The flight is over before I am well aware of it. I am in Darwin.
Customs takes quite a lot of time here. I have marked everything on the form that might be applicable: mud on my bag, more than 900 AUD of stuff with me and rests of seeds/berries. I noticed this last time already. If you are serious with the marks they are very easy on you. Then nothing seems to be a problem and they do not have to see anything. If you ‘forget’ one though, you have a serious problem at hand.
Photogear is a weird story by the way. Everything that is older than 1 year, does not have a clearance value, but the little camera I bought a couple of weeks ago does. Luckily it was cheaper than 900 AUD, otherwise I would have to pay the implementing rights. Then the question remains whether you get them back again when you are leaving the country. She thinks it’s a weird rule as well. So, never buy expensive stuff in the year before you are going to Australia.
Meanwhile, sunday has become tuesday during all the traveling. The time is 02:00 currently, with a time difference of 7.5 hours with The Netherlands. I’ll have to wait another 2.5 hours before I can pick up the car. This gives me some time to work on my diary.
Around 04:30 I get my car. The lady behind the desk tells me I am not on her list. I show her my voucher and she tells me she is going to try to arrange something for me. After a while she returns with an all-drive. If I ask her what that is, she can’t really explain it to me. It’s a kind of 4WD but not a real one. ’Am I allowed to take it to Bungle Bungles/Purnululu National Park?’ (Purnululu is the Aboriginal name for the park) I ask her, on which she answers ’No, you are not allowed to take any of our cars there’.
Hmmm, that is quite shitty, because the park is about half of the plan for this week. I continue on the subject, because I really want to go there, no matter what. The problem appears to be the clearance. The car does not have enough space between the floor and the ground. I ask whether she knows a proper alternative for me. The only option seems to book an arranged tour, but that is not really something I have in mind.
She reads the conditions again and then there seems to be a possibility after all. A real 4WD that does have sufficient clearance. She promises that she is going to try to arrange one for me for the second part of the week.
I drive into the city looking for a 24×7 store to get some supplies, but everything is dark overthere. Back to the airport to get some cash and breakfast.
Kakadu National Park
Thereafter I continue to Kakadu National Park. It is already getting lighter. The route will take a couple of hours and is quite boring. It’s a two-lane two-way road where you are allowed to drive 130. Kind of B-road. I have to keep paying attention, as you’re so close of getting off the road because it’s extremely narrow and there are no lines.
After a while I notice my first Wallaby and a couple of termite hills.
The forest is weird. It is a forest but very open and not looking open at the same time. The trees are wide spread so at first sight it seems to be very open, but you can not look into the forest for more than 200-300 meters. All trees are standing so scattered that it looks like a thick forest (while it is not at all). Despite the fact that the trees are very white spread I think it is very easy to got lost as soon as you are in 1 kilometer or more.
Along this road are a couple of attractions, but so early in the day everything is still closed.
I am feeling very tired and it’s very difficult to keep my eyes open. Half way I stop the car to get some water and eat a couple of tosties as a kind of second breakfast. Thought about it, that it’s not particularly smart to drive around here without water. There are enough people driving here, but I have a dry mouth all the time.
An hour later I pull over for a second time to give my eyes some rest. They do not feel like it anymore.
Around 09:30 I arrive in Jabiru and soon after I find the hotel that looks like a giant crocodile. Checking in is officially possible after 14:00 but one never knows. After checking some rooms they do find one that is ready, but it’s a bit bigger. Whether I have an objection to that? No, of course not. Bring it on.
Once inside, the huge bed pulls on me like a magnet. I really feel like doing a liiiiitle nap. In the end I sleep for almost 4 hours. I could have done that yesterday already, after all, but now it was really a necesity.