(strap yourself in because this is a long one)
So I wanted to share with you some of the details of my most recent trip where I spent just under 2 weeks in the Northern Territory, Australia. So I booked this tripped relatively last minute after one of my late night epiphanies, which is generally how I make most of decisions. You know, because you obviously think clearest when you’re overtired, right?! Well anyway, I realised that I had all these ambitions to go to visit different places all over the globe but I had only been to 3 of the 8 states and territories within Australia. So I got out of bed, put on my slumbies (which are like the love child of a sock and a slipper aka amazing) and started looking at tours online.
Anyway, I got side tracked… the point here is I WENT TO NT and it was seriously amazing (probably not as amazing as my slumbies but still pretty good). I originally thought that NT would be a place that I would like to make my way around on my own, but for time saving reasons I booked a trip with Contiki and I was super happy with my decision. It was such a great way to meet so many wonderful people, one of which I actually hunted down at Sydney airport when I noticed her boarding the same flight with Contiki pouch in hand, I then recruited some more girls at Alice Springs when I saw their Contiki bag tags… yeah, I’m a stalker. Though it worked out well in the end because we all went adventuring and did shots together later that evening.
So you’ve probably gathered that our trip started in Alice Springs, which was such a really chill little city. We kicked off our trip by making all of the touristy stops around town such as Simpsons Gap, Anzac Hill Lookout and the reptile centre, where I met Ziggy the olive python. I’m still not sure how I feel about this encounter, although I did come out of it pretty well considering Ziggy weed on one of the other girls…and I don’t know if you’ve seen a snake wee before, but it was like a water balloon of foul smelling jelly exploded onto the floor… nasty stuff. But that was Alice.
From Alice Springs we made our way across to Kings Creek Station and spent the night here camping in swags under the stars. I’m pretty sure I was the only one to have a good sleep here being an experienced swagger, although it didn’t give me to much of advantage since we were up at 3:45am to make the sunrise at Kings Canyon. Despite the early rise I perked up pretty quickly from excitement for the hike, I was maybe a little to excited though given that the boys and I ended up a good 2kms ahead and on the opposite side of the canyon to the rest of the group and where we were supposed to be when the sunrise came. It did work in our favour however ‘cause we had ample time to take plenty of snaps as we eased our way around the rest of the rim walk. With a total of just under 10km of fairly easy hiking, this track is definitely something I’d recommend if you’re ever in the area, and going early isn’t such a bad idea because not only is it ‘really really ridiculously good looking’ the temperature rises just as quickly as the sun.
After finishing up our walk we returned to the station to swiftly roll up our swags and pile back into the coach to make our way to Ulara, which is the small town just out from Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. For this part of the trip our guide focused on exposing us to as much aboriginal culture as he physically could, and boy did he do a good job of it. So obviously Uluru is a pretty awesome natural land formation being this giant piece of rock sticking out of the ground surrounded by complete flatness, like what?! Although its cultural significance to the local Aboriginal people is what really makes it, and again, props to our guide for managing to over load us with an outrageous amount of historic, geographic and cultural information about this site. Now, if you think Uluru is mind blowing…. then just hold onto your hat because just across from Uluru is Kata Tjuta, and this site is seriously out of this world… Literally… because it is believed that Kata Tjuta was to have been the ‘portal’ (as such) to the spirit world of Aboriginal ancestral beings. This is such a sacred site to the local Aboriginal people that most of the legends surrounding Kata Tjuta are kept secret and only shared to those with the appropriate level of initiation, so it’s a pretty special place. I have not even been able to touch the surface to explain these places, so if you ever go to visit I recommend that you don’t just go and look at the beauty of it although take the time to learn about them from all points of view ie culturally, scientifically, geographically, everythingally, and I promise you will get so much more from it.
Now I’m going to skip ahead so just imagine this next bit as a little montage as we work out up the Northern Territory. And go…
*Sunset champagne at Uluru, making a lot of noise taking A LOT of pictures…enjoying a hearty meal of emu, crocodile, and kangaroo… Night time light display at Uluru… leaving Ulara making multiple stops at servos and small towns along the highway including Devils Marbles, Wycliffe Well… spending the night at Tennant Creek squashed into a hotel room watching Wolf Creek… visiting Daly Waters Pub… A whole lot of sweating, walking, swimming, shooing flies, photo taking… taking a dip in Mataranka Thermal Pools… staying at Katherine for the night… back in the coach, off to stay a few nights at and explore Kakadu National park via foot, bus, crocodile boat spotting tour and scenic flight… and swimming at Edith falls*
Now just add the picture of me giggling, pretty much the whole time, throughout all of these … and then we’ll find ourselves at Lichfield National Park.
Lichfield National Park, and in particular Florence Falls is a pretty gorgeous spot. We stopped here on our way to Darwin for a dip under the …wait for it … TWO waterfalls flowing into the plunge pool, and despite the obvious smell of some sort of dead animal (we never did find the source thankfully) it was a really pretty pristine. A discovery was made by one of the girls that you could actually swim under and up behind the waterfall which sounds amazing and I’ll admit it was pretty cool, but the reality of this was being constantly belted to the face with water, while being trapped between a rock wall and water fall which gives you the same audial sensation as someone banging a drum right next to your ear, it definitely made for some good memories though. After posing for a few photos and getting a tutorial on how to save someone from drowning (by one of the girls who is a life guard) we were back to the coach to make our way to our final stop of Darwin.
11 days and 7 stops later we found ourselves in Darwin for our last location. By this stage we had managed to form lots of pretty strong bonds within the group, so the thought of splitting up tugged on the heartstrings just a little, but we made the most of it and hit the town for last night together. Down at the local bar Monsoons we danced the night away, kept ourselves hydrated and played a few ‘party’ games… one of which I won, so if you ever need to pick up a piece of paper of the ground using only your mouth then hit me up, cause I’m your girl. Then after a little stroll around town we were back to the hotel to enjoy our first and last real sleep in of the tour. After lots of goodbyes, best wishes and hugs we were all off on our separate ways and the trip came to an abrupt end, we were definitely together for a good time, not a long time although I’m so thankful to have met everyone one of the people on my tour even though it was for only 12days.
Overall I had such a great time over in the NT which was very much credited to the beautiful people I was surrounded by, so a huge shout out to my NT fam. This trip has left me very keen to do some exploring more of Aus (and beyond) and I would definitely encourage you to do the same.
A big thank you to you for dropping in for a read, I hope you were entertained. If you have any comments/feedback/a story to share then don’t hesitate in sending me an email or leaving a comment.
Stay tuned for my next big adventure on a Christmas Cruise with the family around the South Pacific.
Annie Charlotte xx
I will upload a little gallery of my time in NT soon for your visual pleasure, but until then you can satisfy yourself by giving my instragram (@wandererfromaus) a stalk via the link at the bottom of the page.