Wednesday, 19 December 2012

1,000 kms around Darwin

Wednesday 19th December

Hi Hi
We are still here, sweltering in Darwin. Since my last post, I've been doing a bit of knitting and painting and lots and lots of sweating!!!!

I knitted a little ball and decided to give it to Paul's mate Gillie for his little boy Jaxon.

Gillie sent a photo of Jaxon playing with the knitted ball I gave him……..sooooo cute!!!

We have just returned from a week of travelling around......hope you like it!!!!!!!!

Saturday 8th December

Since we have to make up 1000 kms for our next service and we want it done before everything closes down for $mas, we have decided to take a road trip for about a week. Besides, Paul’s mate, Tom and his girlfriend, Nadine are moving in on Monday before they go on leave till after $mas then she gets posted to Sydney and Tom will stay on.

Sunday 9th December

We are still packing and cleaning and getting ready for our road trip.

Monday 10th December

We had decided to do a leisurely pack up, and head off to the casino for lunch and then off to Darwin Hospital for Ron’s final appointment at the Eye Clinic.  We have had a standing reservation these last few weeks but finally, after scraping Ron’s eyes till they bleed and sending him off with steroid drops and other bits and pieces, he appears cured!!!

So, first step, get our gear and our food into Indie. Well, imagine our dismay (not to mention abject horror) to find that Mr Rattus (not a cute little mouse but, dirty big Mr Rattus) had already beaten us to the food cupboard!!!!! After much cleaning, scouring and purchasing of Ratsak, we finally set off.

We went to the casino, won about $15 (using their money), got the all clear on Ronnie’s eyes and drove on to Lee Point Village Resort. It was recommended by Gordon and Carol who we met at Camooweal. They must be much wealthier than    us - $50 per night!!!! (and it wasn’t that crash hot).

At about two in the morning, Ron felt the bus moving about…..(it does that when one of us gets up or moves about in bed a lot). He looked over and I was dead to the world so he got up, walked around outside to make sure no one was up to  mischief and finding nothing, figured he was dreaming. 

Later we learned that Darwin had been hit by a tremor measuring 7.5 on the Richter Scale…..I had slept on blissfully unaware!!!!

Tuesday 11th December

We headed off towards Dundee Beach south west of Darwin.

On the way we stopped at Berry Springs. Here we encountered Australia’s answer to the three wise monkeys……the three wise cockatoos. They are huge birds…… in the wild they seem much bigger and have really big wing span.

Berry Springs itself had signs up everywhere saying ‘closed for the wet season’ and warning about crocodiles and fast flowing currents. The water was the most beautiful turquoise colour and in spite of being nearly dead from heat and humidity, we obeyed the signs and drove on.
We arrived at Dundee Beach just on lunch time.
It was the most picturesque little spot for our lunch, right on the water’s edge.

After lunch we headed back towards the Stuart Highway and stopped at ‘Tumbling Waters Holiday Park’ at the back way into Litchfield national park.

It was a lovely spot and after establishing that they had a pool and it was only $28 per night we booked in for two nights.

We cranked up the air conditioning, went for a swim and veged out for the afternoon.

Later we had a bit of a storm but we haven’t seen any real rain storms yet fortunately. We seem to get lots of thunder and lightning, some wind and then it’s all over Red Rover.

Wednesday 12th December

We woke up early to discover water all over the floor near the sink. There was no ready explanation for this so we had breakfast and pondered it. When no viable reason sprang to mind, Ronnie donned his plumber’s hat and went in search of an answer. After much huffing and puffing and gnashing of teeth, he discovered that good old Mr Rattus had gnawed his way through some of the plastic tubing to the water heater. Ronnie fixed it all up and we were in business again.

Fortunately we have not seen or heard from Mr Rattus after setting off last Monday!!!!

 We decided to have a bit of a look around the park and came across a delightful little pond with lilies.

Of course right next to it was the sign warning of crocodiles, but they were only freshies so no worries!! 

Or were there?

 Ron was standing on the boardwalk and decided it would be a good idea to squirt the biggest croc with his water bottle.

The crock however, had a totally different view of proceedings and turned around, charged towards Ron and snapped and hissed loudly at him as well.

I did not know Ron cold jump so high or bolt so quickly although he insists he was only running to get help for me?????

The only one left smiling at it all was the croc!!!!!

Thursday13th December

We decided to drive up to Mandorah and catch the ferry across to Cullen Bay just for the boat ride.

After we left the caravan park, we had driven about10kms when we saw an Aboriginal man walking towards us carrying a Jerry Can. We stopped and he asked if we could spare a few litres of fuel and we said OK. We followed him back to his vehicle only to find out it was petrol not diesel.

Ron then offered to take his Jerry Can to the nearest servo and get some fuel for him. The man thanked him very much and said just $5 or $10 worth would be plenty to get him to the garage so he could fill up.

We drove off down the road and drove and drove and drove (probably about another 30kms). We got $10 worth for him and drove the 30 odd kilometres back again. I passed the jerry can to him and told him we had bought $10 worth for him.

He said ‘Thanks very much for that’ and started chatting about where we were going and the weather etc.  At no time was any mention made of him paying us the $10 for the fuel so Ron wished him Merry Xmas and we drove off.

We figured it was our good deed for the day and something good would happen in return. The DVD player packed it in that night so I guess not!!!!!  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We drove on to Mandorah in time to catch the 11.15 ferry across Darwin Harbour to Cullen Bay.

It was low tide so we had to trudge down all the steps to the very bottom of the ferry terminal. It was a bit scary because all the steps were open metal grid and I get really nervous when I can see through steps.

It cost us $14.50 each return but it was one of the few things we hadn’t done last time we were here.

Cullen Bay is one of those cute little restaurant precincts on the marina. Of course, like everything else in Darwin and its environs, it has closed down for the Wet Season. We found a single coffee shop that was open for lunch and had a lovely meal and then caught the ferry back.

We went for a drive around Wagait Beach which was quite pretty. The dunes around here and at Dundee Beach have these plants with lovely purple flowers (probably a noxious weed, but I liked them).

From there we drove down to Adelaide River and stayed at (144) Adelaide River Showground. It is run by the Adelaide River Show Society which lends itself to a rather unfortunate acronym.

They had a pool and only charged $24.00 per night so we were in like Flynn!!!!!

Luckily it was Thursday so the bar was opened as well. They also served dinner so we bought a Chicken schnitzel each.

When we walked over there, the ladies from the Show Society (all volunteers) were busy decorating for Santa’s arrival on Saturday.

We had a bit of a chat with one in particular, Patty Fawcett. She and hubby own a cattle transport company (we saw a few of their road trains further along in our trip). She was a real hoot and recommended a trip to Douglas Daly.

Friday 14th December

We spent the day swimming in the pool and chatting with another couple who were camped there and the caretakers, Gregory and his wife. The caretakers are volunteers as well and receive ten percent of the takings. I’m not sure how far our $4.80 would go towards their grocery bill!

Saturday 15th December

We decided to travel further south to the Douglas Daly region so we set off around ten o’clock.

The drive was quite pleasant, very lush and green and we get a nice breeze with Indie’s windows open. 

We arrived at ‘Douglas Daly Tourist Park’, bought a real coffee and were having a good chat with Kerry the owner. I asked if there was anywhere we could see the river because most of the side roads we had seen were dirt and the weather was looking a bit ominous. She said we could just drive down the back of the Park because it ran next to and right on the Douglas River. It was about 2.5 kms of dirt with a couple of rough dips but should be OK for the bus to get through.
Off we went and it was very beautiful. We did ground the bus in one part but it was only on the bull bar.

It started to rain. Well. Within just 5 to 10 minutes, the dirt had just turned completely to mud and Kerry had sent Chris, the handyman down on the quad bike to guide us out because they were really panicked that we would get bogged. We made it out but not without a few wild slips and slides.

We left there and decided to head off to ‘Hayes Creek Caravan Park’ further south on the Stuart Highway for the night.

It had a pool (by now a minimum prerequisite) and only cost $22.50 for seniors (usually $25). The lady in the office said my hair qualified me for the discount!!!!!

She told us we could walk through the bush (about 2kms return) to Butterfly Gap where there were hundreds of little black and white butterflies and that it was totally safe to swim in the creek as it was spring fed.

Off we went. It was of course by now, the hottest part of the day and we huffed and puffed and sweated our way through the bush only to find… butterflies!!!!!  Well that’s not totally true; there were about a dozen hanging off the wall high above us.

In spite of the fact that we had been given wrong info about the butterflies, we trusted that the creek was OK and leaped in with gay abandon. It was fabulous and so lovely and cool.

We wandered back to our air conditioned comfort and relaxed for the rest of the day.
 Not only was the view splendid but the neighbours (emphasis on neigh) were friendly too.

Sunday 16th December
We decided to head off towards Darwin and call in (about 150km round trip) and see the Daly River.

We drove in to the township of Daly River and did a quick drive around.
Then we headed down to the Daly River Crossing.


It was looking like more rain when we left but I decided to have a bit of a drive any way. I have only driven Indie once since we got him. Bad move Australia!!! It bucketed and before we knew it, there was water in just about every floodway.

It was a bit scary!!!!!!!

But we came through unscathed and continued on to Adelaide River and had a nice lunch near the river.

We continued on to Paul’s and arrived back having travelled just over our 1,000 kms.


  1. Gee, I see why they shut down for the wet season ... one little sprinkle and it's like Lake Superior!!

    Have a hippy happy birthday and fabulous Christmas. Looking forward to hearing about the birth of your grandson. :)

    XXXXXXX Chris

    ps. Did Ronny tell you thank you for the painting for me? It's totally cool with the glasses. Not sure where to mount it yet. :D

  2. Hi Hi
    Thank you for the good wishes for my birthday.....Ronnie is holding off buying a present just in case it turns out 'they' were right and the world does end on the 21st!!!!!