Hello Outback

This was originally posted on The Lady Errant blog a month or so a go. The Lady Errant is a blog written by Elle and Elle has invited bloggers around the world to write a post for her Hello World Series about the place where they live and I wrote a post about living in the Outback.

When I initially signed up for the Hello World blog posts I planned to write about places I like to visit in Darwin but decided that I would prefer to talk more about my experience of moving from living in a large town in Somerset in the UK to the outback in Australia.

I moved to Darwin to live with my boyfriend in August 2013 initially fro a year until I applied for him to sponsor my visa.

Luckily I had visited Darwin and the house where we ended up spending the first year of our life together in Darwin before or it may have been a bit of a shock to the system.

My boyfriend “the Aussie” used to joke and call me a Princess because I liked the mod cons of life in a city or town. I was/am petrified of spiders and was well aware that they would become a large part of our home life, particularly when the Aussie told me he would have to clean the cobwebs out of our bedroom before I arrived!

The house and it’s setting was very outdoorsy and I will say it was a brilliant experience for me. We were lucky to be offered a place to stay together with the Aussies brother. However the Aussie had to build us a toilet before I arrived because the previous version had burnt down over a year before when I had visited for a holiday. Obviously I was lucky to have a toilet at all bearing in mind the house was literally surrounded by bush and numerous wild animals. I haven’t even asked what the Aussie did for the year in between.

Toilet

We also had an outdoor shower which whilst sounding a bit wild was actually pretty nice; I’m sure people pay a lot of money on holiday to have a nice shower setting with a lovely view. The only downside was that it was popular for spiders to move in which made showers a bit nerve racking early in the morning or late at night. I also ended up with a green tree frog on my shoulder during one shower which definitely got the heart racing for me and the cute little frog!
Green Tree Frog Picture
It was also an interesting experience not to have a formal kitchen area. The Aussie bought us a BBQ before I arrived and so I had lots of interesting moments tying to master cooking on a BBQ. I managed to cook an array of semi decent meals including Christmas dinner and a sponge cake!
Christmas Dinner Pic
The wildlife was always great fun, we had a children’s Python visit the house twice (that we know of!), lots of spiders including massive tarantula like spiders, kangaroos that would literally come up to the bedroom window and a bandicoot that we called Alex and who would come running anytime I cooked sausages and would eat from the Aussies hand.

Kangaroo Picture

Living in the outback/rural area was quite the adventure and I am glad that I got to live that kind of lifestyle for a year. We moved into the middle of Darwin city just over two months ago and I am loving being in the heart of city life again.

I probably would not choose to live in such a rural setting again (please take note Mr Aussie) but I know it as well as finally living with the Aussie has helped change me for the better. We went from country bumpkins to city slickers in one move!

So I would say that if you ever see me say I am moving to the rural area you have permission to shake me and say what the heck are you doing but would recommend trying out living in the rural area if the opportunity presents itself!!

 

button 250

Bonfire Heart

Me and the Aussie went to watch James Blunt in concert this week in Darwin with a couple of my friends and I have to say he was pretty amazing! Much better than I expected and I do like his music quite a bit.

20140607-213915-77955225.jpg

He was also supported by an Aussie band called Busby Marou who were really cool as well. I recognised a few of their songs and have stuck their album on the download list so I can listen to them again.

20140607-214040-78040898.jpg

James was a really good entertainer bouncing around the stage and switching between his guitar, banjo and piano and really engaged with the audience. He even made sure that those in the front few rows could still see properly when a lot of people in the audience surged forward to the front which was pretty cool of him.

20140607-214147-78107165.jpg

He played all his big hits and some I didn’t know as well but that didn’t matter as they were great songs.

20140607-214234-78154911.jpg

At one stage the audience demanded that he sign Beautiful and his response was well of course I will but at the end I don’t want you all leaving yet and he was true to his word.

20140607-214346-78226011.jpg

I was also very happy as he played my current favourite song Bonfire Heart. I have that song on repeat sometimes on the iPhone and it was an amazing last song.

20140607-214346-78226452.jpg

I don’t think anyone would have been disappointed by the show and would highly recommend going to see him if you get the opportunity.

20140607-214345-78225074.jpg

I asked the Aussie if he enjoyed it and he said it was a lot better than he expected which is good going seeing as James Blunt is really not his style of music. I spotted him taking videos and photos so I think he liked it quite a bit!

20140607-214345-78225556.jpg

Visit from a Green Tree Frog

So this afternoon I decided I was going to “pop” into the city (aka drive 70+ km’s) as I wanted to look for some gifts to send to one of my blog link up partners.

I popped in the shower, got out wrapped my hair up in a towel, shook my other towel to make sure there were no bugs or spiders in it and got dry. Then I walked through the house, had a chat with the Aussie and then looked for something to wear. I sit down on the bed looked to the right, spot the green tree frog sat on my shoulder. Yep sat there like it’s the most normal thing in the world.

I of course screamed and knocked him or her off my shoulder before remembering that I actually like green tree frogs a lot (except when they pee on you – yep one did that when I was trying to take a photo once) and that if he stayed in the house he’d die because of the lack of water.

20140518-221402.jpg
I tracked him down eventually and the Aussie rescued him and put him back on the shower rail outside where he sat there looking a bit shaken which is not surprising given his ordeal and let me take some pictures.

20140518-220604.jpg
I love his expression in this photo, it’s very you just screamed at me and threw me on the ground, I appreciate the rescue and all that but do you have to take photos!?!

20140518-221317.jpg

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

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.

10177284_10153185726417195_3976904425749356974_n

10313809_10153185725797195_1420362608235730692_n

10309755_10153185725937195_1841671417147932876_n

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?)!

1383307_10153185726662195_8862702120894065919_n
Jack and/or Jill!

10154344_10153185726102195_1035597600795708522_n
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.

10176097_10153185725652195_3449984284645492751_n

10176055_10153185725267195_499598625637508031_n

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.

Keep Calm and Carry on!

This morning I woke up at 2am feeling a bit hot and ready to grumble at the Aussie for turning the ceiling fan! Turns out he was also awake and that it was the electricity that had gone off and not the fan – good job I didn’t grumble I think poor guy!

To explain though we have an ongoing minor disagreement about my need for the ceiling fans, air conditioning etc to be on as often as I do. Whilst I have adjusted to the heat I just can’t sleep in 25 degree plus heat without the ceiling fan on and he cannot sleep with it on because of the sound and also because he gets too cold (though he does sleep!). Still if this is our only battle we’re doing pretty well I think.

Anyhow we have had a power cut now for about 7 hours and their expecting it to last up to a further 4 hours whilst they restore the problem. It’s affected the whole of Darwin right the way down to Katherine which is about 196 miles away according to google so it’s pretty widespread.

It was funny looking online at Facebook at 2am this morning until I drifted back off to sleep (turns out I can sleep without the ceiling fan after all ssssh!) and seeing all the complaint messages on the page for the power company but also understandable if your used to sleeping in air conditioning especially with young children who won’t settle because their hot.

The main problem for us was that our water works off a pump which runs of the electric which made having a shower tricky. However I was shown the shower which is literally a hose pipe linked to a shower head attached to a tree.

It was surprisingly pleasant even if the water wasn’t heated (which was handy given the hot sleep we had just had). I did worry about getting lost on the block as it was a bit of a windy path to get there but made it back in one piece!

I then got the news our office is shut until the power is back so am currently sat in the car at the beach watching the world go by which is a nice way to spend the morning.

20140312-092621.jpg