Monday, July 10, 2017

Territorial Discussions

By Jen.

After 5 months of being in Australia (Jan-16 to Jun-16) and nearly 2 months (minus 5 days) of being in WA, we crossed the border into the Northern Territory. If we thought that WA was sparsely populated and remote, Northern Territory is even more so. This large area isn’t even designated as a state and only has a territory-wide population of 200,000. We had no cell reception, except in the small towns that infrequently dotted the Victoria Highway. We were greeted with a 130 km/h speed (80+ mph) sign, a first for us since arriving in AUS. Jonathan commemorated the event by going the speed limit for a bit, which reminded us why don’t do so. The van takes a lot of energy to get to that speed.

Our first night in NT was not enjoyable as some residents of Kununurra decided to stay at the same roadside stop as us and drink and talk all night long, leaving at daybreak. I guess this is a common thing to do around here, as this is the second time this has happened to us when parked at the nearest roadside stop to a town in WA on a Friday night. I guess this makes sense as the with the strict drinking policies most places in Australia have, and with the small populations, there are no late-night bars, clubs, or pubs to hang out in, so they go down the road and do it there, where no one (except the cheapo tourists like us) will complain.

To break up the ride the following day, we made a few stops, including going on a hike in a massive national park through which the highway goes.

The next day, we arrived in Katherine, a fairly large town by NT standards, and got caught up with the rest of the world’s news. Katherine is popular for its gorge and national park, so we decided to hit that up the next day. We had been planning on canoeing or kayaking down the gorge (apparently that is the thing to do), but they hadn’t finished their crocodile survey yet (conducted every year after the wet season), and therefore, weren’t letting anyone in the water. Instead, we chose to hike up to a few lookouts over the gorges.

When we went to the visitor centre, it was apparent that there were small fruit bats all along the trees by the river. There were thousands of them. All along the banks as far as you could see! These Little Red Flying Foxes were smaller than the ones we saw in Karijini. 

The rocks along the gorge were really precariously perched. Jonathan managed to send several cascading down the cliffs. Not much holding them on. 

This wallaby was snacking in front of the van when we got back. Judging by the bulge on its belly, it could have a joey in its pouch.

Despite doing close to 10 km that day, my knee was doing pretty well. It was a bit stiff the next day, but not too bad. So, it is healing. Thanks for your prayers. Hopefully, soon, it will be back to 100%. I was wearing a compression brace that day and apparently didn’t apply sunscreen well enough around it, so now I have a bit of a burned impression of it.

This was taken a few days after the walk, so the redness had calmed down a bit.

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