The Top End, The Outback, and The Nature Territory,
All names for the same part of Australia: The Northern Territory. And man, it's HOT! But first things first: the road trip.
As I had said to some of you, I made a road trip of 4 days through the Outback from Cairns to Darwin. In those 4 days we traveled a staggering 2800 kilometers. In a big 4WD bus we traveled mile after mile over mostly dirt roads in a barren and empty land. Now I really understand the vastness of Australia. All the land in the Outback is divided in cattle stations, differing in size between 6000 up to 33000 square km. Cows were therefore the species we saw the most. Occasionally we saw kangaroos, emus or other animals, but mostly just cows. The cows are different though, not the fat cows we have, but bony and bumpy cows, the sort you associate with India, with humps on there backs like camels or buffaloes.
Although we sat most of the day in the bus, during lunchtime and late-afternoon we made stops at often really beautiful places. Oftentimes with rivers or natural pools nearby, where the dry land suddenly changed into lush tropical growth. The presence of water is a weird thing here in the Top End. 4 months of the year it is dry, we are in the middle of that season now. The whole countryside is yellow, brown and red, the native trees are green all year round, but all the grass and other plants are dried out. After this dry season, the build-up season starts. For 4 months the humidity is a 100% and the temperature slowly rises. This season is the most unbearable time in the year, then finally the wet season sets in. During the wet it basically rains continuously and the whole country floods. To give an example, the Katherine river sometimes rises up to 18,5 meters! We drove over pretty wide bridges in certain places, but there was not a drop of water in sight. It was impossible to imagine that during the wet, all of this would be turned into a massive torrential river.
The group in the bus was really cool. Lots of interesting people and everybody was enjoying themselves. Now that we are in Darwin, I am staying with quite a few of them in the same hostel and it is good to have some friends to explore the town with and go out. Darwin is a nice place. Not as touristy as Cairns, the weather is hot, but we have a great pool in our hostel and drinks are in close range, so we manage ;) These weeks the Darwin Festival is on as well, so free concerts and other gigs are all over the place, very convenient.
And next Thursday Astrid will be here, FINALLY! Can't wait to see her again and explore the rest of Australia with her!