Trip Pulse: Australia Part 2/3 – Wild Wild North

Australia: mystic, wet and hot Northern Territory

Our tour of Australia with kid continued with our visit to the hot and wet Northern Territory that included Darwin, Kakadu and Litchfield parks. All 3 places provided memories and thrills we shall remember forever and all are worthy of any world traveller, preferably during the dry season.

We wanted to come here to explore this side of Australia, as it is a gateway to the famous Outback.

Darwin during the Wet

We arrived in Darwin, during the rainy season also referred to by locals as “the Wet”. Any tourist activity during this season which is rather long, from November to April was very low. Many businesses and shops were closed and those who stayed open, decided to charge an arm and a leg for accommodations and car rentals.

Northern Territory Australia

One of our goals during our round the world trip is to learn about the culture of the country we’re visiting. In Darwin, you’ll get a glimpse of the Aboriginal heritage and culture mostly through original artworks. We bought some small paintings ourselves from a very interesting local gallery. If you however, want to take a closer look at Aboriginal day-to-day life, you should get a special permit to visit the reserves.

Kakadu Park – “timeless place – exceptional beauty”

Australia’s largest national park, Kakadu, covers an area of 19,804 km2 (bigger than Fiji or Kuwait) and is located within the Alligator Rivers region, called that for its literal meaning.

It is a must-see, not only because of its UNESCO World Heritage status but mainly due to its renowned richness of Aboriginal art rock sites that tell stories of giant kangaroos and life of the natives for 40 thousand years.

We were there during the rainy season characterized by high temperatures and some intense and heavy rain. Unfortunately, many roads were closed off due to floods but that surely didn’t stop three smiling native girls from having fun in these croc-infested waters and it didn’t stop us to attempt to cross one of those roads with our little Hyundai.

Western Australia Piers

Natasza wasn’t smiling one day (read ‘terrified’) when we drove back to our ‘hotel’ one night during a wicked thunderstorm. Let’s just say, it was the most spectacular symphony of lights and thunders we will never forget. As picturesque and lively the surroundings are during the Wet, we recommend you visit the park during the Dry as it will be much more accessible and kid-friendly.

Out On the Road in Northern Territories Of Australia

While driving, keep your eye out for ‘road trains’ which are these formidable four trailer trucks with as many as 36 wheels. Trust me, I counted! These certainly reminded me of the movie classic – Mad Max! The roads have many warning signs for crocs, flash floods so be cautious. Also worth mentioning are great distances between cities, attractions and major hubs. For this reason we decided not to drive to the famous red rock, Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock), as it would have been a 1,500 km drive (one way) and most car rental companies will charge extra for milage.

Kakadu National Park

Niko’s kangaroos and ugly toads. Norther Territory is a gift for a curious toddler.

Being an animal lover, Niko was thrilled to see many Kangaroo’s in their natural habitat. He also caught sight of some storks, black parrots and the infamous turd. Although he was yearning to see a croc, thankfully the only one he met was a happily stuffed one at a local tourist information centre. Apart from that, he enjoyed the sacred aboriginal grounds where we got to see amazing rock art.

Things to Keep in Mind while visiting Australia’s Northern territory.

If Litchfield Park is on your agenda during your Australian adventure, book your accommodations early, as there are limited rooms. This national park, just a short hour drive from Darwin, offers stunning tropical waterfall panoramas and refreshing dip. Here we also learned of Cathedral termites

Litchfield National Park - Australia
that build these amazing magnetic mounds, architectural nature’s wonders designed to shelter the termites from the wet lands and aligned north to south minimise the exposure to the sun. Nature is brilliant, isn’t it?

Last piece for advice:

  • Plan for the journey and stock up on water and food, especially if you’re traveling in Northern Australia with kids.
  • Fill up the car with gas before you enter parks as there are limited stations and far apart.
  • If your budget allows, get a 4WD vehicle as it will be easier to maneuver the rough terrain. It’s wise to stay on the beaten path and not venture out to blocked paths due to floods and the crocs.
  • In-spite of the danger signs and the wild outback, we enjoyed our adventure in the North – it really is a wild and rugged region, worth exploring.

    Poisonous toads, floods, threatening thunders? Do you still think it’s worth a visit? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

    Here are some of our photos from this trip:

    Here are some of our photos from our Western Australia: