Friday, August 26, 2005

Kakadu Unleashed Day 1

After a nice relaxing walk through the Mindil Markets, which Darwin is famous for, I packed all my stuff and went to bed. I woke up at 5am and met up with Lee who was on the same tour as myself. In front of the Cavenaugh appeared this medium sized 4WD car where we loaded our bags in to the back and then jumped on board. Our tour guide was an Aussie sheila named Clancy. Right off the bat, she seemed really cool and laid back. Meanwhile, Greg, the bus driver from the Desert Venturer (my last trip) was picking up people to head back to Cairns, so Lee and I were happy to say goodbye to him one last time.

Our first stop was the Adventure Tours office where I had to pay a 75$ meal kitty. At the office I got to see Luke, another tour guide whom I had as my guide when I travelled from Melbourne to Sydney way back in April. He totally remembered who I was and even asked if I still had that giant blue hat I wore back then!

Finally we were off to Kakadu national park where we stopped quickly at a truck stop and then headed to the Mary River. On the way we stopped to gather some firewood. While we were doing this, however, someone came by and informed clancy that the boat driver for our boat tour on the Mary River got into a serious accident and no details were known but except that he was in critical condition. Since our boat trip was cancelled, we had to move thigs around and just try a whole bunch of stuff. The itinerary was really flexible so Clancy brought us to a bunch of stuff she hadn't seen in a while.

We got to the entrance of Kakadu and took some photos. The park itself is 200 square kilometers which is apperently the same size as Switzerland!

For lunch, we drove down to East Alligator river and ate pita and cold meats. The river is totally misnamed since there are NO alligators in Australia, only crocodiles which I didn't get to see but i got to see a few Flying Fox bats in the trees.

Following lunch we reached Ubirr where we walked around and saw several rocks with Aboriginal art. We then headed up a small hill to Nadab lookout where I was able to see all of Kakadu. In one direction was a lake in the other trees, and in another just grass plains. The whole park was very diverse.

We passed through Jabiru to another spot to view even more Aboriginal art and then went accross to Anabangbang ("And he shot me down... Ana bang bang") Billabong.

The day closed down with a very rugged drive to Jim Jim Jumpup for a BBQ dinner which we cooked straight from our campfire.

By now I got to meet the rest of the group which consisted of Lee, 2 german sisters who I met on the same tour as Lee, Dirk and Fulker also from Germany, a Japanese girl, a British couple who were friends with Angus from my last trip, 3 pure bred Aussie blokes and Felice and Joe Kurtzman, an older jewish married couple (probably late 40 or early 50s) from LA.

After dinner, chilled at the campfire and played some guitar. I even had a few shots of tequilla with the Aussies who were really dwelving into our supply of beer.

Finally caled it a night and slept outside under the stars in swag (a canvas bag which you put your sleeping back inside).

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