Across the Outback: Darwin to Broome via Kakadu
One of the things we noticed immediately in the Northern Territory is that beer is only marginally more expensive than goon (very low grade wine) so we traded up and started drinking beer again. It was a welcome change.
After a few days of relaxing and some partying in Darwin, we set off for Kakadu National Park. We arrived at one of the campsites in the early afternoon and it was swarming with mozzies (mosquitoes). We quickly used the self-serve station to pay for 2 nights stay at the campsite and drove off to see the Aboriginal rock paintings nearby at Nourlangie Rock.
In the evening we lit up a huge campfire and had dinner near it. The mozzies were out in full force so despite the heat we had long sleeves and long trousers on and stood as close to the fire as possible. But none of this really helped. We were getting bit through our clothes and swatting at them was useless because there were so many. Before going to bed, I made sure to kill the 10 or so that following me into my tent. And even though I really needed to pee in the middle of the night, I held it in cause I didn’t want to have another swarm of mozzies attack me nor get into my tent. So between the stifling heat, the bladder pressure, and the sea of mozzies lurking outside my tent, it’s fair to say that I didn’t sleep well.
in June there are so many mosquitoes it feels like you’re swimming through them. I guess we’re lucky that it’s May?
The morning provided no relief so we packed up, abandoned our campsite, and drove to Jabiru, the main settlement inside Kakadu. We parked up by the lake and spent the next half hour exterminating all the pests that found their way into our car. It was so bad that we had to light a mozzie coil inside the car to get them out of hiding. We stopped at the cultural centre on our way out of the park to learn more about Aboriginal culture and had lunch there. Also found out that in June there are so many mosquitoes it feels like you’re swimming through them. I guess we’re lucky that it’s May?
After spending a very comfortable mosquito-free night indoors at the Batchelor Butterfly Farm (run by a very friendly, well-travelled, and enthusiastic Brit) we spent the day at Litchfield National Park. The main attractions are some gigantic termite mounds that are over 4 metres tall and refreshing natural swimming holes fed by waterfalls.
There is a strict quarantine in WA that prohibits bringing any fruits, vegetables and other natural products into the state.
Still haunted by the camping experience at Kakadu, we opted to spend the night in Katherine in a hostel. The following morning we made for the WA (Western Australia) border. There is a strict quarantine in WA that prohibits bringing any fruits, vegetables and other natural products into the state. Some local horses know this and make their way to the border station daily to feed on the confiscated items.
In Kununurra, we got petrol (AU$1.88 per litre !!), restocked on supplies, and did a little day hike in Mirima National Park. The park is on the edge of town and very easy to access. The day hike is also really easy and provides some very nice views, particularly around sunset.
That night, we camped out somewhere along the road at a designated free camping area. A full day’s drive to Broome lay ahead of us so we got started very early and pressed on. Without a 4×4, we couldn’t access the best stuff along this area, like the Gibb River Road and Purnululu National Park. Bummer. But on the flip side we did get to see some of the Kimberley from the main highway, particularly the massive boab trees.
We reached Broome not long after seeing a very nice sunset on the entry road. Another leg of the trip complete!
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