Journals #38 and #39: Darwin
Cover Photo: It’s Like a Jungle Sometimes
Killer Animals Spotted: Too Many to Count
I am officially in Darwin and holy jesus is it hot up here!
Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory, aka “The Outback.” With the exception of Darwin (pop. 150,000) and a few small towns nearby, the majority of the Northern Territory is “bush”- which is a fancy way of saying it is uninhabited by people.
There are two primary seasons in Darwin: Wet and Dry. I am visiting right during the transition period between those two seasons which creates some very bizarre scenery: Despite being scorching hot (over 100 degrees at one point today), very humid (80% all day), and overall dry, the land is extremely green and colorful. It’s literally like being in a mirage or a utopia right in the middle of the desert.
I arrived here late Friday night and then got up early on Saturday to join a tour to Litchfield, which is a national park about two hours from Darwin. Our guides name was “Daniel” and he was excellent- a few interesting facts I learned on the way there:
-Darwin’s harbor is seven times larger than Sydney’s harbor
-It is also now where a large majority of the Australian military is based
-Darwin is the most lightning concentrated area (sic?) in the world- over 2000 lightning strikes can hit the area during a single storm
Our first stop was at the famous “Jumping Crocodiles.” Basically, the tour group (12 of us) all get on tiny little boat with a bearded, barefoot Crocodile expert named “Pat” and drive down a tiny, crocodile infested waters (Pat was quick to point out that in this river there is only one crocodile every 25 meters. In a different nearby river, there is a crocodile every 10 meters).
Once out in the open, Pat dangles a piece of chicken over the water and waits to see if any crocodiles show up. Spoiler Alert: They Do.
The crocodile in that picture is roughly 1 foot from my camera and we were strongly advised to keep all belongings and body parts within the boat. This advice became particularly prudent when two large crocodiles got in a territory fight right in front of us (evidently this happens all the time, although usually the largest croc stakes his claim and the other smaller ones stay clear or wait and look for an opening).
We cruised around on this river for about an hour and a half before heading out to the main part of Litchfield. Litchfield is home to some beautiful waterfalls- here’s a picture of one:
These waterfalls are 100% crocodile free, so we are able to go swimming in them, which was awesome (they are super deep- at one point almost 30 feet). This also made the heat a tad more bearable ☺.
Overall the tour was good- it takes all day (7am-7pm) and ends with watching the sunset over the Darwin Harbor (today’s photo).
Tomorrow is an open day- so I’ll look for something exciting to do!