Start: Darwin - Finish: Manbulloo | Distance: 441km approx. |
Shrek and Donkey on another whirlwind adventure (I'll let you decide who's who)! It's time to leave the sweaty streets of Darwin and begin our mammoth trek to Perth.
Picking up the van took a little longer than expected. First you get shown around the van - it's an automatic not a manual, yay! - then it's inside to do the boring stuff like insurance, adding an extra driver, etc. To give you a rough idea of additional costs, it cost us $3 per day to add an additional driver, windscreen cover was $250 (and is a must!), and then we added on some extra insurance too.
About an hour (and two slices of pizza) later, we were given the keys and went on our merry way.
And so it began . . .
Stop #1: the magnetic termite mounds, Litchfield National Park.
Who knew termite mounds were magnetic? Not me. Who also didn't know exactly what a termite was? Me. From my thorough scientific research (aka looking at the ground) termites are just big ants. As for the mounds being magnetic, allow me to explain . . .
Magnetic termite mounds - or to give them their posh name: Amitermes Meridionalis - are called 'magnetic' because their main axis runs from north to south. This allows the mounds to keep cool during the summer months and to protect its inhabitants from other extreme weather conditions on this crazy island. Still not sure what this has to do with magnets, though. Speaking of inhabitants, each mound can house up to a million termites - and I thought some hostels were crowded . . .
Enough about termite mounds! It's my turn to take the wheel! Considering I'd never driven anything bigger than a Renault Clio before and the fact that I hadn't actually driven anything in quite a while, I did surprisingly well. Eight days, a few potholes, and almost an emu later, we're both still alive!
Before leaving the park we made a brief stop at Florence Falls. Sounding a bit like an indie band, Florence Falls is a waterfall not far from the termite mounds. You can swim in the pool, hike around it, or (if you're pressed for time like us) just look at it from the viewpoint. Ooh ahh how spectacular!
Had time permitted, I could've spent a good few days roaming around Litchfield National Park. If you've got more than a few hours, I'll list a couple more things to do at the end!
From Litchfield it was straight down to Katherine. This leg of the journey seemed to take significantly longer than Google Maps said it would and we very nearly almost whoopsie ran out of petrol 😟 Note to future drivers: fill up in Batchelor or endure a very nerve-wracking 236km drive through the outback. That could've been very embarrassing, couldn't it?
Ahh Katherine, my first experience of outback living! After a quick trip to Woolies (Tim Tams are a must for any road trip!), it was off to Katherine's Hot Springs for what we thought might be our only wash of the day 😉 I'm happy to confirm that the springs are hot - it's like stepping in to a warm bath - and there's only a faint smell of sulphur. Also we did have a proper shower later that night. I do have some photos but I've conveniently left my micro-SD card reader at home, so if you could all please talk quietly amongst yourselves, I'll upload them once home!
Remember I said that part of the drive took us longer than expected? Google told us 3 hours, it took us more like 6. Yeah, I don't know what happened either. Alien abduction maybe?
Anyway, this meant that our plan of getting further than Katherine didn't really happen. The closest yet furthest we could get to was a little place called Manbulloo, and here we spent Night #1.
It's a bit tricky to get to: a blink-and-you'll-miss-it turnoff (like we did) but it is a really nice spot. Plus it's got hot showers, clean toilets, and a really sweet owner. For an unpowered site for two adults it's a mere $25 per night - perhaps not the cheapest but it was our first night and Sammy had scared us into only staying in legit campsites.
Pretty sure I fell asleep straight away . . .
Anywho, Day Two brings us into the magical land of WA! Yippee! Until Wednesday xo
More in Litchfield National Park:
- Tjaetaba Falls
- The Lost City
- Buley Rockhole
- Wangi Falls
- Tolmer Falls