Litchfield National Park with Linda, Esther & Hatty. Of course the weather was great again (around 35 degrees) and after wathcing the impressive termite mounds we couldn't wait to have a swim. So we drove to the Buley Rockholes, they were about 5 naturally built and connected swimming pools, that was nice.

After that we went for a walk and arrived at the Florence Falls look-out, which was very beautiful, but I couldn't wait to get downt there and swim. when we did arrive down there it turned out that you could actually jump off the falls, quite an adventure of course. The waterfall was about 15 metres high, and the rocks to get up there were pretty slippery. But I saw some other guys do it and felt ilke trying it too. I convinced Linda to come with me, and we collected all our courage and started climbing. Beneath us everyone was watching us climbing, and encouraging us, some even took pictures! Finally on the waterfall it was a pretty weird sensation, my knees were still shaking from climbing up the steep and slippery rocks, and under me I could see a lot of tiny people. There was no way back because going down the slippery rocks would have been to dangerous, so I just did it! That was soooo much fun! It was an amazing experience.

After that adrenaline kick, we walked back to the car through Shady creek, which was actually pretty shady, quite a relief after being in the hot sun all day long. Than on to our last stop, the Wangi Falls. they were actually 2 waterfalls with quite a large plunge pool and natural (even warm) jaccuzi, not bad! Feeling totally refreshed we drove back to Darwin.

Thu. 07/07/2005

So, today I went on a scooter tour around Darwin with Michael. That was so much fun, cruising around the area. We first drove to Lake Alexander, a beautiful man-made lake, work up our tan a little! Then off to the museum to see "Sweetheart" -  a 5 metres (!!) long crocodile that was caught back in the 70s, quite impressive. You must think Australia is all crocs by now after my last few stories.. The museum was pretty interesting, I especially liked the aboriginal art.

After that we had lunch at Cullen Bay, which is a nice little marina town. After that off to the beach further east (don't remember it's name) and then back to Darwin, where we had a dive in the swimming pool at Michaels hostel (Melaleucas, really great hostel!), played some volleyball and after that quickly got changed for the "sunset markets".

The sunset markets are every thursday on Mindil beach in Darwin and aer quite a happening. We came just in time for suinset at 6pm and there were actually about 200 people at the beach watching the sun go down, pretty cool. After sunset we strolled through the market where they had lots of good food, nice australian paintings, jewellery, etc, and especially a great atmosphere...

Over there we met Linda (from the Kakadu tour) and she said that she still needed people to join her to go to Litchfield (national park) tomorrow. I said I could ocme, so I'll be going there with her tomorow, looking forward to that.

Anyways, c yaz soon. and please don't worry about me and Renee travelling alone. It is really safe here travelling as a backpacker.

Hugs Nicky

Wed. 06/07/2005 - Darwin

This morning I was supposed to meet Michal (a guy from Perth - Western Australia) to hire a scooter, but I woke up too late.. ahum. So we'll do that tomorrow and today I decided to just have a quiet day by the beach. Unfortunately you can't really swim on the beach (due to stingers, sharks and currents) so I asked at the reception if there was a lake somewhere or so. She said there was a resort close to the hostel where people staying at this hostel can use the pool facilities for free. Not bad, so I went there to check it out and it turned out to be quite a fancy 4 star resort... Nice surprise! Spent the rest of the day there, that was really nice and relaxing after the tour.

Tue. 05/07/2005 - Kakadu National Park

Our last day at Kakadu... We drove to Barramundi Gorge, where we also had a walk and went swimming. There were some great rocks to jump off and one hole under the rocks, about 2 metres deep under which you could diev and end up in a jacuzzi like pool (surrounded by 2 metre high rocks, so no way out except diving), furthermore you could walk around the rocks and there were pretty steep and exciting parts. That was an action-packed afternoon. After a nice lunch we drove back to Darwin with one last stop at an aboriginal art gallery where they sold paintings, didgeridoos, etc...

Back at Darwin we decided to have dinner and go out together and met at the Vic hotel an hour later. That was loads of fun!! There were games and a table-dancing competion, which we won twice... It was the best night out I've had in a some time! It was kind of sad though having to say good-bye to everyone afterwards, if you travel together for 3 days day and night, you develop quite a bond. That's the only part I don't like about travelling - the good-byes...

Mo. 04/07/2005 - Kakadu National Park

Woke up totally refreshed the next morning, turned out that the reason I had been feeling so tired and had a headache the day before was because I'd probably had a sunstrike while cycling in Darwin on Saturday (so after wearing a hat the next days I was fine again...). Shows how strong the sun is here...

After breakfast we drove to the infamous Jim Jim Falls. Well, we didn't exactly drive there, we drove to the Jim Jim camping site, which is about 2 hours walking from the falls. It was quite an exciting walk, a lot of climbing on rocks and of course about 35 degrees. We first climbed to the look-out where we took a group picture  and went swimming. I was thew first to dive in (after Matt of course) and I've got a really funny picture of it, you just see my feet disappear in the water, I love it! And then finally arrived at the falls. It had definetely been worth the effort! The scenery was beautiful, you basically have a plunge pool surrounded by walls 50m (at least) high rocks. Unfortunately the waterfall itself was dry, but swimming in the pool was great!

After the Jim Jims we went on to the Twin falls. The walk there was less exhausting. We first went a small part by boat, watching the sea turtles, fish (and even one freshie) in the clear river on  the way. The Twin Falls weren't dry fortunately and were really beautiful, you can see it on the pictures. There are really to waterfalls running down nest to eachother. At the twin falls we could lie down on the beach and relax in the sun for a little while. Then it was the same thuing as the day before, collecting wood, having dinner and chilling at the fire. That night the stars were amazing, so a few of us went to our neighbour (a local living in a campervan) to ask if we could borrow his telescope. He let us, and we watched the stars for quite a while.

Su. 03/07/2005 - Kakadu National Park

Got picked up by the bus at 6am and was soooo tired.... Slept all the way in the bus and only woke up for the 2 stops in between; The Mary River Wetlands (where we went crocodile spotting) and at Ubirr (a site where you can watch aboriginal rockpainting, kind of an open-air art gallery). The boat tour was pretty exciting, we saw 3 freshies (Fresh-water crocs) and some birds and learned a bit about the vegetation. It was also the first opportunity to get to know eachother. We were 13 people: Simon, Dan (Britain), Sarah (Sweden), Esther, Linda, Jeroen (Holland), Keiko (Japan), Giovanna (Italy), Jeremy, Marlain (France), Chevonne & her father Jake (Melbourne). And of course there was Matt, the tour-guide, really funny! After Ubirr we drove to our camping site (after collecting wood for the fire) and prepared for the night. We had (a great!) dinner and after hanging out at the campfire a little bit we went to sleep in....swags!! My first time in a swag (it is like a big sleeping bag out of tent material), you basically sleep under the stars, it was amazing...

Sa. 02/07/2005

Darwin, here I am!

Arrived here late last night on friday, about 3 hours later than expected, pretty lucky I could still enter the backpackers...

Next morning I got up early and felt like exploring Darwin so I thought the best thing would be to hire a bike, that way I'd be able to enter almost all roads and I'd get some exercise too... It was great! I cycled about 6 hours in total and went quite far. Took a look at the botanic gardens, had a break on Mindil beach, and ended up on a beautiful track along the coast up to Fannie Bay. There I met a local who filled up my waterbottle and after a chat I headed back to Darwin.

In the evening I had a drink with my roommates and than went to bed as next day I'd go to Kakadu National Park (at 6am..)

Anyways, that's it for now c yaz soon!

Nicky

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