After leaving Litchfield Park after 3 lovely days we headed off to the big smoke - Darwin. We stayed in a great little caravan park called Hidden Valley. We can thoroughly recommend it to anyone heading up this way.
Our first day was spent wandering the city of Darwin - it is a growing city with lots of energy. Very reminiscent of Cairns. Like Cairns it has a lagoon situation with its own beach and wave maker - very popular. There are lots of cafes and trendy restaurants to eat at. We visited most of the heritage places and wandered around the Parliament and Supreme Courthouse. We also managed a tour through the WW11 Oil Storage Tanks which run under the city. There are about 10 of them, it was a monumental effort to get them built, then they were never used as they would have been a sitting target for the enemy.
We paid a visit to the Territory Wildlife Park and wandered through their monsoon forest, rainforests etc, and visited the aquarium. Then it was onwards to Crocodyllus Park where we had the croc experience. The largest croc there is 15ft 11ins - huge. The park actually breeds crocs so they have lots of holding pens that contain lots of crocs. One huge pen must have had several hundred crocs of about 2M in size. Totally awesome.
From Darwin we then moved on to Kakadu. We stopped off at the Fogg Dam along the way then took the dirt road option to Cooinda instead of driving the black stuff via Jabiru. It may have taken a little longer but with a couple of creek crossings it was infinitely far more interesting.
We are currently staying at Gagudju, Cooinda and again, this is a top spot to be staying, large sites, good amenities plus a bar and restaurant. We have tried the bar but not the restaurant.
For our first full day we visited Jim Jim Falls, which are at the end of about 55km of corrugations that would give anyone nightmares. They were so bad that our skin actually started to tingle from the shockwaves going through our bodies.
The walk into Jim Jim Falls started out as a pleasant stoll - afterall it was only going to be about 1km. Them we entered the river bed, the river stones became boulders and the boulders became something akin to Uluru in size. These we had to climb over, around or under. It took us about 1 hour to clamber the 1km!! Its a great thought knowing it will take an hour to get back. Anyway, the falls are spectacular, they are twin falls that plummet down hundreds of feet to a pretty pool that is suitable for swimming. Judging from the comments of people entering the pool for a swim the water was very cold.
After stumbing out of the gorge we set off again along the rutted road to Cooinda. About halfway back we came upon a vehicle broken down and a grass fire burning beside it. We were flagged down by the driver and who should it be but Monte Dwyer. Some of you may remember him as the mad weatherman on the Today show a few years ago. He had cooked his little bus, then he managed to set the grass alight. A walking disaster. Anyway, we gave him and his daughter a lift back to Cooinda. As Monte had broken his coxys bone a couple of days previously, he knelt in the front seat, facing the rear and gripped the headrest all the way back to Cooinda. I don't think it was Mikes driving that was upsetting him!
This morning we were up bright and early (like before 6.00am) so that we could do the Yellow Water Cruise. We were out on the water just at sunup and it was well worth getting up for. There were birds everywhere just waking up, the morning light changed through beautiful pinks and the reflections in the billabong were just indescribably beautiful. We even managed to follow a 4m croc as it made its way home to its favourite bank to lie beside a tree trunk and recharge its batteries in the sunshine.
Later in the day we headed down to Nourlangie Rock for a look at the rock art there. Then it was back home and we have had a relaxing time since then.
Tomorrow we are out of here as we start the long trip home. We hope to be around Daly Waters sometime tomorrow, then we will cut across to Cape Crawford and hopefully the Lost City. We will probably not have internet or mobile coverage for the next few days.