Saturday, October 17, 2009

Day 225 – 25 Jul 09

Well, Darwin is behind me and I’m on the road again. I can’t believe how much Darwin has changed since I left in 1973. I admit that it’s 36 years, and a cyclone virtually destroyed the place, but the changes are so wide-spread. I’ve been to Adelaide and Melbourne and Brisbane which I also haven’t been back to for about the same time, and at least those places are recognisable, but not so Darwin. I would have expected that the city centre itself, which was not so affected by cyclone Tracey might have retained some of the buildings and ambience, but it is all totally changed. Oh, well, what’s the saying? You can never go back again – so true.

The weather was very pleasant, being dry season, although there were a couple of humid days towards the end of my fortnight’s stay. I got a chance to get out-and-about a bit during the time, but I left the “touristy” things for another time. It has been school holidays while I have been here and everywhere is jam-packed. The locals get a double dose of holidays because of the weather. Every Caravan Park was chockablock and the numbers of tourists up here at the moment is unbelievable. I plan to spend the southern winters in the top end for the next few years, so I’ll try to do Kakadu, Litchfield etc at a better time.

Headed down the Stuart to Katherine and ran into a fellow Grey Nomad working as a checkout chick in Woolies. I was on the way and it was late in the day, but took the time to say hello.

Camped tonight at a roadside rest area called Limestone Creek. One thing I have noticed about the rest areas in the NT, they are very well maintained. They often have toilets and water tanks and the contractors even drop off a load of chopped firewood when they come in to empty the bins. However, as a result they are very popular with travellers and if you don’t get in early, you don’t get in. In general the rest areas are a lot smaller in area than some of the WA ones, but there are still 40 or 50 vehicles a night try to cram in. At one area, the vehicles were packed so tight that people couldn’t put their awnings up. I have got into the habit of taking off fairly early in the mornings and only travelling 150 – 200 kms, so that I get to the next area by midday or so which gives a chance of getting a nice site.

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