Since arriving in Australia in May last year, we solely went on weekend trips exploring the country. After nine months, however, we wanted to experience something different. So, we did what thousands of Australians do each year: visit Bali in Indonesia. But, we decided to make a stop in Darwin first, to see the beauty of the Northern Territory.
Kakadu National Park is located about three hours east of Darwin, and this National Park is big; about half the size of Switzerland. We decided to opt for an organized tour, as renting a car was too expensive due to rentals having limited kilometers, with 33¢ per additional kilometer over 200km. Also, after flying in late at night the day before, we opted to sleep on the bus for the first few hours on the way to the park.
The first stop in the park was the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre. The park has been home to Aboriginal people for over 50,000 years. Today, Aboriginal people own the land and still practice their culture. The Cultural Centre illustrates the story of the different generations who lived in the park.
Next up was a cruise on the Yellow River, one of many rivers in the park. February is wet season in the Northern Territory, which means a lot of (mostly afternoon) rain, and rivers who filled the floodplains. The Yellow River is home to crocodiles, yet unfortunately we didn’t spot any on the cruise, likely because they were to spread out.
The last stop of the day was at the Ubirr Art Site, where old (20,000 years) and new rock art illustrating Aboriginal life can be found. It was fascinating to see the newer rock art, as you wouldn’t expect rock art still to be used in this day and age. Seeing an ancient-looking illustration of a gun just throws you off a little bit.
After a short walk to the lookout point over the park, it was time for the long drive back. On the way back, we were greeted with a tropical rainstorm, but by the time we arrived back in Darwin the sky had cleared up, so we were ready to finish the day by exploring the city itself.
Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory, but it is a small city with just over 100,000 inhabitants. All the shops and restaurants are centered around Mitchell Street, with the Waterfront area on the eastern end. On the western side of town, Mindil Beach is a great place to watch the sunset.
We didn’t spend much time in the city, apart from getting supplies for during the day, and dinner at night. It is possible to try crocodile for dinner, and that’s exactly what we did. The crocodile schnitzel we ordered tasted quite good, like a mix between chicken and fish.
Our last day in Darwin we decided to visit Litchfield National Park, as our flight to Bali was not until midnight. Litchfield is a bit closer to Darwin than Kakadu, and you can reach two major highlights in a two-hour drive: Florence Falls & Buley Rockholes. Both are good for swimming, as no crocodiles live in the park.
In the wet season, Darwin experiences hot and humid weather, with the occasional rainstorm in between. Therefore, cooling down in the Florence Falls was a great way to spend our day. Tons of other tourists and locals thought the same, making it a busy but nice experience.
We went to see the Buley Rockholes when it started to rain. These series of waterfalls make it a little bit harder for swimming, so we decided to not go in the water again as we still felt great after dipping in the Florence Falls. Refreshed, we headed back towards Darwin and the airport for our next adventure: Indonesia.
We, Mark & Herta, are currently backpacking through Europe, and eventually planning to settle in London. Beyond that? The possibilities are endless.Read Mark & Herta’s full story.