I arrived at Darwin at the rather unfortunate time of 2.30a.m. Thursday the 7th of May. 780 days after I left Apeldoorn.
Lucky my friend Don (who you might remember from Nepal & Thailand) just arrived in Darwin on his ‘round-Australia-on-the-Bullet-trip’ and came to meet me at the airport.
Everything seems different here.
First impression is that everything is flat, wide, and big. The roads, the houses and the people…
No motorbikes whooshing about… But many 4WD’s. One thing that surprised me where the many Car & Dog – wash places. You can actually get your car and dog washed at the same time!
Since I had to wait for a parcel to arrive from Holland we decided to go on a little road-trip on the Enfield around the Northern Territory.
So leaving my bicycle safely in Darwin we got on the bike on a sunny Saturday morning to ride in the direction of Kakadu national park.
That’s when I first experienced the Australian road trains.
It’s a funny place, a few days later I cycled along the railway tracks and a car came along on the tracks. Cars on the tracks and trains on the road…
They’re HUGE big monster-trucks with three or four trailers that swing all over the show when they pass you. When I see them coming on my bicycle I just hop of the road and wait till they pass.
But when I rode the Enfield along and a road train past, I got nearly shuffed off the road as he pulled over to quickly ‘cause of oncoming traffic.
It nearly gave me a heart attack. And Don, who was on the back at the time, got a wee bit of a fright as well.
Lucky I managed to stay on the road but I’m very weary of them from now on…
There’s enough to see and to be surprised about around here.
Animals for example.
One afternoon, cruising along, an enormous bird of prey just dived down to the road out of nowhere, picked up a monster snake and flew off. Now that is something I haven’t seen before.
It makes you feel small. Everything seems pretty big. Along the roads you see these termite-mounts everywhere. They’re not little ones either.
And there’s crocs in the water! I spotted three so far… A bit scary, you don’t want to go swimming around here, even though it can get pretty warm.
I have also seen lots and lots of wallabies, I like them.
They’re rather cute when they are alive. Sadly they’re not overly smart. When they get a fright, from for example a truck or car, they just hop in whatever direction they’re facing at the time. Which rather often is right in front of that truck/car.
That’s when they die; I’ve seen lots of that too.
Not as cute anymore.
And they smell bad.
Then there are the insects.
Many many Ants, Some bite, some get bitten…. As I discovered. I was intrigued to find lots of ants with green bums. Then somebody told me you can actually eat them. So I tried, and would you know it? Not too bad. Will just take a long time to fill up on them though.
And I don’t know how many different kind of mosquito’s they have around here, but I encountered a good few of them. Extremely annoying. One campsite was particularly bad. You couldn’t stand around for a minute before getting attacked. So we jumped on the bike and kept riding around ‘till after dusk. Then sprinted into the tent to eat a can of beans… No way would either of us wonder outside to try and cook.
Which is, by the way, a great thing about the Campsites around here! They all seem to have wonderful kitchen areas with BBQ’s so you don’t have to fiddle with your little stove cooking pasta or rice. No, you can actually walk into a shop buy potatoes and meat and cook a proper steak! Yum. I like Australia
You need to keep an eye on your food though, one morning, while turning our backs at the table, a dingo stole our bread!
We went to see some ancient aboriginal rock paintings, a lot of them have explanations and stories written down. The stories seemed a bit violent to me. They rather often end with; “and then everybody was dead”…. hmmm
It was a good little trip, just riding, stopping here to swim in a waterfall and there to jump in a hot spring. We even manage to squeeze in a day of Horse races in Pine Creek and a motorbike tour + evening of bands and beers and dancing…
But after a good few days of bumming around on the Motorbike the time came to move back to Darwin. Where, in the meantime, my parcel had arrived.
It was very exciting to open it up. Just like x-mass.
This company, AGU, has decided to help me out a bit clothes-wise.
So I’ve got proper bike-shorts, pants, shoes, shirts and even a helmet!!!
I’m feeling very professional indeed.
The colour of the shirt shocked me a bit at first. But, as Don mentioned, he can spot me from a mile away. Which does help on these roads, with this traffic.
So I finally got cycling again! It’s great, and it lasted about 300km….
My plan to cycle to Perth and get a job has been slightly altered.
I’ve been asking for jobs just about every place I walked into. Because rather soon I realized I can’t live on the same budget here as I’ve managed the past two years…
Just the other day I got chatting to a guy who turned out to be a ‘helicopter-cowboy’. And he told me about this outback pub where they’re always looking for staff in a place called Top Springs. He gave them a call and yes. I’ll be going there tomorrow.
The nearest main road will be 180km to the east…
Nearest internet 300km North.
I won’t have network on my phone there.
Not sure how long I’m gonna be there but I will be out of touch for a little while…
No doubt I’ll be back with stories to tell.