Currency is Australian $, 1GBP = approx Aus$2.4
sunday 17/03 (Rita writes)
We landed safely at darwin. How do they even get those monster planes off the ground anyway???
Arriving at 3.15am after no sleep - unlike uk- in oz we were able to book straight Into a self service budget accommodation in centre of Darwin-with bus transport waiting to take us to the very door!!!!!
Now that sort of switched on mentality-you only get in oz-DON'T YOU?-tell me if I am wrong.
Room is large, clean with all facilities
And at the hub of the darwin activity-excellent.
We crashed and eventually recovered
Briiliant sunshine greeted us and we wandered round a few liquid places thinking it was saturday, to explore town-bearing in mind we are leaving for timor at 4.15 pm following day(Mon 18/04).
What a smasing place this is.
Off to ayers rock. (Eventually)
By hire car a distance of about 2000kms, we have already passed 4 real cyclists doing the same trip.
We thouight we might catch the already famous ghan train, which runs from darwin to adelaide but at presently it only leaves on wednesdays which we could not fit in our schedule, sadly - next time.
Darwin was a very hospitable town with shedfuls of facilities, even the backpackers we used had pool and sauna and all a very high standard which we found here on our previous trip. But outside the town between darwin and katherine our first port of call is very little but miles of road,some little towns like pine creek and adelaide river all with their own tourist niche e.g. Rare bat caves, ww11 stes,national parks,aboriginal art gallleries etc...plenty of accommodation..
We arrived around 2.30 and picked up some provisions in wooworths, which are big here, booked into kookaburra bckpackers which turned out to be ideal with pool, close to points of interest and with kitchen facilities.
We cyled off to the knotts weir bridge over the katherine river and also visited the hot springs, so popular they even have wheelchair access.
Paul got some great shots of brown kites which are abundant here.
Katherine won the 2002 northern territory tidy town award and it certainly is. Its main attractions are Katherine gorge, the hot springs and knotts crossing and the llargest classroom in the world the Katherine school of the air where the students are taught by radio and distance educational material.
Delighted with excellent facilities Paul cooked up a stonking curry which was acompanied by a beer or three picked up ealier as we cycled through the drive- through beer shop!!!
Monday 25/04 karterine -tennants creek
Today is a public holiday for ANZAC dayand we started early to beat the heat and for the first hour saw no other vehicles.
Then we came across a wild boar which had been in a traffic accident and was in 3 pieces, one of which was being stripped by a huge eagle. An oncoming vehicle just then prevented us getting the all time classic photo as it flew off and by now it was getting too hot to sit around waiting for its return but it was a great sight.
Paul was driving when further on he was unable to avoid running over a 6-8 foot snake in our path- a black pith snake.
just short time later another smaller bird of prey dropped its catch some 15 feet in front of us. Crikey its better than a zoo.
Termite mounds everywhere along our route and still very few other vehicles. Termite mounds face north to south at their thinnest edge, this is to keep cool temperature inside the mound-fascinating!
We declined an aboriginal who was hitching a lift. Although pretty tidy you can't trust anybody in the outback.
We pulled in for petrol at Marantanka and got a grumpy reception, never mind, probably because we spotted the fuel was 1 dollar 29 per litre instead of 1.12 and we didnĂ˘Ââ„˘t fill her up.
Our thirsty little motor is a kia, which has all the gadgets including air con, thankfully and cruise control which Paul is enjoying playing with.
We stopped off at a world war 2 hospital site which turned out to be a slab of concrete with a "used to look like" picture and written account. There are lots of histoical and ww2 sites along the way.
Tues 26/04 tennants creek to alice
Devils bollocks visited (Some people think they're called the Devils Marbles, but we know better)
Wed 27/04 alice to ayers rock
After all road kill we saw live roo 2day
Saw sunset over ayers rock - not impressed.
Travel 2 melbourne
Dine out at bondies local.
Fri 29/04 short cycle-colds worsening
Paul meets lyn in melbourne
I collpse until seven. Fever stops - eat curry.
Me better, paul worse
Retreat 4 roast dinner.
Ok you're right, after having eaten our way through south east asia we moved on
to Oz and no doubt you have noticed our site is not really up to date at present.
Despite cough & colds caught travelling out from Darwin to Ayers rock via Katherine, Tennants Creek, Alice and Uluru we had a brilliant time in OZ including Tassie and yes we saw Ayers rock and correct it is a rock, but it left me unmoved, unlike the price of the
accommodation in the Uluru park nearby, blew our budget for the month. (Paul - it was nice)
We stayed with friends, Mike and Jane, in Melbourne which was hectic and although we
were suffering with coughs while there only managed just a few little things .......
> Welcome meal at All Nations pub
> mountain goat brewery tour
> visit with Lyn(my sister) also in Oz at same time) and Cathy her friend to Berwick
> Trip with above to Foster to see relatives of our host and visit-2 day trip stopping in backpackers overnight and seeing my first Emu and wombat of the trip.
> Wilsons promintory followed by a meal with our friends 3 Aunties of 76, 80 and 84 ( they whipped us up a curry for 9 of us in no time)
> wine tasting evening at federation centre, Melbourne starting at 4.30 - finish midnight-GOOD STUFF
> sunday roast in Retreat
> Aussie rules footie match with James, a friend of Mikes from Halifax England, but moving to hobart soon
> Healesville sanctuary 2 see in particular roos, wallabies, possums, lyre
birds, koalas and duck billed platypuses!! Koalas were fabby and were spectacularly active. Well, for koalas anyway.
> victoria market visit - fabulous stuff, cheap and great quality
> pop over to see Mala and Mahesh for lunch - old friend from Delhi now living in Oz
>Melbourne art gallery EXCELLENT
> vietnamese meal b4 pub crawl of best ten in Richmond (can you believe they
only drink halves?!! followed by Souvlaki kebabs around 1.30am
> dine out at Kingston hotel
> farewell meal at Retreat with Mike, Russ his brother and Sally Russ' girlfriend
> cycle over to see Russ' house
> Indian with Russ and Sally
> photo loads of kookaburras!!!
Then............ we went to Tas and hired a car for the week chucking our bikes in the
back for the duration and did all the sites including Launceston, Cradle
mouuntain, (for those who want to know - we didnt climb it and it was raining
so just imagine the great shots we got!!)(It was a delight to meet up later in the kitchens with Elyse from Montreal and Arnaud from France for a chat, and the greedy possums for a photo)the resort of Strahan (which was far smaller than Dawlish and less appealing), Richmond and its bridge and gaol, Hobart (fabby place with huge locals salamanca market, and Port arthur to see the old convict gaols. just as well we hired a car too - there is no local transport in the place - oh sorry just
one bus a day, on the busy routes!!!
On our last night we had a Ready, Steady Cook off with some smashing chinese girls on holiday from Hong Kong and were delightful company!! Thanks very much for that, Grace, Colly and Celine. Shame you didn't beat the clock, but your stir fry was much better than our bangers and mash!
So we flew out of Hobart and back to Sydney for a couple of days with an old school friend Janet and her partner Philip at Potts Point, and this time did the opera house tour and the Syd art gallery - both fabulous and glad we did them after good cycles round town and a thai stir fry noodles in Kings Cross and a couple of scrummy meals with Janet.
Continued in New Zealand