We woke up early, grabbed breakfast, and headed off for our first adventure of the day: a free guided Burrungkuy Art Walk Talk (basically one of the trails you could do any time, but with guide(s) explanation. The nice thing about these tours is you get to learn more about the art and the indigenous people. The bad part is there were tons of people there and it made hearing difficult sometimes. The rangers did their best, though. The indigenous ranger was the first indigenous person we’d had any real interaction with. He explained some of their laws and traditions. It was very interesting. A lot of this rock art had been restored not all that long ago.
We had time to kill, so decided to do another walk that the ranger had suggested that they guide sometimes: Nanguluwur Walk. It was all flat until the end. There wasn’t a ton of shade here, but we were very thankful for what we had. It was a hotsy totsy.
We got about 1/2 way up and some Americans coming down looked at my face and said, “Don’t worry! You’re almost there!”. Sorta funny. By the time we got there we were surprised to find a group of people from a tour there having lunch. Out of breath and hot, I smilingly said, “Oh, we got here just in time!”. They didn’t get the hint and offer us even a glass of water. Harumph! We walked around the platform and checked out the art. This was probably the best we’d seen.
You can see a video of the art from the walk here.
It seemed like it took forever to get back. This was mostly because we were brainiacs and started our walk at like 11:30 a.m. or something ridiculous like that. I made sure we drank water every 10-15 minutes. I was thrilled when we finally made it back to the parking lot and into a car with sweet, sweet air conditioning.
After that hike we drove to the hotel to check in. In this area, near where we were having our sunset cruise later, there is only one hotel, and it was the Cooinda Lodge. I’m not going to link it because these people were annoying and don’t deserve any further clicks. I will definitely be writing about them on Trip Advisor, Google, and Yelp. We got to reception to check in and the woman checking us in said that she would be right back in a couple of minutes. She disappeared and the other woman, after five minutes, told us to have a seat. Now I thought something was up, because I thought the other woman said under her breath something about a ‘problem’. It’s something you never want to hear on vacation when you’re checking into a hotel you’ve booked and paid for months ago. So after about 5 more minutes, a manager shows up and calls us over and it goes something like this.
Manager, “We have been trying to get in touch with you regarding your reservation.”
Me, checking my phone, “Oh, I don’t have any missed calls or messages.”
Manager, “We didn’t know how to get in touch with you.”
(Note: we’d corresponded a few times via email, so seems like that would have been a good choice. We did not get any email from them…)
“We’ve had a problem with our booking system and we do not have enough of the type of room you booked.”, he explained. Then he just looked at us for a minute.
“What are we supposed to do? I know there isn’t any hotel around here.”
“I can offer you a tent room with a shared bath.”
“I can refund you the difference, and give you a free boat tour.”
“We already bought the tour.”
“I can refund you the money. What do you think?”
“I think we don’t have any choice. There aren’t any other options, right?”
This went on for a bit. Then Sal and I discussed it and I explained to him that there literally wasn’t any other hotel options around here that wouldn’t involve driving an extra 1-1.5 hours the next day AND that day.
“What do you think?”, the manager asked again.
Sal didn’t even look at the manager. He didn’t say anything. He had a look on his face that I’ve rarely seen. I’m sure Sal’s seen it a lot on mine, but it’s rare to see it on Sal. He’s a laid back guy who generally goes with the flow, but this time Sal was not happy. And the funny thing was he didn’t even have to say anything more because all of the sudden the manage starts tapping and says, “I think I can move things around and get you into the room you booked and move someone else.”
Really? We went through all of that – probably 20-30 minutes of trying to sort out the mess – only to find out we really DID have an option of actually staying in the room we booked and paid for?!?! Good grief. We confirmed we wanted the room originally reserved and he switched us over and gave us the keys. As you can imagine, there wasn’t a lot of conversation during this part of the long, unnecessary conversation. We were tired and hungry, so we went to their restaurant after the drama. I ordered a pepperoni pizza. Look at the pepperoni! Meat lovers eat your heart out? I mostly ate the crust while trying to shoo-ing away the flies.
Our room had two beds and walls. The room wasn’t bad at all. I was so happy NOT to be in a tent. And not have to share a bathroom. We are not bathroom sharers. We are old! We rested a bit, and then it was time for our sunset cruise on the Yellow River.
There was a safety briefing, where they ‘joked’ about how if you fall in you’ll probably not be coming back on the boat. Or if the boat sinks, the life jacket probably won’t help any because of the crocs. Nice. We were warned not to have our arms hanging over at all, or a croc would get it. Is it any wonder I’m paranoid about the crocs?
It was peaceful and really beautiful on the water. We saw many different birds, some wild pigs, and supposedly wild horses (I didn’t see them – they were very far away). There are so many varieties of birds in AU it’s pretty impressive. Also impressive? The sunset:
We took the bus back to the hotel and went to bed early, as per usual. It had been a full day and we saw some awesome things. Kakadu is highly recommended. Especially the boat tour and the rock art, IMO.