Week 16 - July 02, 2018 - July 08, 2018

Darwin, part of the Top End of Australia and it has a little something for everyone.  We had hoped to take a breather and be stationary for a few days but alas, we had a couple of repairs that we wanted to make to Cinderoo and as John and Michelle also had a tweak or two for their SUV, we found ourselves being each other's Uber to go back and forth to mechanics and into town. 

We did make a little time to enjoy a few of Darwin's attractions and we were pleasantly surprised by the Crocosaurus Cove.  Crocosaurus Cove had several of its namesakes along with a multitude of other reptiles.  Some of the saltwater crocs (salties) were 4-5 meters in length or 12-15'!  One croc named 'Burt' was the crocodile that was featured in the movie Crocodile Dundee and he was impressive.  We had a lot of fun being up close with these dinosaur-cousins without risking our own skin.

Oh, and before anyone cries crocodile tears about these captive crocs, each one of the big guys has a rap sheet.  From stealing fish to roughing up boats, from sneaking into the freshwater rivers to snatching dogs walking with their person on the beach (right off leashes sometimes).  It was either this or the final alternative, so I would say these crocs are in a better place.  The smaller crocs are part of a release program in order to increase the number of salties (as they almost went endangered due to unregulated hunting many years ago).

    We even got to hold a crocodile             Different crocs:  salty, freshy and the American crocodile
   Amazing creatures and huge             Burt was impressive
   Cool manta ray                        Goanna drinking water                      Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer

In between some vehicle shuffling, we were able to enjoy a quick trip to a WWII Oil Storage Tunnels while Michelle was enjoying her birthday spa treatment.  Gerson, John and I wandered through tunnels built in 1942 with the intent to store oil and fuel during WWII.  The tunnels were never used; however, they were quite an impressive undertaking.

   Gerson and John in the WWII Oil Storage Tunnels          A bit of poolside music for Michelle's birthday

Darwin was a tad bittersweet as this was where we and John and Michelle were going our separate ways.  We headed off to Kakadu and they made a beeline to their home in Melbourne.

   Saying goodbye to John and Michelle (for now)               What happens when you do not secure the paper towels and you drive a windy road

Not far from Darwin is Kakadu National Park.  Encompassing about 20,000 square kilometers, it contains some of Australia's richest and most accessible repositories of rock art which date from recent to approximately 20,000 years ago.  Although Kakadu was a nice park and easily visited, the cost to enter ($40 each) was quite excessive for what the park offered.  Nonetheless, we enjoyed what we came for and that was to view some of the landscape and of course, the rock paintings.

   The rock art was quite vivid               Painting of a Tasmanian Tiger (or wolf), extinct since the 1930's

The rock art was painted on the walls of the caves and on the underside of rock overhangs.  Paintings of fish, kangaroos, lizards, crocodiles, birds and even an extinct Tasmanian Tiger (or wolf). 

   Rock art on the ceiling            Beautiful views across Kakadu

   Where seeds were crushed in the rocks        Probably a more recent rock painting

    We enjoyed the rock formations and those tree roots were intimidating           Cool formations

   No crocodiles seen in the East Alligator river        Some cars did not make it across the river apparently, but the eagle enjoyed its bath

With Kakadu being so large, we had to drive from one end to the other to see the different (sealed road accessible) parts of the park.  Although the rock art would seem to be repetitive, each site displayed its own 'personality'.   The paintings are of what was important to the indigenes people and that included fish, kangaroos, reptiles, birds and quite noticeably, men's genitalia. 

   Fish and Kangaroos were very important            One of my favorites, some sort of ceremonial/god depiction

   Gerson having a bit of fun              Beautiful painting of a dangerous spirit Nabulwinjbulwinj (try to pronounce that name)
   Pair of Rainbow Bee Eaters                             Blue Winged Kookaburra - metallic blue wing - beautiful

Kakadu was our last jaunt in the Top End of Australia and we pointed Cinderoo south for a three-day drive to get to Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park.

   Australia must have seen us coming                                                     We enjoyed a nice crab meal before we made our push south


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