Monday, 30 April 2007

The naked truth

Travelling in the off season does have its perks, including the fact there’s never anyone around to complain about my family, who are prone to fits of nudieness wherever possible.

Friday, 27 April 2007

Shock! A picture without water in it

Despite my general discomfort and regular dashes back to the air-conditioned comfort of the car – the girls and Doog have taken to calling me Princess Nancy - I am intrigued by this part of the world. Not since India have I been so physically uncomfortable for so long, but there is also something strangely inviting about it, and the Northern Territorians who call it home clearly do so with great pride.

One of the little oddities that makes it unique are these magnetic termite mounds in Litchfield National Park, built up over time by the co-operative efforts of millions of industrious little creatures.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

It's all relative

When I took this pic I was spitting nails that this washout (yet another) would keep Doog from doing the one thing he wanted to do in the Northern Territory: fish for barramundi, sans touristes, in the Daly River, a hidden gem known only to those in the know.

But then later, feeling sorry for myself yet again (!!) and getting some consolation by trolling the internet to plan a side trip to Lesotho on our next trip (to South Africa in June), I came across this little tidbit:

"If the women are selling Sotho food and beer, the guide will obtain a sample for those willing to taste barbecued mice."

So here's the thing: rain and heat and crap food and a soggy tent and boiled rice aside, there is no barbecued mouse in my gut and for that reason alone, I vow to stop my sad-sack complaining. Amen.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

No clear track up ahead

Doog is fond of saying to me "There's a clear track up ahead, Nancy" whenver he thinks I should know exactly what to do next. Here, though, in what I'm told is the last gasp of the Northern Territory wet season, our grand plans are foiled in all directions. Water all over the road up ahead meant we had to turn back, so we chucked a right instead, and found that that road was, er, also closed.

Soon we will find an open road and merrily we will go...

Monday, 23 April 2007


Accustomed as I am to roads being closed because of snow, this Litchfield washout was a novelty for me, and a bit of fun for the girlies. (That's our no-can-do non-4WD rental in the background.)

Friday, 20 April 2007

How do you spell relief?

The positively gorgeous Litchfield National Park, less than two hours south-west of Darwin, has long lived in the shadow of its more famous Northern Territory cousin, Kakadu. But that might be about to change, as Litchfield has just nabbed the No. 1 spot on Australian Traveller magazine’s “Top 100 Things to Do in Australia You’ve Never Heard of” list.

In some ways it would be a shame if too many people found out about it ... but on the other hand, it's probably right to spread the joy.

Catching the cool spray from Wangi Falls, we did the shortest photo op on record - not only because it was so HOT but because the water was so high that the threat of saltwater crocs moving into the fresh water was very real indeed. Yikes.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Everybody loves a hot, wet blanket

Up here in the Northern Territory there's no such thing as winter. Southern Ontarians might salivate at the prospect (I hear it’s still snowing there and I feel bad, I really do) but believe me, a perennially sweaty crack does not a happy camper make.

Here we have what’s affectionately known as “the wet” and “the dry” - and clearly there’s nothing dry about my current situation. The girls and Doog don’t seem to mind; however I am wilting like a tulip in July, hence the on-my-ass perch at the base of this waterfall in Litchfield National Park. (That's me holding onto Annie so she can use her mask and snorkel without floating away down the bottom waterfall)

The temperature is a steady 33C, which doesn’t sound terribly difficult, but when married to 95 per cent humidity, it’s like being wrapped head to toe in a hot, wet blanket and trying to breathe through a steaming facecloth while you stand in front of a pizza oven cranked to high.

Melbourne’s 40C days I can sort've handle, like a dry slap in the chest. This is something entirely different, and so excuse me if I sit at this waterfall for the remainder of this trip...

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Shitass planners R us

OK, now I get it. The Northern Territory’s tourist-baiting jingle - “You never never know if you never never go” - TOTALLY makes sense. Because now I know! I really really know what I never never knew! That a Top End camping holiday at the end of monsoon season is never never a goddamn fucking good idea! So the tent looks all nice & cozy now but just you WAIT!

I’m standing in an inch of water – inside the tent, mind – and wringing out my undies while the monsoon buckets down, the thunder making my eye twitch like a banshee and the lightning directly overhead (stop reading NOW, Grandma!) illuminating my girls’ mercifully sleeping faces. We are in the middle of nowhere. Literally, this is nowhere unless you are a fucking crocodile or a dingo or a goddamn kookaburra who dares laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.

How do people LIVE in this climate?

Naturally, Doog thinks it’s all fantastically good fun but I will smother him with a pillow as soon as he nods off, and then how fun will it be? Huh? Huh?! How can he possibly say he loves this? My heretofore robust sense of humour has exited stage left, and I am left to seethe and wonder: How did I get myself into this mess? I suppose I could blame Doog but the truth is, yes indeed, in my excitement to see something new and different in Australia, I skimmed over the brochures and their warnings about the wet season.


Dare to skim, and you shall be punished. Skim, and you shall be bitten on the ass, big time. Skim, and you may as well hang a sign on yourself that reads: I am a shitass bad holiday-planner fuckup.

Monday, 16 April 2007


Signs, signs, everywhere the signs ... we vacated the area quick-like after snapping this shot, natch.

More pics coming as soon as I get over my depression that I am no longer laying in a hammock, indulging in free babysitting and reading Mordechai Richler while sipping a chocolate daquiri thingie, all the while surrounded by lush palm trees and goannas and tropical birds and, well, you get the picture.

Heavy sigh...