So what is all about? Well... hopefully, by the time we are done, it will be a comprehensive journal about a family of 5 who have travelled around Australia to see the sights and also do some volunteer work around the country! In Mid 2010 we started thinking about what it would take to fulfil a life-long dream... We wanted to bundle up our 3 kids, pack-up the house, jump in the car and hit the road - probably for about 12 months. It sounds so simple ... At the start of January 2013, after almost 15 months on the road; we finally completed Our Big Aussie Road Trip. We hope that you enjoyed following our adventures, trials and tribulations as much as we enjoyed having them!

31 July, 2012

Darwin with Grandma and Grandad (Part 2)

On Tuesday the 10th of July we all took a big roadtrip to Litchfield National Park (in the Kia Carnival that Grandma and Grandad had hired for their time in Darwin).  It's about a 130Km drive to Litchfield and so we tried to get away from the caravan park at a reasonable time (but the kids still managed to have some pancakes with grandma and grandad before we left). We were at Litchfield by 11am and stopped at the magnetic termite mounds to have a look at this fascinating sight.
Standing with the magnetic termite mounds in the background
Our next stop was Florence Falls. We donned our swimmers and walked down the the plunge pool at the bottom of the waterfall for a swim. We had a great swim at Florence Falls and then walked back to the carpark at the top.
Florence Falls, Litchfield National Park

Natalie and Grandma
Swimming at the bottom of Florence Falls
When we left Florence Falls we passed the sign to Buley's rockholes and Grandma mentioned that it was worth a look. We are so glad that Grandma said this, because this was definitely the kid's favourite spot in Litchfield! It was a fantastic cascade of water running through half a dozen large (and very deep) rockholes. The kids found a small 'cliff' to jump off, and we spent at least an hour jumping off the rock into the beautiful water below.

Buley's Rockhole, Litchfield National Park

Buley's Rockhole was definitely a highlight for us

Sam loved jumping off the cliff into the water!

Natalie about to go 'Splash'

Josh practicing his diving

We stopped for lunch a few kilometres up the road at tabletop swamp (which wasn't much of a sight to see, but was a nice place for a picnic lunch).  After lunch we drove out to Wangi Falls which was a large waterfall with a big pool at the bottom.
Wangi Falls, Litchfield National Park

There are no saltwater crocodiles in these waterholes, only freshwater crocs (although we're glad we didn't see any crocs at all). We swam across to the waterfall on the far side of the pool and climbed up the cliff a little way into a small waterhole to splash around. Mike also swam over to the large waterfall to have a look around.
Mike at the bottom of Wangi Falls

The sun was starting to get quite low in the sky (because it was 5pm) and the kids were getting a bit cold, so we hopped out of the water, got changed and got back into the car for a long drive home. The kids were pretty tired, but we'd had a fantastic day at Litchfield National Park and we were very glad we made the effort to go out and see it.

On Wed the 11th July, we were all quite tired and so we just spent the morning around the caravan park. We spent most of our time in grandma and grandad's cabin. The kids did some drawing and colouring and played many games of 'rat-a-tat cat' with grandma.   In the afternoon, we drove out to Berry Springs - which are some thermal springs not too far out of Darwin. We all had a nice swim in the warm water. Even though the days were quite hot (and unusually humid for Darwin in July) it was nice to relax in the warm waters of Berry springs.
Swimming in Berry Springs
 We swam down to the lower pool and found a small cliff where Mike, Josh and Natalie spent some time jumping and diving into the water. When we got back to the caravan park, we brushed up and all went out to Hogs Breath Cafe in Palmerston as a farewell dinner for Grandma and Grandad. It was a great night and we all enjoyed another great time together.
Mike and Bruce (Grandad) had organised to join a fishing charter on Thursday morning because Mike thought that if there's one place to catch fish, it would be the North of Australia! Mike and Bruce needed to take Bruiser so that Liz and Sandy (Grandma) could take the kids out to a movie, and when Mike tried to start the car, our brand new battery was totally flat!! Needless to say, this was quite unexpected (and quite annoying). Nonetheless, we jump started the car from the Auxiliary battery and drove to Cullen Bay to join our Fishing charter. We toured around Darwin Harbour and fished for 4 hours at many different spots around the harbour. Mike and Bruce both caught a few fish but only managed to get 2 keepers (and unfortunatly, neither of them were very big). Even though we didn't reel in 'the big one' we had a great morning on the harbour and we were constantly getting bites on our lines as we fed the fish with the bait off our hooks.
Mike and Bruce on the fishing charter

While Mike and Bruce were fishing, Liz and Sandy drove to Palmerston and took the kids to see Ice Age 4 at the movies. This was the first time Sam had been to a cinema, and we were a bit unsure whether he would last the movie, but all three kids loved it and had a great time. After their movie and lunch, the kids, Liz and Sandy went to the caravan park pool to splash around for some of the afternoon.

Sam, Natalie and Josh on the Jumping pillow

When Mike and Bruce had finished fishing, Mike wanted to take the car to an Auto Electrician to see if they could diagnose what was wrong with it (and hopefully fix it!), so after a bit of hunting for an auto electrician who would look at it, we found one who would have a look. It turned out that one of the diodes in the alternator had blown and so the alternator was just sucking power from the battery when the car was idle (and so the alternator needed replacing). Unfortunately, after a couple of hours of waiting, the alternator they put in was faulty and they needed to order another one and fit it the next day! That night, we didn't end up eating a huge meal of fish (like we had hoped we would), but we did eat the fish we caught as well as some crocodile meat that we got from Crocodylus Park when we were there. The croc meat was quite bland but was nice enough - it is almost like a cross between chicken and pork in texture.
Friday the 13th of July meant that we had been on the road for exactly 9 months, it was also Grandma and Grandad's last day in Darwin. In the morning Mike and Bruce dropped our car up to the Auto electricians at 8am and when they were back at the van park, we had an early birthday party for Natalie (whose birthday is on the 24th July).
An early Birthday party for Natalie's 6th Birthday
It was then time for Grandma and Grandad to check out of the caravan park. We all said our Goodbyes and thanked them for such a wonderful time in Darwin. Sandy and Bruce then dropped Mike back to the Auto Electrician's to pickup Bruiser (and his new alternator that wasn't faulty this time), and then they drove to the airport to wait for their flight home.

On the day that Grandma and Grandad were heading home, another couple from our home church in Turramurra (Raymond and Helen) were arriving in Darwin. They had contacted us some weeks before and we had organised to catchup for afternoon tea at their caravan park. So in the afternoon we met them (and John and Margaret - another couple from our church who were also in Darwin at the same time) and had a good chat with them all over a cup of tea and some biscuits while the kids entertained themselves.

When we were planning our stay in Darwin, we had decided to give ourselves an extra day's stay (after Grandma and Grandad had left) to organise anything that we needed to do while we were still in a big centre (ie shopping or fixing things) and so on Saturday the 14th July we hit the shops again to stock up on our food and groceries before we headed South. That afternoon, we had a bit of spare time and so we decided to wash Bruiser for the first time in 9 months. We were all very surprised at how well he washed up!

Our time in Darwin was so much fun. We absolutely loved catching up with Grandma and Grandad and spending time with them as we explored Darwin and it's surrounds. We certainly crammed a lot of things into a farily short amount of time, but loved every minute of it.

Thank you Grandma and Grandad for coming up to Darwin to see us, and thanks for all the fun we had together.
The kids with Grandma

No comments: