The largest Crocodile skull in the world is carefully stored in a Russian museum. Probably temperature controlled. Guarded by some enormous Babushka with arms bigger, and hairier, than my wee Scottish legs.
The second largest is lying around in a pub just outside of Darwin. Ha!
Oh, and in a wee enclosure behind the pub, where we were camped, was a 4.5metre salt water crocodile called Brutus. He was, freakin’ enormous! We picked up Aunty Emily from the airport, and brought her back to our classy abode.
The next morning we packed up, and 2o minutes later we were on the banks of the Adelaide river, about to board the Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Tour. As the guy on our Daintree Crocodile Cruise had told us, the laws up here are a little lax compared to the rest of the world, so they’re allowed to feed Crocodiles in the wild.
Even boarding the boat, we were told to be careful.
“There are large Crocodiles living under the pontoon, and if you stick your hand out over the edge, these guys can jump up and grab you. Don’t do that.” he said.
No problem mister. I’ll just hold onto Skye then. We boarded, and there were two rows of seats facing toward the edge. We were told NOT to leave our seats, and then we headed up stream. Straight away we saw a massive Crocodile over the other side of the river, but he said he was going to give that one a miss. Oh. OK.
He found a female lying on a bank, she swam out as we approached and this woman hung a bit of meat over the edge on a stick. Eventually the crocodile used its tail to propel out of the water, grabbed the meat, and it was done.
We did this a few times. Once with a gnarly old Croc who couldn’t be bothered, and then on the way back they threw bits of meat up to the Kites, which swooped down and grabbed them out of the air.
I was expecting it to be, as the name suggests, spectacular. But it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong it was pretty good. But it wasn’t as exciting as watching the crocodile just cruise up the Yellow River in Kakadu.
I don’t know, something about the forced nature of it, as opposed to the natural encounter we had only days before. I think if we’d seen a huge crocodile jump out the water and snap his jaws right in front of us, then fair enough. But we didn’t. We saw a few smallish Crocs reluctantly jump for a few little bits of meat, and one old fella who couldn’t be arsed. Even though we were told it’s natural behaviour for these guys, it just didn’t feel right.
Anyhoo, jumping crocodile cruise complete, it was off to Litchfield National Park for a bit more wilderness, and Katie’s seventh birthday party 🙂
We set up camp at Florence Falls, had a bit of lunch and then we couldn’t keep Katie off the presents any longer. Emily had some gifts, Granny had posted a few and when they were combined with ours, there was a good spread for her to get stuck into. We had cake. We had party masks. Katie had made invitations. It was lovely.
And now in the back of the car, in addition to the rope, whip and cowboy hat, we have a bow and arrow.
Litchfield was nice, but compared to Kakadu it seemed a little tame. There were lots of waterfalls. A cool rock formation called the Lost City that felt like something out of an Indian Jones movie. A fair few termite mounds.
Nothing that blew your mind though.
Three days camping, and it was time to head to the big smoke.
It was Thursday when we arrived and the famous Mindil Beach Night Markets were on, so we ordered a taxi, and off we went.
The sunset was beautiful, the crowd was chilled out and very diverse. There was mix of Aboriginies, Asians, Indians, all sorts happily getting along with each other. I loved it. There was wonderful food, great music and wide array of crafts too. A fantastic first taste of Darwin.
Off to the waterfront the next day and it was just like being in Sydney. Fancy and overpriced, but quite nice. Erin took the girls for a swim, and Emily and I went to the Royal Flying Doctors Museum, which was unexpectedly, brilliant.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service is a unique Ambulance service that picks up anyone, from virtually anywhere in Australia, and takes them to the nearest hospital which could be thousands of miles away. They cover 80% of Australia’s landmass with a fleet of 60 purpose built single prop airplanes.
Having driven through some of the more remote parts of this country, I can well understand how important this service would be if you were living on a cattle station. Without it, an accident that could easily handled with the right treatment, could become life threatening pretty quickly.
It makes you realise how much Australians are committed to looking out for each other. Well. In the bush that is. In the city it’s still every man for himself. But the vast distances involved in the majority of this country, I think, has contributed to the concept of ‘mateship’ that many Australian’s demonstrate and hold dear. And the RFDS really encapsulates that.
They also had a set of virtual reality goggles that put you in the middle of Darwin when it was bombed during WWII. I’d never had a set of these on before, and the experience was actually quite emotional.
The bombing took place 10 weeks after Pearl Harbour, and was planned by the same general. I didn’t really know that much Darwin’s involvement in the war effort before heading up here, so it was all very interesting.
The next day we went to the wave pool which was only $27 for a family, for the whole day, and there was free parking at the weekend! Sydney take note.
Eventually Emily left, we had another few days in Darwin getting ready, and we met our friend Jo again!
Now, time to get going. Western Australia and the Gibb River Road is calling – another one of those iconic 4WD trips that might shake your vehicle to pieces, but the places it takes you, are unbelievable.
Oh yeah 🙂