On the southern shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria is the very small township of Karumba and right on the towns west facing beach is a pub called 'Sunset Tavern'. We sat there on a bench, ice cold beers in our hands, overlooking the very still ocean, watching the sunset. As the sun disappeared below the horizon the colours were so vibrant, reds, oranges and deep pink spread out across the big sky. What a romantic moment I can hear you all say........not with my hubby!
We had a couple of days in Karumba and while taking it easy, sitting in the afternoon breeze under the shady branches of a deciduous tree a couple of Willy Wagtails hopped from branch to branch singing their pretty song as a Magpie Lark was busily building her nest. High in the tree sat two Kites, their beady eyes searching the ground for their next meal while circling overhead were Black Kites gliding slowly in the warm currents along with Whistling Kites whose high shrill whistle punctures the warm air, all continually on the look out for prey.
Paul and I are amazed at the number of Kites we have seen in northern Australia, we have seen dozens every day. They especially love 'road kill' left by the 'Road Trains', trucks over 53 metres long that pound up and down these outback highways, hauling goods right across the country.
For 8 days we drove, covering over 2,500 kilometres and the scenery hardly changed. There were very few bends along the road, no turns and not much traffic, just straight roads hour after hour, looking at scrubby bush of stunted trees and dried undergrowth. And for most of the drive we had no radio signal and Paul needs music when he's driving and that is when we found our dashboard has no USB port!! We rummaged around and found three CD's in the van, one by Catherine Jenkins, Paul's favourite Welsh singer, the second was by a very young Celine Dion, all sung in French and the third CD was a double album of poetry by the British poet Pam Ayers. Oh the perils of travelling outback Australia!!
I must say one of the delights of being this far out from the city lights is the night sky. With no clouds or electric lights to mask the view the vast inky blackness is ablaze with lights. Thousands, no millions of stars and planets of the Milky Way shine and twinkle as they work their way across the heavens. Surely we can't be the only planet with life in this vast universe?
After all the stresses of the drive we arrived in Darwin and headed for the famous night market held on Mindil Beach. We had a bite to eat while watching the crowds milling around the stalls trying to decide what trinket they would buy as a memento of their time in the Northern Territory. Then we turned our attention to a Naval band visiting from a very cold and wet Melbourne that started marching along the beach, playing some lively tunes, just as the sun was starting to set.
Our dream was to see a crocodile in the wild but we had had no luck so off to a Crocodile Zoo we went. We watched the big daddy crocs, over 5m long, being fed, their great jaws snapping at the meat and pulling at it with their razor shape teeth. One big croc was getting a little amorous but his lady friend was not having a bar of it, lots of writhing water and snapping of jaws and the daddy croc retreated! I also got to handle a baby crocodile. Even at a year old they can give you a nasty nip so his mouth was taped shut. He was very cool and smooth to touch but you had to hold him quite firmly as they will wriggle and try to escape. Paul also got to pat a Dingo that was being taken for a walk around the park and he thoroughly enjoyed the Crocodile Museum that taught all things Croc. We had a fantastic time.
After such a hard day we drove into Litchfield National Park and camped by Wangi Falls. We found a waterhole of cool, fresh water and on the far side of the waterhole the rocky escarpment rose high in hues of reds and browns and from the top tumbled a glorious waterfall, plunging down into the calm waters far below. It was too tempting not to go for a dip. It was glorious, so cool and the water so soft. I stayed near the edge where I could see the bottom as there could have been freshwater crocodiles lurking in the deeper parts (they won't hurt you if left alone, so they say!). I stayed floating, enjoying the coolness until I had gone pruney. The next morning I was back for another dip before we hit the road, oh bliss!!
The wet season is approaching and its warming up so summer must be on its way. Its already too hot for us (40 deg c at 9am!) so we are now leaving the Northern Territory and heading for Western Australia.
Hope all is well.
Please write with your news.
Liz and Paul x