Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Top End: The Out of Towners

Australia has six states and "various" territories.  Of these various territories there are only two that anybody has ever heard of, one of them being the Northern Territory.

NT is quite huge, and is way bigger than a few states.  It has a super tiny population though, just over 230,000.  It is in the middle, at the top of the country, so essentially it's the North Dakota of Australia - times 20 (I did the math).  Its position on the continent, I assume, is why it's known as the Top End.

Martin has been there for work before, as I mentioned here, where I said "I really, really, really (really, really) wanted to go" but couldn't due to work.  Things are especially expensive in NT, particularly flights, so as soon as it was confirmed that he was going again for work I jumped at the chance to go.  An exotic destination where we only need to pay for one flight - I'm in!

I've been obsessed with the idea of going to Darwin since we got to Australia because it is the gateway to Kakadu National Park, which has waterfalls and scenery that looks off the chain (see here).  Unfortunately for me, with only one day to devout to scenery and nature out of town the 3+ hour drive to Kakadu just proved too much.  Kakadu was not in the cards, so I had to come up with a Plan B.

Plan B: Litchfield National Park

Florence Falls
Wangi Falls
Litchfield is closer to Darwin and a far more manageable/sane choice for a day trip.

You can swim in those scenic waterfall pools, but!


My favorite pic, taken by camera phone!
I am being deceptive here.

While, yes, we did see crocodiles (up close and personal!) they were not in our swimmin' hole.  They were in the Adelaide River, which everybody knows to stay the hell out of unless you have a death wish.  That warning sign really is by the waterfall pools, though.  During the wet season (summer; not now) crocs hang out there.  But now the water is lower and the crocs have vacated.  That didn't stop me from freaking the eff out, particularly in water that is dark where you can't see to the bottom!

We've done a jumping croc tour once before in Cairns, but I am not one to turn down seeing real life, modern day dinosaurs just because I've seen them once before.  There were so dang many of them!  It took mere minutes for us to get close to one.  A few decades ago the crocs in this area were hunted down to a population of 3,000.  Today they're back up to 143,000.  So many dinos!

It's worth noting that only one in like every bajilion crocs make it to this size.  Crocs are mean bastards and eat each other if they can.  We even saw one croc with no front legs, because another croc had ripped them off!  I told you: mean bastards.  That one seemed to have as nice a life as crocs can have, since the tail is what's important for survival.

More fun with wildlife: holding a snake!

Snakes are so much fun!  I love them.  Provided they aren't venomous, that is.  Some might call me nuts but I really like reptiles.  All reptiles!

And our last wildlife encounter of the day, Martin licked the ass of one of these ants:

And so did I!  I've done it before, again in Cairns, but I convinced Martin to do it this time.  When you luck the butt bulb (I really don't have a better term for it than that) you get a very intense citrus flavor.  If you'll believe it, I thought these ants tasted very different than the ones in Queensland!  The QLD one was so intense they were like an electric shock of lime.  This one just tasted like concentrated limes.  Odd!  I must lick more ant asses before I can make a final, scientific conclusion about the taste of ant asses.

The other two sites we saw in Litchfield were the Buley Rockholes, perfect for taking a relaxing dip in, and the insanely tall Cathedral Termite Mounds:

That mound is nuts, it's 4 meters (13 feet) tall!  Two Martins put together, and then some!  And hard as concrete.

I am still low on vacation time thanks to Funemployment 2014 so lucky me I got to take red eye flights to and fro Darwin to avoid missing any work!  My main sleep on Sunday night was 3 hours on an airplane, so I'm beat.  I can't be arsed to write about our in town activities right now, so those will have to wait for another day.

It's 9:00 p.m. so this grandma bids you goodnight!

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