Tuesday, November 25, 2008

darwin

i recently got my australian immigrant visa - that was my excuse for going there. the truth was i bought my ticket long before my visa arrived, jetstar had a good promo early this year. i was required to make an initial entry to the country(why? i still dont know), so it was a good time to do it and do some exploring at the same time.

the flight to darwin was my longest flight to date - 4.5 hours hehe. it was my first trip out of asia.

we arrived at some crazy hour in the morning - around 5am, but we can only checkin to our hotel by 11am so we grabbed some maps at a garage, and decided to checkout the nearby casuarina beach. i got excited as the first thing we saw was a sign to the nudist beach, we took one picture of the sign and then my slr camera conked out on me. simon reckoned the heavy paperweight slash camera couldnt handle the heat. october/november is the last part of the dry season and i guess the heat can drive the locals crazy as well as cameras.


nudist beach ahead

we just walked on the beach which was quite nice, darwin's beaches are a no-swim zone all year round though because of crocodiles and stingers. we didnt even attempt to go the nudist beach this early in the morning so we just stopped on cullen bay for a much needed breakfast.


breakfast at cullen bay with nice boats on the background



dragonboats at cullen bay

we drived around town but there wasnt really much happening there, most shops and cafes were still closed and the heat was no help at all so we just waited and fell asleep in the car, it was 39 degrees outside. we checked in soon enough to alatai apartments which was perfect because our rooom was airconditioned and dark and we slept some more.

later that day, we tried the local fish and chips and beer and since there wasnt much to see in the town, we spent our time in the esplanade park watching the locals jog/walk their dogs/play cricket while waiting for the sunset.


having a rest at the park


darwin's sunset

kakadu national park is australia's largest national park covering 1.7 million hectares and the most popular destination in darwin but it was too big for a day trip so we opt to see the smaller litchfield park instead. im not sure you can describe litchfield as small because its still more than twice as big as singapore!


it was a 90 minute drive to litcfield and we had yummy hot dogs for lunch at the hot dog lady along the highway

one of the first attractions we saw in the park were these huge magnetic termite mounds. We read somewhere that the entire structure is made up of termite spit and poo. haha!


Can you see the termite?


lotsa magnetic termite mounds

our next stop was the buley rockhole, a series of pools where we found people enjoying the water and having some picnic. most of the swimming holes in the park are croc-free and people already swimming was a good indication for us that there were no crocs lurking. it was very refreshing in the swimming hole especially since its already 43 degrees celsius outside the water.

buley rockhole


me looking catatonic because of the heat

from buley rockhole, its a few minutes hike down the unbelievably gorgeous florence falls - its hands down the most beautiful waterfalls ive ever seen. wow!


florence falls



simon at florence waterfalls lookout

as much as we wanted to spend the rest of the day in the florence plunge pool, we still have loads to see in the park so our next stop was the lost city. we originally rented a small car but the rental company upgraded it to an xtrail 4WD and we took advantage of this because the road to the lost city was a 4WD only.


at the lost city

the lost city was a bit of a joke for us, we drived on a very dusty and rough road for maybe 30 minutes one-way and we expected to see a lost city maybe? the park's pamphlet said "The complex freestanding sandstone block and pillar formations of the Lost City, in Litchfield National Park, suggest the ruins of a long forgotten civilisation." we saw big rocks alright but thats just about it. and a fleet of annoying flies. we got lost in the lost city - we couldnt find our car. in the meanwhile, those flies harrassed us all the way.


at the lost city


annoying flies


tree pose


we got lost in the lost city

there were still lots to see but the sun was about to set soon so for our last stop, we headed to the wangi falls. it was surrounded by a forest and you would think the plunge pool was manmade because it was almost a perfect circle. lovely! we reckoned it would be more beautiful during the wet season when the waterfalls is a lot stronger. we were the last people in the falls and i kept on imagining a crocodile would emerge from the forest but of course it was only my imagination. definitely this was our favorite place in darwin.


wangi falls

where to stay:
alatai holiday apartments in finnis street
www.stayz.com.au
we got a studio-type room with personal laundry, kitchenette, balcony for 99 aud.

where to rent a car:
http://www.vroomvroomvroom.com.au/
93aud for 2 days rental of a hyundai getz

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