Road Trip Part 3 – Corroboree Billabong and Corroboree Park Tavern

For the final part of our road trip we drove back to Darwin via Corroboree Billabong.

Messing About on the Billabong

I had heard that this was good crocodile hunting (in the non actual hunting sense of the word) ground so was hopeful we might finally see one in its natural habitat. There are great places around Darwin and the surrounding areas where you can see crocodiles but most are reliant on human contact for feeding etc so I really wanted to see one naturally.

Billabong

This bit of the trip started of quite badly as the only activity going on was as people pulled their boats out of the water and on to their waiting trailers to go home. I was feeling over heated again and thirsty so started wandering off to the car when a women on a waiting boat shouted to me and the Aussie that there was a crocodile pretty much right next to the boat eating a barramundi! I rushed back and there it was sat under the trees digesting its dinner.

Lurking

I took a few photos whilst it went under the water and back up but as I stepped closer to get a picture it disappeared.

We hung around a bit more and saw a crocodile swimming across the billabong and back right where the boats were moving around looking for fish. It was very exciting to see them, and also not to be eaten by one of course!

Prowling

We headed back to the car and back out of the car park and on both sides of the roads there were so many Wallabies and Kangaroos I was in my element as they are one of my favourite Aussie animals!

Yes

I love that they are so nosey and just can’t resist standing up and watching you and they always look very cool.

Bath Time

We also saw lots of birds and think that this might possibly be a Jabiru. It looked like a very tall bird even from a distance and the way it was catching fish by practically thrusting its head in to the water would definitely make you glad to be far away from it!

Jabiru

Finally we stopped of at the Corroboree Park Tavern for a frankly epic sized steak sandwich and on the way out found they had some very cute looking buffalo and a few more nosey kangaroos!

No Bull

How Can We Help You

I also decided to link up with Keep Calm and Blog on for Tea Party Tuesday!

The Rules:
1. Link up ANY post and link back here.
2. Follow Keep Calm and Blog On and your co-hosts.
3. Visit at least three other bloggers below and say hello.

Sip your tea and nibble your crumpets – let’s hop to it… #teapartytuesday

Keep Calm and Blog On
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Winter ABC

I’ve seen lots of blog posts with people’s ABC of Spring, however here in Darwin we are just about to hit Winter as soon as the wet season is over so I thought I would write my ABC of Winter.

I would do Winter although we are kind of in the in between stage of Summer and Winter but we don’t really seem to have Autumn just a lot of storms.

I tried to do it as things I am looking forward to happening but also things I hope will happen as well.

A is for Adventure – now the weathers not so rainy we can go out exploring and adventuring. There are lots of places close to home where we drive past the roads and I ask “what’s down there?” the Aussie isn’t sure either so now we shouldn’t get stuck in the mud so much we can go explore.

B is for bites – and the hopeful reduction of bites when I am outside. I have spent most of the wet season covered in bites all over my legs and arms. I even had to go to the Doctors a couple of times to get some cream to help heal the bites as the itching was driving me crazy. Hopefully when the rain stops the mozzies will leave me alone.

C is for Crocodiles – I am really hoping that we manage to find a croc or two around so I can see them in their natural environment. I will also say it is for camping as I really want to buy some camping equipment so me and the Aussie can head of for a day or two and explore the Northern Territory.

Basking

D is for Driving – I’m hoping that me and the Aussie and also my Aussie friends get to go on a few road trips over the next few months. I really want to visit Katherine, the Mary River, Kakadu, Coroboree amongst many other places in the Northern Territory.

E is for Entertainment – Darwin has a Deckchair Cinema where you sit out under the stars watching a movie or two. We didn’t make it here last dry season but hopefully we will do this year! We went to a screening of the Great Escape at one of the Yacht Clubs last year and it was so cool so this is a must.

F is for Family – my Mum, Dad and Brother will be flying to Australia in June to visit me for 2 weeks and I cannot wait to see them but also to show them around Darwin so they can see where I live and why I like the Northern Territory so much.

G is for George Brown Botanical Gardens – this is one of those places on the to-do list that gets pushed aside for other activities. I’m hoping we make it down there soon as the photos make it look so beautiful.

H is for Home – hopefully before the dry season is finished me and the Aussie will have found a house in the City so our commute to work or to do anything really is reduced and an indoor bathroom would be bliss!

I is for Idea – in that I have no idea what to do for I!!!

J is for Jumping Crocodiles – there are lots of places out towards the Adelaide River where you can go on a boat tour and see the crocodiles in their more natural habitat and being fed. When they jump they jump pretty scarily high. This is on the to do list when my family are here and I’m looking forward to getting out there and have our whole day planned!

Croc Jump Collage 4

K is for Kakadu National Park – this place is on my need to do and do it soon list. It looks stunning from the photos I have seen and we are hoping to get there during the dry season.

L is for Lyons Cottage – this place is also called British Australian Telegraph House and is an early example of Darwin architecture. I’ve walked past the place a few time and it looks quite interesting, especially as Darwin is being expanded so that combined with Cyclone Tracey means there’s not so many old buildings left. It’s closed at the moment apparently but hopefully we’ll make it there.

Lyons Cottage Darwin
(Image from here)

M is for Mindil Markets – On 24 April the Mindil Beach markets began again and I am really looking forward to visiting again as often as possible. The market runs every Thursday and Sunday evening during the dry season and you can find all kinds of delicious food, buy lots of lovely nick nacks and listen to the great performers that they have each week. I can almost taste the Laksa!

N is for Northern Territory Parliament House – this building is called the Wedding Cake due to its design and looks pretty cool even from the sea (photo below). You can do tours around it and its free (always a winner) and I quite fancy a peak around there especially when you hear about some of the things that go on in there!

Parliament House

O is for Oil Storage Tunnels – these are storage tunnels used during World War 2. I think that they will be really interesting to visit, probably with the Aussie and my family when they are here (I think they might need a holiday to get over this holiday you know!)

P is for Photography – of course! I have just become a committee member for my camera club and so hopefully this will help me broaden my photography as well as meet new people. I’m planning on entering a few Darwin based photography competitions as well so who knows what will come of that.

Q is for Queues – or avoiding them. The end of April is the start of the tourist season here so I’m expecting a few queues out and about to get in to places.

R is for Rodeo – At a place called Noonamah (yep that’s its real name) they have a Rodeo during the Dry Season and I am going to drag the Aussie there to watch it when it starts!

S is for Studying – in order for me to qualify to practice in Australia I have to do some studying. I’m going to sort my visa out first but once that is done I’ll be looking in to the courses I need to study, choosing the best University to do it and then getting down to studying. I’m a bit anxious about having to study because whenever I have tried distance learning before I have not been very good at it but hopefully as I really want to qualify this will help spur me on.

T is for Tea – well Devonshire Cream Tea’s to be precise! When I was at the museum a few weeks ago I heard a lady talking about how somewhere they are doing Devonshire Cream Teas around Darwin. Now this is like a little piece of my home and I would love to find somewhere to have some. I didn’t hear where though and so did a bit of googling research and discovered they do them at Burnett House on a Sunday afternoon so I am going to drag the Aussie and/or my Family when they are here to go find the magical Devonshire cream tea’s!

devonshire cream tea
(Image is from here)

U is for UK – as I will be visiting for a couple of weeks in September to see my family, friends and go to my friends wedding where I will be reading for her and her hubby to be.

V is for Visa – the ongoing process will hopefully be well underway shortly if not by the end of the Winter.

W is for Weather – I go on and on and on about the weather I know but after the humidity and sometimes non stop rain of the wet season I am really really looking forward to the dry season kicking in properly.

X is for Xhausted – I know terrible choice but I couldn’t think of anything and if I make it through this list I think there is a fairly chance of exhaustion so I will go with it!

Y is for Yum (yeah I know I suck at this game) – In other words trying new foods. Before I got to Darwin I was a bit adventurous and would try new food when the opportunity had arisen. In Darwin the food choices are vast and so I have tried lots of new things that are out of this world. I had tried what I thought was Thai food and wasn’t too keen but then tried some hear and it was so so good I am always looking for an excuse to have more and it’s not just Thai food you find here there are so many choices so I hope we get out and about and try new things often.

My new fave food

Z is for Zoo – I’m not sure if you would class it as a zoo but they have lots of zoo animals so I’ll go with it being a zoo when I say that i want to visit Crocodylus Park in Darwin. I think we’ll save this for my parents visit but we definitely have to get there during this winter.

That took a while and some pushing of boundaries with the letters! What is your ABC for the season?

Road Trip Part 2 – Mary River

Back out on the road again to drive about 2km’s we headed back towards Mary River. There is a boat ramp just by the bridge across the river but we decided to pop in to the Mary River Wilderness Retreat. The retreat has accommodation for visitors but we discovered that for just $5 each we could visit as day visitors and get to enjoy quite a lot of the facilities available including the swimming pool.

There are 3 walks that you can do at the resort; the Wallaby Walk which is 1.5km and easy to cycle around after seeing lots of children and families doing it, the bamboo walk which is about 4km’s and the last one whose name we can’t remember which is an extension of the bamboo walk and 8km’s in length. The 8km was closed was closed (“sadly”) as it was still a bit wet to clear the path for access but we went for a wander around the Wallaby Walk and bamboo walk, well I did half of the bamboo walk because I was a little bit overheated but the Aussie did most of it.

Both walks are very scenic and in places you get views over the Mary River as well as the billabongs around and about and allegedly there are crocodiles around (I only say allegedly because we didn’t see any – we were assured there are lots around the river and we were shown a picture of a crocodile that had been literally bitten in half by another crocodile and left on the banks of the river).

Wallaby Walk:
You wander along the track and about of a third of the way along you can cross the swing bridge to look at the billabong before carrying on your journey around the main track.

On the Road to the Wallabie Walk (2)

This bridge is across a billabong where a crocodile lives. It’s literally in among the plants growing out of the billabong so your very close to the crocodile if it is in there as you walk across! Sadly none were seen.

Swing Bridge

There’s a crocodile out there somewhere in the billabong but we didn’t see it. Even my usual method of throwing a stone in (I seem to think this will make the crocodiles think that a person just fell in) didn’t work.

Waiting by the Billabong

Bamboo Walk:
This is the longer walk that was open and begins with a wire fence and door that you have to walk through to gain access! No idea why but did wonder if it was a bit Narniaesque!

Doorway to the River

Along the path we had some nice views of the river.

Mary River Minus Crocodiles(1)

We also saw some cockatoo’s and red winged parrots that were very pretty looking and these are the male parrots.

Red Winged Parrott

There were also some butterflies fluttering around looking very pretty. I quite like butterflies so am always very pleased to see them around. I was explaining to the Aussie that I’d like for one to land on my hand but would probably freak out if one did!

Wings

I was very impressed by this “bugs” cleverness in finding the gap between the lid and seal to locate water. Only after the Aussie returned from his extra walk was it noticed that this is in fact a mosquito – yep I hate them and didn’t even realise. In defence of the mosquito, it didn’t try and bite me even though I was close!!!

Thirsty

There was a very pretty bamboo walk along the way back surrounded by beautiful bamboo archways and magical looking billabongs. The Aussie thought I should get really close to the edge of the water to see the lily pads but I thought this might not be the best choice given the proximity of crocodiles.

Magical Billabong

Finally a proper look at the river which was not so pretty looking but is full of barramundi apparently.

Bridge over the Mary River

Road Trip Part 1 – Bark Hut Inn

There are a few places more towards Kakadu that me and the Aussie have been meaning to visit for ages and I had heard such good things about them I wanted to get out there to explore. Due to the long weekend for ANZAC Day we decided to head out on the road yesterday to see what we could see.

We did everything in a day topped off by some star gazing with the Aussie’s Brother but there is so much to talk about i’m going to break the posts down in to 2 or 3 I think.

Our plan was to head to the Mary River and then back to Darwin via Corroboree.

Road Trip

When we got towards Mary River we saw a sign for the Bark Hut Inn so carried on about 2km down the road and paid a visit. The Inn is about half way between Darwin and Kakadu on the Arnhem Highway.

I’m really glad we went as it was a really interesting place to visit. The hut was built when hunting buffalo and crocodile was much more popular in the Northern Territory. There are proper trucks used when catching the buffalo so you can see how wild it must have been racing around in that with just handles to hold on to.

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They also have a pair of buffalo’s who enjoy grazing on the land called Jack and Jill. They were very sweet looking and didn’t seem to mind living with the grumpy looking birds (Emu’s maybe?)!

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Jack and/or Jill!

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Very grumpy bird who “growled” at me!

There was also information about things like Darwin’s involvement during World War 2 and the cattle industry around the Inn as well as famous travellers.

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I also really liked that they have a wall where tourists and members of staff have written messages about their time at the hut. The messages seemed to be from all over and it amused me that people could say absolutely anything but many involved the word “f**k”, very charming!

Bark Hut Inn Wall

We stopped for brunch and the staff were all very nice and helpful so it is definitely a good place for a stop if your visiting Mary River or even heading on further towards Kakadu on the Arnhem Highway.

Anzac Day

On 25 April of every year it is ANZAC Day in Australia and marks marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.

Anzac Day We Will Remember Them

The Australian and New Zealand forces landed on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. The campaign dragged on for eight months and by the end of it over 8,000 Australian and 2500 New Zealender soldiers had been killed.

ANZAC Day first took place at the end of World War 2 and now also recognises Australia’s losses of life in other conflicts since 1915.

ANZAC Day has become a day of national remembrance which begins with Dawn Commemorative services which was the time of the original landing in 1915 and later in the day servicemen and women take part in marches in cities and towns all across the Country.

Anzac Day March

I didn’t really know much about ANZAC Day until I got to Australia last year but being from the UK and recognising and respecting Armistice Day on 11 November and Remembrance Sunday each year I wanted to make sure that I learnt what it means because it is such an important day.

It is amazing to see the respect that is given to ANZAC Day by everyone here and it definitely brings home just what our Armed Forces do every day to keep us safe.

Anzac Day

Mindil Beach Sunset Markets

So it must be the dry season or just about as Mindil Beach Sunset Markets started yesterday! The Aussie tells me it’s not the dry season yet as that doesn’t start till May so we shall see.

Crowds at Mindil Beach Markets

They run from the last Thursday of April to the last Thursday of October each year and start and end the season with a fireworks display which judging by last nights show is pretty awesome.

This is one of my favourite places to visit in Darwin and I will admit I was excited about the markets starting again as it gives us something great to do on a Thursday night after work when we’re waiting to pick up the Aussie’s brother from the airport.

News Reporter
(Even the weather forecast was from Mindil Beach)

I really enjoy visiting the markets because they have heaps of stalls selling everything from picture postcards to cattle whips if thats your thing, mementos for your trip to Darwin, clothes, art work and there is also the most amazing food and drinks on sale there.

Mindil Beach Market

The food stalls all run along the back of the market and you walk down there and are tempted by all of the delicious foods. I’ve seen everything from ice-cream’s and smoothies made to your specifications to kangaroo and crocodile, pizzas, sushi, oysters, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian, Mexican the whole lot. It is sometimes near impossible to choose what to eat so you end up trying a little bit from a few different stall holders.

Stalls at Mindil Beach Markets

Last night we had roast duck with pak choi and rice which was so fully of flavour it was amazing. I also love to try the Laksa’s and will have one the next time we visit.

Dinner Choices

There are also always live performers so you get to listen to great unknown singers, people who juggle, fire performers and like last night an angry looking green mermaid!!!

They also have an area where bands perform and last night we watched a group called Room 105 who were pretty great but have also seen bands from the Australian Armed Forces as well as local and not so local groups.

Mindil Beach Sunset

Another great thing about the market is it is right next to Mindil Beach so you can go and do some shopping, choose your dinner and then go sit on the beach watching the sunset and eat it.

Sunset at Mindil Beach

What’s not to love?

Telly Addict

It’s funny, I’ve just realised that other than briefly having the tv on when we have stayed in a hotel (and not really watching it then because the Aussie was watching the Ashes or some other sport thing) or if it’s on in a pub where we visit, I haven’t really sat down and watched tv properly since Christmas Day (couldn’t miss the Queens Speech or Doctor Who!).

Telly Addict
(Image from here)

I have no idea what’s happening in all of the popular shows unless their talked about on Facebook or the radio and to be honest the one time I tried to turn the tv on in our house it was unplugged at the mains (we have to unplug the electrical stuff when we are going out for a while in case we get thunder or lightening when we are out cause it might blow the socket) and I have no idea where the plug socket is or where the aerial is, didn’t fancy hunting around with the spiders round the back and couldn’t be bothered to ask for help.

I do sometimes watch shows online but not very often. I do of course go to the movies a lot but that’s not the same really.

I don’t feel like I’m missing out too much as we listen to the radio in the car so I know what is happening in the news but I used to watch the TV a lot in the UK when I got home from work and on the weekends and would hate it if I missed one my favourite shows! Although there is something nice about sitting with your family and watching tv with all the comments that go on like in this program on channel 4 in the UK:

At the moment we have the radio on and the Aussie is reading on the sofa whilst I mess around on the computer (I should be doing visa stuff but can’t be bothered tonight!) its nice and chilled out and relaxed.

I’ve cooked dinner and we always talk over dinner focusing on each other without the distraction of the TV and often sit at the table for a while after we finish talking. We used to spend several hours a day talking via Skype and Viber and dinner time has replaced those times I think.

It used to seem strange if someone didn’t watch TV when we were growing up but I don’t think I miss it that much, at least at the moment.