Written on 1st August 2006

Hi mates :-) ,

I am still in one piece and no crocodile has eaten me :-) . I and my friends flew to Darwin, hired a 4WD (4 wheel drive) car Toyota LandCruiser and went for a 12-days trip the length and breadth of nature parks in Northern Territory. The weather was quite hot although winter is here. The sun was shining all day, was more than 30 degrees and no clouds at all. I was thinking about nice cold weather in Ireland ;-) .

First we went to Litchfield National Park, there are plenty of waterfalls and pools for swimming as well as walking tracks and no crocodiles. It was cool as we could swim all day. We also went through a few creeks there with our car, the deepest one was about 1m, but our car was 100% waterproof even with a schnorchel. Roads were made from gravel or sand. The other day we went to some off-road track and to drive 9km took us about 2 hours because we had to cross about 5 creeks, go across rocks, sand and also to clean trees from our way. On the way back, however, our car got sunk in one of the creeks. It was a sandy creek and our wheels got into sand. The creek was about one meter deep luckily without crocodiles and we had to get off through car windows, unload whole car, bring stones from the near rock plane and put them under the wheels. It took us about 2 hours to get out of there and we were a bit scared because there was nobody to help us, even mobile phones did not work.

I also celebrated my birthday in the middle of nowhere just with melted chocolate (from my friends) and with warm beer on the top of a hill under a radio transmitter. It was a very unusual celebration, but I liked it :-) .

After Litchfield we have seen plenty of other small parks, some with hot springs, some with good walks, some with Aboriginal paintings (Aboriginals are people who lived in Australia before Europeans came here and they also own nearly all the land in Northern Territory. The Australian goverment must lease land from them. It’s good to know that people here did not have the same destiny like indians in America). Another thing were fires. Every day there was a fire somewhere in the forest and noone carred. It is a kind of protection against bigger fires later in the dry season and sunrise or sunset look very good with smoke on horizon :-) .

Our last park was Kakadu Park, full of salties (Saltwater crocodilles) which are dangerous to people. It is a very agressive animal and it is dangerous to swim anywhere in this area. My guide recommends to swim only in a swimming pool in Jabiru town :-) . But it was not that bad. We went through a few 4WD tracks, one of them was to JimJim Falls, beautiful falls with a large cold pool. The water was about same temperature like the sea in Barcelona in early December ;-) , about 15 degrees, still warmer than the Irish Sea. We spent there whole day, lying on the sandy beach and swimming between rocks under waterfall about 150m high. Then we got to Ubirr rock to see a sunset together with about 200 people. It is a very famous tourist attraction. Once I went to a billabong where I paid a guided tour on boat. It was excellent as my guide was an aboriginal women and she talked a lot about their culture, about birds and animals, about trees, I saw salties from a close distance as well as snakes. We also met lots of kinds of mosquitoes, none of them was friendly to me :-) .

It’s strange here in Australia that they do not have villages. Everything is called at least town. We went through "a town" which was only one building with 4 people in there. It was a petrol station, a shop and a restaurant. I talked to an owner for a while, lovely lady. We have also seen a few old towns, now abandoned, in a bush. Lots of those were founded during a gold rush and abandoned later when a mine was empty.

At the end of the trip we were dirty from red sand and we could not find any place with a shower or any creek without crocodilles for a few days. Even my mum would not probably recognise me (unshaven, smelly and dirty – that is me :-D ) . The last day we stopped in the Aviation Heritage Museum near Darwin and I went for a 2 hours’ guided tour about a plane B52. Now I am an expert about that, because I had to translate for my friend as well.

But not everything went good. Two of my friends left us in the middle of nowhere after just 4 days and after they had an argument between themselves. I asked for a reason but they did not answered me and just left. I was very sad and disappointed by their behaviour and asked them again in Darwin at the airport but again I did not get any reasonable answer. They just said they had not felt good. So for the rest of the trip I am just with one friend who I did not know so much before. But he is a good guy :-) .

We spent two days in Darwin and visited a gaol, museums about WWII and beaches and got a bit sunburn. Then we flew to Brisbane on Sunday and at the moment we are staying there, planning the next trip down to Melbourne. My friend wants to hire a car but I want to do something a bit more adventureous and go by bus or hitch hiking. First we are going to Hervey bay and Fraser Island and than down the coast to Sydney and Melbourne with a few stopovers.

Please feel free to forward this to anyone who I forgot to send it to.

Pavel (Inža)

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