From Northern Queensland and the rainforest we flew to Darwin. Here it was hot. Really hot. Like 40°C! And since we were there early October it was not even summer yet! I have tried to figure out how to describe the heat. And one day it hit me – it felt like you have just taken a hot shower, then turned the hairdryer on warm and blowing it right into your face…! I cannot even begin to imagine how it must feel in the summertime when it’s also humid.
… but while it sounds unbearable, it was actually ok. We managed to do everything we wanted, but tried to keep the kids as much out of the sun as possible. The worst part was actually getting back into the car after leaving it to go explore sights. It was boiling when we came back!
On our first few nights we stayed in a transformed container. The air-conditioning had not been on before we arrived, so you might imagine how hot everything was?! The bed, the table, the floor. Everything was beaming with heat. But after a while we were finally able to enter our little cozy ‘home’.
This was our starting point for visiting Litchfield National Park. We stayed outside a small town called Batchelor. Batchelor was a fun and quirky place to experience. There was a small grocery-clothing-merchandise store and a pub (that’s it!!). We had dinner in the pub every night we were there. It was a place with a mix of tourists (since this was the only place to eat) and locals. The pub also doubled as a gaming hall and bottle shop. It was a great place for people watching and for meeting friendly locals.
We chose to go to Litchfield National Park – and not Kakadu – due to its fairly small size and accessibility of sights. Of course there were hiking trails for all types of people, but for us and the kids it was easy to drive to the sights and do short hikes to waterfalls and giant termite mounds. And due to the heat we probably would not have hiked much anyway… 🙂
In Litchfield – at the time of year we were there – it was possible to swim in the pools at some waterfalls. However, there were warnings all over to look for the freshwater crocodiles who lives there. So swimming did just not sound that attractive. For us! There were plenty of people swimming with the crocodiles. I have to say I then thought of swimming, but the other day I read about freshwater crocodiles in Litchfield biting swimmers. Back to being happy about not jumping in!
After Litchfield we drove the 200 km down to Katherine. This was definitely the highlight of this part of the trip. First of all it was a nice drive there, and thinking about the fact that the Stuart Highway goes all the way down the center of Australia through Alice Springs to the coast on the southern end was pretty cool. We could have just continued for about 3000 km and would have hit the sea many, many driving hours later. But for this trip we stopped in Katherine, and we now have a great roadtrip for another time 🙂
Katherine was a reasonable size town with several grocery stores, restaurants and hotels. It is still a one-road town, but it was a nice stop for us. They even had a toy store for Carla and Gustav! So we stocked up on a few new toys and some nice coffee and salads in town. The main attraction here tough was people watching. Watching life going on in the street where a lot of aboriginals had their daily going was very interesting.
But the real reason we came to Katherine was to visit the gorge. And this was well worth the drive down there! We took a cruise on the river in the gorge and it was beautiful. We didn’t know that the trip included a short hike between two gorges, so we were happy that we did the 7 o’clock trip since the heat weren’t so unbearable that early.
Oh yeah, and if you read my post on Northern Queensland, I said that I had never seen so many bats before – that was before coming to Katherine Gorge. Here they had an influx of bats like they had not had for many years. Luckily, this time we didn’t have to think about their poo and it hitting us from the trees above like we did in Daintree 🙂
Our last day in Australia (this time around!) was spent in Darwin. We walked a bit in the downtown area, and then spent the afternoon in an indoor playground where Carla had a lot of fun. Our next, and last real stop before heading home is Bali. For a few weeks we had been in doubt whether or not we would actually make it to Bali since the volcano Mt. Agung has been on the verge of erupting. So it was with a bit of adventure and anticipation that we took the plane to Bali.