August 12th 2016 – Outback Tour Day 3 of 10

Today we got to wake up a bit later than usual; this time we had to be on the road by 8:00am. I woke up at around 6:00am, and did my blog on my laptop, and then took photo’s of the sunrise. Alex asked me if I had vegemite before and I said yes but I thought it was disgusting. She said most people do it incorrectly, and that I should try it the way that she does it. She said the trick is butter, and way less than you think you need. I tried some and I liked it quite a bit actually.
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We got on the road a bit late today because of some arguments over who wanted window seats, and who wanted the front seats. Finally we got on the road around 8:15am. Our first stop was Adelaide River to refuel and get some coffee. Adelaide River had a lot of people flee to it from Darwin in 1942 when Darwin was attacked.
After refueling we headed towards Buley Rockhole and Florence Falls, with a few stops along the way. We also learned a lot of pretty interesting facts from Alex. To get to Buley Rockhole and Florence Falls we had to drive on Rum Jungle Road. Rum Jungle Road received its name from the nickname that a group of men received when they failed to show up for one of their rum deliveries. Rum deliveries were frequent nature during the gold rush, and a group of gentlemen were doing rum runs in the area, but failed to show up one day for one of their deliveries. Turns out they drank all the rum and went on a three day binger, and were have said to be caught in the rum jungle, and thus the road they frequently travelled received that name.
Along the way to Buley Rockhole we also passed some purple Turkey Bush, which can actually be used as a natural insect repellant by rubbing the leaf your skin. Some people even use the plant as a hallucinogen. Next we passed some magnetic termite pounds. They point north and south, with flat sides to the east and west. The sun shines on them in the morning and afternoon, and keeps the mound at an almost constant temperature of 30 degrees Celsius. The termites that build these mounds eat grass and dirt, and use their poop, grass, dirt, and saliva to build their mounds. We also learned that authentic Didgeridoo’s are made from wood that termites have eaten the inside out. Eventually we came to Buley Rockhole, where we swam for a white, and then we went onto Florence Falls, where we swam for a while, and took a short walk through a heavily treed and plants area.
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After that we went to Wangi Falls for lunch, where we had wraps made from leftovers, as well as some tuna, corn, and bean mix. I made my wrap out of leftover sausages. After lunch I helped wash dishes, and pack up the truck. We then went swimming in the lake underneath the falls. The water was actually quite warm compared to the other places that we stopped at, as well as quite shallow. A few of us then got coffee, and treats for the journey back to Darwin.
Alex dropped us off at the Youth Shack, where we are going to stay the night until the next leg of the journey. Five of our group of 16 will not be joining us on the next leg. I checked in and got the key to my private room, which I’m very glad I upgraded to because some of my tour travel mates showed me their rooms and they were really bad. Alex phoned ahead and got us some seats for dinner at a place called Monsoons, where for $15 I purchased a rump steak with beer, which was delicious. Ten of us ended up showing up for dinner, which was nice. We had dinner, had some drinks, and I said bye to the people that had to leave for the airport to go elsewhere. I also ended up doing some laundry, because I doubt I will have time or the capability to do it on the next two legs of the outback tour.
Check back tomorrow for the next part of my adventure!

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August 10th 2016 – Outback Tour Day 1 of 10

Today I was picked up for my tour at 6:40am by my guide named Alex. She’s been in the tourism industry for nearly a decade now. The day started with a 1.5 hour drive to our first stop in Corroboree where we get a ham and cheese sandwich for breakfast as well as a coffee, as well as some fuel.


The second stop, which was another 1.5 hours drive, was rockhole billabong along the Mary River. We went on a 1.5 hour river cruise, which was absolutely fantastic. Billabongs are similar to what we know as a swamp. They are only 3-4 meters deep on average, with a maximum depth of 8 metres. I saw a Darter bird, Lotus Lillies, Snowflake Lillies, Melaleuca trees, Jacanas (a small bird that can run on top of water lillies, rainbow bee eaters (a small beautiful colourful bird), whistling tree ducks, and a Jabiro (a large bird with a 1.5 metre wing span).


The third stop, a half hour away, was the south Alligator River where we had delicious burgers, and salad. I helped cook and clean dishes. There are a few areas that were not named correctly because they were named Alligator Instead of Crocodile. There are no alligators in Australia, and quite a few rivers and places have been named incorrectly.


On the way to our fourth stop we saw a bunch of old Citroen 2CV’s in a pack doing a road trip. It was interesting to see.

The fourth stop was another 40 minutes away. We stopped at the Ubirr art sites. This is an area belonging to the indigenous people. There was a ton of old paintings dating back as far as 4000 years ago and as early as 180 years ago, when the white man set foot in Australia. I learned a few neat things at this site. When an indigenous person dies they get wrapped in paper bark (Melaleuca tree bark) and taken somewhere high to decompose and then they take the bones and wrap it in more paper bark and bury. The famous paintings all have a story behind them such as sickness, or beware of the white man, beware of the dingos, beware of thieves, etc. There was on that was a health warning about moving the rocks because they will make you sick. Turns out the rocks were making them sick because they contained high amounts of uranium, and we have modern science to back that up, but they only knew something wasn’t right because they were getting sick. This prompted them to paint a painting on the rock to warn the others. All the paintings on the rocks are done with a paste made from a mixture of ochre and water. We also got a chance to overlook the beautiful area all around us, and all I can say is it was absolutely stunning. Take a look for yourself.


The fifth spot, 40 minutes away, was Jabiru where we refilled the truck again, and got some ice cream. We have to refuel the truck a lot because it only has a 100 litre tank and the truck is massive and heavy.

The sixth and final spot today was the camp. It took us about an hour to get to but along the way we saw a tragic accident involving one of the 2CV’s we saw earlier where the vehicle got ripped to shreds and the people died on impact. It shook us all up so Alex said we could all get some beers from the liquor store at the camp ground we were staying at.

I helped Alex unhook our trailer and park the truck, and then starter to cook dinner because she needed to setup camp for the others. Dinner was a delicious chicken stir fry. After dinner a few of us helped do the dishes. We then heard a loud bang, and went outside the kitchen tent to take a look. A family was trying to park their RV but was failing miserably because they hit a tree. I took over for them and successfully parked it and they thanked me. Alex told me her boyfriend, who is also a tour guide, was staying elsewhere in the camp, so I could have her posh tent because she was just going to bunk with him. My even more upgrades tent had a nice mattress, a fan, and a place to charge my phones. I gladly accepted it and couldn’t be any happier.

Tomorrow we’re off to The Jim Jim River. I may or may not have service to update my blog but check back later for the next step in my adventure!

These photos are just taken with my iPhone but I will upload a blog at the end of this tour with all of my good SLR photos.

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