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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August 9th 2016 – Melborne and Darwin

Today i slept in a bit, which was wonderful. I feel like I have not been able to catch up on sleep since I started my trip due to the early mornings. I had a lazy morning at the hotel editing photos, writing my blog, and making breakfast (more eggs, ham, and cheese on toast).
I left the hotel at 10:00am and boarded the train into the Central Business District (CBD). When I arrived at Southern Cross Station in the CBD I put my large backpack in a locker for the day for $12. I walked around the lanes and arcades, as well as looked at more historic buildings. I was starting to get hungry at about 1:00pm so I went in search of a place where I could find some Kangaroo to eat. I found a Burger cafe that served a Kangaroo Outback burger. The burger was absolutely delicious, albeit pricey. $15 only gets you a burger without fries.

After I finished my burger I travelled north by tram to a park, which had a beautiful small conservatory, and some old buildings. I then travelled East, through the cricket stadium area, to the Royal Botanical Gardens, which are world renowned. There is a lot of art, and memorials dedicated to the men who served in the wars.

After that I walked through an artsy University area, and an area called South Bank (I think) before heading back to Southern Cross Station. I had two pints of beer and some noodles for dinner before going to get my bag from the locker.

After getting my bag from the locker I boarded a double decker express airport bus to the airport. The bus driver, who looked like he was about 16, was the most herky jerky driver I’ve ever experienced in my life. I was actually quite sick to my stomach by the time I got to the airport.

When I got to the airport I was given the good news that I could check my bag for free, which I ended up doing. The only downside is that I have to wait for my bag in Darwin after disembarking the plane.

My phone battery was dead so I sat down next to someone and plugged my phone into the wall next to her. She was laughing hysterically at a video she was watching so I asked her what she was watching. She said “Orange is the New Black”. We kept on talking television shows, politics etc., and then a bunch of other people joined in the conversation too, so it really helped to pass the time. It was about an hour before the flight now so I cleared security, which was the least busy security I’ve ever seen at an equivalent sized airport. I sat down near the gate and continued talking with the people.

It was time to board the airplane to Darwin at 9:00pm. I was handed a census form when boarding them airplane and was told it would be a $180/day (maximum of $1800) fine if I didn’t fill it out, and there would be census staff on the other end to collect the papers. I was told if I did not fill it out and was caught leaving the country without filling it out then I was subject to the $1800 fine. They seemed fairly strict, so I obliged and filled it out. It is a requirement to do the census even if you’re not an Australian citizen and just visiting the country.

The JetStar flight to Darwin was cramped but smooth. On arrival in Darwin I got my checked bag from the baggage carousel, and boarded an airport shuttle bus that delivered me right to the doorsteps of my hotel, called the Poinciana Inn. My room key was waiting for me an a safe in the wall, which I was given the key code for via email earlier on. Off to get about three hours of sleep before my outback adventures!

You may not hear from me for a few days due to the fact I probably won’t have service, but I know I will have service in three days. Check back regularly for the next installment of my great Australian adventure.

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.