I finally made it to Australia, it has been a dream over 10 years in the making and I can honestly say I still can’t really believe it. After graduating some years ago, I was looking into flying across the globe but I got a job at a well-known fashion house and temporarily let go of the dream. However while I was working, I always felt Australia was calling out to me. A few months ago, the stars aligned and I saw my chance to leave Belgium. With a little detour through Asia (if you can call six months a detour), I have fallen in love with travel and finally reached the main attraction, the Land of Oz!
My plan is that I had no plan. This is usually how I travel, plans are for after arriving in a country. Of course I have the main attractions such as Sydney, Melbourne, the Great Barrier Reef, Nigaloo Reef and so on. A lot of road trips, hopefully some time spent scuba diving, experiencing the relaxed Aussie spirit, seeing nature I have never seen before and meeting a lot of new people were the only things I had in mind. My port of arriving was going to be Darwin. Why? Because I had heard that the trip from Darwin to Perth was worth doing and because I wanted to follow the sun. Even though we wouldn’t think it, it does get cold in a country like Australia. Not even a little cold, but actual Belgian temperatures cold. There is even snow in some parts of the country! But not in the Northern Territory. Here, we have a dry and wet season system like in Asia and right now we are experiencing the dry season. This means that in some parts of the Territory it actually cools down at night while you have beautiful and hot summer days.
So Darwin it was, the most northern town of this gigantic country and also a city that is surrounded by some of the most dangerous sea life known to man: salt water crocodiles, box jellyfish, great white sharks and stingrays, they have them all. Swimming in the ocean in this part of the country is consequently not an option. The same goes for most rivers as the crocs get out of the ocean and into the salt and fresh waters (and they do kill quite a few people each year). Darwin does have two places you can swim, the freshly built wharf lagoon which should be completely protected from crocs, sharks and stingers, but some jellies might get through each year and Mindil Beach where swimming can be on your own risk.
But anyway, we were going on my first Australian road trip and with that I mean, me, my friend and fellow blogger Yannick and his amazing car, Stella. Darwin is a jump off point for three amazing national parks, named Litchfield, Kakadu and Katherine Gorge in Nitmiluk. There are waterfalls, crocodiles, kangaroos, lagoons, mountains and much more. Driving off our first day, the excitement washed over me, with long dirt roads ahead of me and kangaroos and exotic birds next to the road I knew I made the right decision coming here. We spent our first week driving around in these national parks, climbing over rocks, jumping in pools, spotting crocs (fortunately not in the pools we were swimming at), doing a lot of mileage on Stella, driving though rivers and getting attacked by the most voracious mosquitoes I’ve ever experienced. Here are some quick images of those first two weeks snapped on my iPhone. I’m looking forward to typing down where you need to go in Kakadu park because it is one of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve seen so far and therefore a must-do when you come to Australia!
That’s it for now, I’m writing this article from Katherine. We got ‘stuck’ here because our old lady Stella needs some new parts. But we don’t mind at all as we have met the nicest Couchsurfer hosts who also happen to be Royal Australian Air Force fighter pilots. Among other things it is so nice to have access to an actual kitchen, a fridge and a warm home to go to on a daily basis. And I have to admit, having grown up between pilots, I loved watching do tricks in the air with their Hornets. Tomorrow we’re going going tomato picking in the burning hot sun, wish me luck!