Some places we've been and some places we're going.

Posts tagged ‘Northern Territory’

Day 37 Darwin

I feel that last night I somehow opened Pandora’s Box and out flew Jet engine scream, noise from planes taking off and landing, headlights turning in front of our camper followed by loud voices and a phone ringing at 2am. Heat radiating, Sandfly bites itching , a bird sounding a bit like a rooster crowing again and again, “Get the caaallllll” and the full moon shining down on me through the camper skylight! What a night!

We decided it was wise to take our planned walk to Marlow Lagoon at Palmerston early in the day before it got too hot. We’d read that there was a Dog Park incorporated in it which sounded ideal. It is only about 15 kms from our campground so didn’t take long. The lagoon is nice and big and would be stunning when the Water Lilies are flowering, we could see hundreds of the plants.

The Dog Park is definitely the best we’ve ever seen, it was huge and inside it were three smaller areas. One was designated for small dogs, one for shy, quiet dogs and the other for any dogs. We went into the one for small dogs, there was a little dog in there and also a big black dog. The owner of the big dog was trying to get it through an agility course which went well except for the seesaw. Fergus ran up and jumped straight onto it but didn’t go to the end making it tip. The big dog wouldn’t get on it at all. All of the dogs chased and played until the other owners took their dogs for a swim in the lagoon. I put the lead on Fergus and we used a couple of the Agility setups.

When we left there we headed back to Cool Spot for something to eat and drink. The safest thing for me was a bowl of chips so we shared that and I had a super Mango Smoothie. Fergus and a black poodle were tied to a rail beside us at the Puppy Parking spot and they were given heaps of pats and back scratches. Alex noticed a Gorilla on the roof. Why was it there? Probably seemed like the best place for such a big object.

Back at camp it was time for doing laundry and our camper was adorned with washing. The communal clothes lines were all being used.

When the day cooled a bit we went out to see the boats at a wharf not far from the City Centre, it’s where the commercial fishing vessels are moored.

Because we couldn’t get close to the boats at the marina we went to Fisherman’s Wharf where we could walk about and see what was happening in the harbour. We could see some boats up in dry docks being repaired. Different vessels were coming in including a big barge and a charter fishing boat.

Gulls were swooping around the end of the wharf and there was a Heron limping, it had something fixed to its leg. A young fellow was fishing and the Heron got quite close to him, they seemed to know each other. I have reported it to the Wildlife Rescue here in Darwin.

Our last little jaunt was to Stokes Hill Wharf, the whole area was packed with cars and people. It’s hard to work out where all the people in all the places come from.

Day 36 Darwin

Our Caravan Park is at Winnellie and just across the Stuart Hwy is the RAAF Base and Darwin International Airport. Yesterday we didn’t really notice much aircraft noise at all but this afternoon I think the RAAF were playing games, the noise from at least two jets was DEAFENING! It started about 4:30 but by 5:00 it was only helicopters and small planes coming in.

It’s not the planes I’m cursing but Sandflies. Alex has some little red spots around his ankles, I have big, hard red lumps on my arms, ankles and legs, the itching from them is torture. They attacked silently and invisibly at Dundee Beach! Today I bought some antihistamine and it seems to have helped combined with the two creams I’ve been using.

Conversation between GPS Karen and The Prado Pilot:

“ Drive 200 metres and turn right onto the Stuart Highway.”

“Don’t be ridiculous!”

The Stuart Highway at that point is three lanes wide in each direction with a 90 kph limit.

This evening we went to the Mindil Beach Markets and it was an eye opener. It’s about 15 years since we were last there and my most vivid memory is of people wandering around the Markets gnawing on Lamb Shanks. It had a Hippie feel, now it’s more mainstream and the Carpark was like Football Park for a Grand Final.

We walked from the Carpark to the Markets where a very nice, very big man told us we couldn’t bring Fergus into the Market but we could take him on the beach. I asked him how we could get to the beach and he said just walk straight across the Market, he’d OK us to do that. We went down onto the beach past an Aboriginal group singing and playing rhythm sticks.

Alex went back into the Markets to find something for us to eat while I stayed on the beach with Fergus. More and more people came onto the beach and a few stopped to talk with Fergus. People often tell us they’ve left their dog at home and are really missing it. One little girl, about two, came back again and again to see Fergus and to entertain us, and herself, losing her feet and toes in the sand then miraculously recovering them. Alex came back with a scrumptious Yiros Platter which we shared. Fergus got his tiny share and Eloise was very pleased with herself when she fed some little bits of meat to Fergus.

Some boats loaded with passengers were cruising up and down waiting for the sunset. When the sun finally went below the horizon all along the beach people started clapping. I hope the sun appreciated the applause and will return for another performance tomorrow night.

Day 34 Dundee Beach

This place is here for fishing, according to tourist brochures it’s THE PLACE to try your luck at fighting fish ie not those accepting their fate. There were a lot of fishing charter boats setting out in the morning along with all the amateurs. In the afternoon people bring chairs or sit on seats overlooking the boat ramp to watch the boats coming back in. People who’ve come off boats come there too and swap stories of the day. We watched for at least an hour, it’s not only fun watching the way people get their boats onto their trailers but it’s also a nice cool spot under the shade of a big, old tree and occasionally a nice cool breeze off the water.

There are some memorial plaques on the big tree.

Because it was so hot we decided to drive in AC comfort to Fog Bay, we passed some interesting property names. Most of the properties seem to have similar frontages, a farm type gate with no view of the dwelling behind. We reached a turnoff we presumed would take us down to the bay but then came to a property entrance and a sign saying it was a private track and could only be used to get to Finnis Point, a fishing spot with no facilities. The track had already been badly corrugated so we decided not to continue and returned to camp.

When we were having a drink at the Dundee Lounge at least five helicopters landed, people can charter them to go “heli-fishing” or take Joyflights from Darwin. A 30 min flight at low tide is $395 per person but there are lots of flight options.

I walked along the beach in the morning when it was cool and we had another walk there later. Fergus met up with Sadie whose owner would have been happy for the dogs to run free together but we can’t completely trust Fergus to come back when he’s called. This is also an area to be croc aware so letting him go free doesn’t seem a wise thing to me. I found some interesting shells, little shellfish firmly attached to rocks and also a tiny Hermit Crab.

Tomorrow we drive only about 170 kms into Darwin where we’re booked into a Caravan Park for five nights. The annexe should go up!