Top End tourists

Darwin Travel Blog

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Next stop for the van Duijn family: Darwin and surrounds. We’ve hired a camper to get around and after my family picks me up from the airport we drive to Jabiru, a wannabe town in eastern Kakadu National Park. Kakadu’s beautiful, and it’s a shame we can’t see much from inside the camper. I love campers though. It’s probably for the same reason why I love aircraft toilets. Again, so much stuff fitted in to such a small space, everything’s in there and that on maybe 12 square meters. Buttons here, a closet there, more storage space under your seat, a secret compartment under there, it makes you wonder how they came up with all that.


We chill out and enjoy Kakadu for a couple of days before we go on a guided tour to Arhnemland, one of the biggest aboriginal ‘lands’. You can only get there with their permission, which means a guided tour. The cultural aspect of the tour is not for me. Same same rock paintings, each comes with a no fun fairytale. When we go to visit an aboriginal village it’s the limit for me; it’s like I’m waking in a zoo, checking out the funny little aborigines in their natural habitat. I reckon they’ll make a viewing platform pretty soon, with fences and signs about not feeding the aborigines. White men coming over to see a destroyed society. It disgusts me, but these tours do also create a much needed income for the communities. I’m torn on the subject, and I wouldn’t know if I would recommend a tour like this… The history part is alright, as are the rock paintings I guess, but going to the village to check out people, that just doesn’t work with me.


The day after our tour to the zoo we head to Katherine, stopping along the way at Yellow Waters to do a croc tour. The last time I was in Australia I went to see Rogue, an Australian made film about a super croc that’s unnaturally aggressive and attacks a stranded croc tour boat. In the end the hero manages to save the pretty girl from the jaws of death, but pretty much everyone else dies. I delight my family by replaying scenes of that film. Unfortunately for us we’re not attacked by a giant croc (robbing me of the opportunity to save a hot babe from certain death) but the Yellow Water scenery does make up for it. The sky stunningly reflects in the water and the birds are not to shy to show. Add the sun and a cocktail and you’re in heaven, add some thirty other tourists and a noisy boat and you’re in, well, Yellow Waters.


We soon arrive in Katherine the first thing on the program is, of course, the gorge. Katherine gorge is a pretty famous series of gorges (thirteen in total) close to Katherine. It’s a beautiful place and well worth a visit. You can canoe all the way up to the second gorge, carry your canoe for a bit and continue on to the third. We’re in a bit of a hurry but are still able to enjoy the scenery and chillax on the water. That afternoon we relax some more in the Katherine pools. Close enough to town a well provides water to a nicely constructed pool with different levels. It’s an A place to chill out, for tourists and locals alike. After spending a week in the Top End we have one national park left on our list; Litchfield. We pop by on the way from Katherine to Darwin and enjoy an hour or two at the excellent swimming hole created by the two waterfalls. It’s a great place, not too busy and very refreshing.


In Darwin we have a quick look around before we have to return the campervan. Packing our stuff is stressing, a million things are lost and belongings are packed in every bag available. We make it just in time and head to the airport for our afternoon flight to Sydney. I liked the outback and the national parks, but I can’t wait to go back to civilization! Traffic, queues, noise, energy, give it to me baby!

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photo by: Sunflower300