Darwin

My new year began in earnest at 6am. I got up, checked out and then caught the shuttle to the airport before getting on board a Qantas flight to Darwin.

I arrived in Darwin to intense heat. The temperature was marginally lower then that of Perth, but the humidity was practically double – clocking in around the 98% mark. 

It was like arriving in Kuching all over again. 

Of course I was expecting this given Darwins proximity to the tropics, but knowing that it was coming didn’t prevent the perspiration from building almost immediately on my brow. 

The airport was only about 6km from my hostel, so I took a taxi. Of course, this still ended up costing a fortune as I’d forgotten to factor the Aussie mark up into the equation. 

The lady on the hostels reception was really bubbly, helpful and friendly. As seems to be traditional there was a cock-up with my booking, and so it took a while to get checked in. 

I was warned that some of the rooms were undergoing redecoration but she didn’t know which ones; so I shouldn’t be too surprised if I opened the door and found that the bed was missing. 

My bed wasn’t missing. It was there alright, with the bare mattress and the yellow stained mattress topper. The pillows were bare as well. But there was no sign of any linen anywhere. I’ve know hostels where you’ve been expected to provide your own  sheets, but even those would have a sheet on the mattress and something on the pillows. 

So for the first time in a while, I broke out my trusty sleeping sheet and not for the first time thanked myself for buying one with a built in pillow case. 

I only had a few hours in Darwin and I knew exactly where I was heading, 

Crocosaurus Cove was not quite what I was expecting. For a start is was on the main street, nestled in amongst the other buildings. A nondescript building which you could walk right past without noticing. 

I don’t really know what I was expecting from ‘Darwins premier crocodile park’, but it wasn’t that. Something a bit more ‘covey’ perhaps? 

The crocodile park was pretty much what is sounds like. It is simply a gigantic aquarium/museum dedicated to crocodiles. A pretty run down aquarium if truth be told. But they did have what they promised which was crocs of all shapes and and sizes. From the exceptionally large, to little babies. 

But there is only so many crocs you can take in a day, so I went for a walk around the town. 

Darwin is a town I can best describe as closed. In its own way it was the spiritual companion of Penang, another place fond of the ‘closed’ sign. In fairness this was only because it was New Years Day and therefore a bank holiday. There was one place open however and that was the local cinema. 

For the first time in months my student ID came in handy as I got a whopping $1.50 off of the $22 ticket price. I saw the Hobbit in 3D and it was fantastic. Apart from being a brilliant film it has me even more excited about visiting New Zealand thanks to its amazing shooting locations. 

If you’ve read the book, you’ll know that there is point where Bilbo talks about missing home. You know Bilbo, at times I know exactly what you mean. 

So that brings us neatly to the Ghan. Its now about 10 hours into the 47 hour journey. I’ve just eaten a pie for my tea that has on the wrapper “Best Before April 14 2014”.

Today is January 2, 2013. 

What the hell have they put in that pie?!

We stopped off in a town named Katherine earlier. It has a series of gorges that were apparently not to be missed. Maybe I’m just totally jaded, maybe I’ve seen too many amazing things because my reaction was ‘meh’. Actually thanks to the amount of flies my reaction was ‘me…pfft..h’. 

Tomorrow we arrive in Alice Springs, stay for a couple of hours and move on towards Adelaide and then onto Melbourne later that evening.

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