Hi everyone todays update on our travels comes from Darwin "The top end" in the northern territories.
On Sunday we woke in Bunbury still in South west Australia and we said goodbye to the tent after 10 nights under canvas. We're back to hotels for a while now.
We drove for just over an hour to Mandurah where we found a local market and moved into a hotel on the coast. The hotel we booked into had a design that seems to be quite popular.
Basically you build your hotel around a swimming pool.
On Monday we had an early start to drive for just over an hour back to Perth, met a little commuter traffic and then dropped our hire car off.
We reverted to public transport using the local train to get into Perth and a bus to get to our next hotel which was very close to the domestic airport.
On Tuesday we had an early start and got to Perth domestic airport for a bit of breakfast. While we were there we spotted loads of people dressed in what we assume were miners uniforms who were flying out to undisclosed destinations.
We flew to Darwin crossing a time zone during our 3 hour flight.
This is where we will be basing ourselves for the tour into the centre to Alice springs and then Uluru. We arrived in the early afternoon, got a taxi to our studio apartment and had a brief walk around the city centre.
Wednesday was our first full day in Darwin and we devoted it to Crocodiles. We went to Crocosaurus Cove which was a local display where among other things you can climb into a Perspex cylinder which they lower into the enclosure and allow you to get very up close and personal with the very big croc's. We thought about doing this for about 5 seconds and I'm sure our insurance company will be relieved to know we declined the offer of what they call "The cage of death". (Photo)
We got to feed the smaller croc's with fishing rods, dangling lumps of meat above them so that they have to jump up out of the water which apparently imitates how they would feed in the wild, jumping to catch their small prey.
This was a very professional set up and all the large Crocodiles they had on display were animals that had been causing trouble in the locality and would probably have had to be put down. They had all been given names - our favourite being Chopper. most of the male Crocs were bachelors as they had repeatedly tried to eat any female crocs that they put into their enclosure. The exception was William and Kate who have been together for a number of years and have proved to be excellent parents. Harry wasn't allowed near anyone.
The smaller crocodiles were eventually destined for their farm and to be used commercially (!)
We had our first encounter with snakes at the same attraction and saw the 1st and 2nd most poisonous in Australia. Nigel who likes snakes as much as Indiana Jones does didn't run away or scream (but did look a little). Luckily for Helen there were no spiders.
Just to make you jealous,the temperature here reached 32 degrees today but it was the 78% humidity that we really noticed having been away from the tropical weather since Singapore.
On Thursday we had a great day joining a multi national group on an organised day trip to Litchfield national park just outside Darwin. Peter our multi talented guide doubled up as the coach driver and caterer. His never ending commentary was quite something. During our trip we drove through a town called "Humptydoo", we enquired how did the town get this name? Thinking of the British towns and villages having hundreds of years of history with their names describing the rivers, churches or ancient settlements we waited for the answer. Paul explained "A bloke humped his gear out of Darwin stopped and said that'll do, Humptydoo".
The highlight of this trip was a Crocodile cruise. Peter drove for about an hour and then turned down a dirt road to meet a man called Pat and his boat on the Adelaide river. Pat was either doing a very good act or was a real life Crocodile Dundee. He didn't have the looks of Paul Hogan, was white, the son of a district nurse and had been raised among Aborigines. He took us on a boat journey on the river and gave us a detailed talk on Crocodiles.
He encouraged a few to come to our little boat (photo) and one in particular who was an albino and had been nickname "Michael Jackson" was enormous. (Photo). The trip continued with a visit to some cathedral termite mounds (photo) and swimming in some rock pools. Our day finished with champagne and prawns by the beach watching the sunset. It's a hard life this traveling!
Today Friday 29th November and we have transferred to a hostel for the night. This has given us the use of wifi and the laundry and sets us two doors away from our pick up point at 6.30am to start our tour to the interior to see Alice Springs and Uluru.
Our next update will be on our return to Darwin next week.
We're both well and everything is fine.