JT in the NT

July is miserably cold in Sydney. The actual temperatures are nothing compared to English winters, but the houses are not built to keep warmth in so it feels cold inside, which can really suck at times!
Therefore I have resolved to go north and get warm whenever the July holidays come around.
I still make the error of forgetting how huge this country is and how different the climate is in different areas, so the first thing I had to do when I arrived in Darwin was buy some lighter shorts. I relished the hot sweaty night, even though it was uncomfortable to sleep in. For the first day I lay lizard like absorbing the heat and sunshine, repowering my batteries. Then I set off for a “wilderness adventure” tour five days long around Kakadu, Katherine and Litchfield. It was a great introduction to the Northern Territory. We hiked up and down cliffs and swam in many waterfalls, slept in the open air and generally wore ourselves out-much too quickly according to Sean our tour guide (“this is a tour for active, fit people”). We saw some interesting sites with rock paintings too. When we got to the Katherine gorge we kayaked into it, which for me was a disaster-we could not get the hang off it and were extremely slow (even by my standards). When we eventually arrived at the first rest point in the gorge, my kayaking partner got out quickly and managed to capsize the boat with me still in it-I was not impressed! Unfortunately we knew we had further to go and then would have to make it back to the start in the boat without killing each other, which we somehow did-but hours later than everyone else! At Litchfield we started to have mechanical problems with the bus and all had to get out to push it every time we stopped! Litchfield is relatively close to Darwin so there were more tourists around and this was probably not a great advert for the company, who have now gone out of business.
As with all my trips to the outback parts of Australia, I was totally blown away by the vivid colours; the contrast of the white gum trees, deep green grasses and red stone/sand. The areas we went to were particularly lush after having had a very wet season, so there were also brightly coloured flowers and shrubs to add to the mix. This also meant that the waterfalls were pretty full and impressive looking. Many of them dry up in Winter usually.
Florence falls
The group were all around my age and good company. I think it’s a bit harder for the younger backpackers to get to, which was a relief for me. I got on particularly well with a group of English girls on the tour, and we then hung out for the next couple of days in Darwin. Went down to the sunset markets with them on Mindle beach, which should have been an easy walk, but took a lot longer due to stinking hangovers and the heat-but suffering with others is always preferable.


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