Australia, Kakadu National Park, Vacations

Kakadu: Beware of Crocs! (Day One)

We got up early, and checked out without any issues. I tasked Sal with finding a breakfast place, and boy did he hit the jackpot. This place was delicious. We got there about 5 or 10 minutes after it opened, and it was almost full already! Laneway Specialty Coffee was everything you needed in a breakfast place: good selection, yummy food, and fast service. If we ever go back that way again, I’m sure we’ll check it out again.

img_20180701_0818537724427957216371786.jpgimg_20180701_0823478081556932343140548.jpgimg_20180701_0823561548795195469076549.jpgAfter a filling breakfast, we got on the road. We stopped at a grocery store to get a cooler and some foods for hiking/lunch breaks. We also picked up a couple of dorky hats. We stopped at Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve on the way, as there was supposed to be some good walks there. We saw this sign:

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OK, Never mind.

I made Sal take that pic from inside the car. We actually saw one of the croc-catching cages there, too. It was empty. Needless to say, we immediately turned around and drove on. While I appreciate these signs, they made me nervous. We had one more stop at some wetlands. Of course there was a warning sign about staying on the path because of crocs. As you can probably guess, I wasn’t so interested in walking around after I saw that sign. There were some nice views in the lookout, though.

pano_20180701_1256314594571437957969852.jpgimg_20180701_125812820392584901412041.jpgimg_20180701_1057174102447122558771026.jpgAnother thing I didn’t know I’d see in Australia:

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Termite mounds are all over the place there. This was one of the first small ones we saw.

It took us a total of about 2.5-3 hours to get to our hotel in Kakadu National Park. We stopped off a a nearby visitor’s center to get more information, but there wasn’t anyone at the desk, so that was a bust. We just went to the hotel and decided to ask them about various walks, etc. We stayed at Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel, a hotel in the shape of a crocodile. Of course it was. It was all about the crocs in the Northern Territory. Neither Sal nor I were all that interested in crocs. Matter of fact, we preferred to avoid them. Ha. We settled into the room with this…art:

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Sal interpreted this as, “sometimes you have to listen to your cooch”.  Now that’s all I see when I look at the pic.

We then got back into the car and drove about a half hour to Ubirr. The sunsets there were supposed to be fantastic, and there was also rock art there. Some of this art is tens of thousands of years old. We were there a few hours before sunset, but decided to check it out.

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You can read about this particular rock art if you enlarge the pic.

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img_20180701_1540313845600292966281179.jpgimg_20180701_1546498609877140888546138.jpgLet me preface this next part by saying that I am not a climber by any sense of the imagination. I can barely handle stairs, as Sydney has been so kind to show me. But climbing these uneven rocks, most of the spots without anything to hold on to, was very hard and sometimes quite scary for me. I was wearing my skechers walking shoes, not hiking boots! I have neuropathy in my feet and it makes my balance slightly worse, thanks to numbness. And let’s not forget, I’m afraid of heights. These are my excuses and I’m sticking with them. This was the pits for me in full light, forget about in sunset and dark.

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Screwed.

Sal is the most patient and helpful man on the planet in these situations. He was encouraging me and lending me a hand constantly. If it wasn’t for him there is no way I would have kept going. No way. Eventually we made it to the top and the views were amazing.

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img_20180701_1546498609877140888546138.jpgimg_20180701_1556005018551423068607919.jpgHere is a video of what it looked like from the top.

It was hot without shade, and also there was no way I was going to be able to get down those rocks in the dark with only one hand helping me while the other held a flashlight. So we headed back down. I was so frustrated that we came all that way to see the sunset, but I couldn’t do it. Getting down was scary enough for me, even with Sal’s help. I have to confess: I welled up a bit. Thank goodness I was wearing sunnies (that’s what they call them hear). I was scared I was going to fall (I did slip and scrap myself at one point, but no blood) and frustrated at the same time. I felt bad for Sal, but he was actually proud of me for making it up in the first place. He doesn’t look at my failures, but at my successes. How lucky am I?

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sometimes we were lucky and had handrails, but not often

Once we got done we hiked back to the car and decided to ride around a little to see if we could find where this water was that I’d seen on trip advisor that had a lot of crocs. We found it, but the road/bridge across was flooded and we didn’t want to take the chance of the water rising more once we got across and not being able to get back. Another bust. We were going to have Thai food that night, but the restaurant was closed. Strike three! We headed back to the hotel and went and had an early dinner there.

We earned it after that hike! That night there were a few firecracker going off, but not that many and it ended pretty early. It had been a long, emotional day. I am still glad I saw Ubirr, though.

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