Good bye Australia

So our time in Australia was fast running out our flight in the middle of the afternoon was approaching fast.. The trip and been great fun and we had really appreciated our time in the Top End. We were not the only remnants of the post tour to be left at the Travelodge in Darwin, our friends for Queensland, Carole and Mike were still there, they had hired a car were going out looking for plants for their garden. We were invited to join then and while we visited some of the garden centres we had visited the previous day, again we also found some harder to get to ones… I was great fun navigating round the town and surrounding areas to find plants.

It was eventually time to head back to the hotel and pick up our bags, Carole and Mike had very kindly offered to run us to the airport too.

The trip was quick and we were soon saying goodbye to our friends and heading into the terminal to check-in for our flight to Singapore.

Check in was quick and we were issued with vouchers to use in the restaurants in the airport terminal as Silk Air did not have a lounge or access to a partner lounge.

Security was quick and we were soon upstairs in the departure hall, having some time we had a snoop about, to see what this small regional airport had to offer… It was more impressive than I expected with a good choice of gift shops and restaurants. Virgin Australia and Qantas both had lounges too. The domestic part of the airport was very busy.

After a late lunch, thanks to the vouchers from Silk Air, in the restaurant Dome. It was soon time to pass via the secondary security, emigration and customs checks to leave Australia, and head to our gate number 13.

No long after we had passed thought the departure processes our plane arrive and we were boarded.


MI 802 DRW – SIN


Arriving at Singapore we quickly deplaned and followed the long walk via the corridors to the Singaporean immigration channels, where my passport was quickly stamped. We collected our baggage and made our way once again to the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Darwin

Due to flight dates and times we had to extend our time in Darwin by a day, which gave us time to go and explore. The morning we went and visited a few garden centres in the suburbs of Darwin. This was all by means of buying a day pass for the buses.

The garden centres were interesting to visit but a bit limited in the plants that they supplied… and the seeds that the stocked.

The afternoon we decided to visit the Casuarina Beach Park, however someone had started a fire in the undergrowth and we beat a hasty retreat when we saw the flames… a local offered us a lift in his car back to safety… saying it was probably arson as the park was open and would not normally be open if they were carrying out controlled burns.

I was a long trek back to our hotel on the buses… but we had seen a lot of the town.

Kakadu National Park

The last day of our tour in the Northern Territories and we woke in the heart of the Kakadu National Park. The plan for the day was to visit various sites in the park, Nourlangie with its rock art and then the Yellow River to see “Salties”. The day was also punctuated by me trying to find out what had happened back in the UK and the BREXIT vote.

Nourlangie was stunning with a great walk and our coach driver guide Jeff explaining what we were looking at… the views of the surrounding countryside were also superb.

We continued on to the Yellow River for our cruise to see the wildlife which did not disappoint.

After lunch it was back to the bus for the drive back to Darwin and the end of the official part of our trip.

Katherine Gorges

In the Katherine Gorges we took the 3 gorges tour, which meant we had to change boat twice on the way up and twice on the way back. The water level was to low to pass over the rapids between the gorges. The views were great with lots of information about the heritage of the site being given by our guide.

Towards the end of the tour, before we getting into the last boat we had time for a quick swim in the rock pools of the river… we were assured that the river had been checked many times for “salties” and that the “freshies” would not bother us…

After our swim and on the way down the last stretch of the river we did indeed see fresh water crocodiles sun bathing on the rocks…

After our trip up the through the gorges it was time for lunch, we then had time for a walk to see our main interest at the site, the Livistona Inermis palm tree.

After our walk it was back to the bus for a drive through the Kakadu National Park on our way to Jabiru where we were to stay the night.

Gregory National Park

Having had a comfortable night it was up early in the morning for breakfast and our departure for Gregory National Park to see the remarkable rock formation the aboriginal paintings and stands of Livistona Victoriae palm trees.

It was a long trip west from Katherine where we had spent the night but the scenery made up for it as we headed west. Jeff as always has stories to tell and great historical and nature information to share with us.

When we arrived at Gregory National park we were not disappointed the scenery kept getting better and better. With the palms we wanted to see high up under the escarpment which encircled us.

Taking water we all headed off climbing up to get a better look as these tall elegent palms.

About 2 hours later we were back at the bus and enjoying our picnic lunch when we realised that one of our number was missing… A quick search and we found that our friend had miss the turn in the path back to the bus and walked down the the main road before realising his mistake and making his way back to the bus. But all was well.

After the trip to Gregory it was time back to Katherine and on south for a late afternoon dip in the Mataranka Thermal Pool which is part of the Elsey National Park.

The water was great and just what was needed before our trip back to Katherine and our hotel for the night.

Deeper into the Northern Territories

Leaving early from Darwin we were on the road to Litchfield National Park, but not before we headed quickly to Holmes Jungle Nature Park to look at a stand of Livistona Benthamii. After a short walk and having seen the palms we came to see we headed back to the bus and were soon on our way down the Stuart Highway towards the National Park at Litchfield.

The bus ride war quite quick and we entered the park stopping to look at the “magnetic termite mounts” then on to lunch at the Litchfield Cafe.

After lunch we had time to walk round the Wangi Falls Trail and see the carpentaria acuminata palm tree before swimming at the pool of the Wangi Falls. The water was crystal clear and a quick dip was just what was needed before our long trip south to Katherine.

Wild Northern Territories

When the tour was put together the advised flight from Singapore to Darwin was an overnight flight with Jetstar Asia, and a lot of the group had not researched the alternative which I had found with SilkAir. Arriving at 5 am from the early flight the group were a little groggy but they arrive at our hotel at 7:00am to have breakfast and drop off the luggage before we headed out to visit the Territory Wildlife Park.

Our driver, Jeff, was incredible with his knowledge of the Northern Territories, its history and its wildlife. The trip to the Wildlife Park was good as it gave us a overview of the the animals we would be seeing at close quarters and also some of the plants.

Once we had visited the park we returned to Darwin for lunch on the waterfront, before heading to the Botanic Gardens for the afternoon.