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Paul & Luiza´s World Tour

Australia - Darwin to Perth - From the "top end" to the "wild west"

AUSTRALIA | Sunday, 5 February 2012 | Views [685]

Destination – Australia – Darwin to Perth – from the “Top End” to the “Wild West”  

We take a short and bumpy Air Asia flight and arrive in Darwin, capital of the Australian Northern Territory. We check into the “Value Inn” in town, not bad. Even after being away for almost 7 years, Australia still feels very familiar. Amongst a million other things, it is really fantastic to be able to brush your teeth with and drink tap water again after 21 months.  Oh, the things you miss on the road… people saying hello, please and thank you even if they are not trying to sell you anything? Priceless! Another bonus is to walk amongst people who are generally bigger than you. Sounds silly? Get back to us after spending 9 months in Southeast Asia, where everybody is smaller than you, by a lot.  Well, for whatever reason, it’s great to be back. 

We get two campervan relocation deals (yeah, now I know the difference between a caravan and a campervan but I’m not telling you). One from Darwin to Broome, paying just $5 per day plus the company gives you a fuel allowance of AUD$210. The catch is that we need to do it in 4 days. The second one is from Broome to Perth, paying AUD$15 per day, no fuel allowance but we get 6 days to get to Perth. My driver’s licence has expired and the police are around, mostly in WA, that means a lot of driving for Paul but hey, this is Australia, no worries mate.  We do a bit of shopping for barbecue meats and sausages, get some snacks, wine and beer, plenty of water and are ready to hit the road.  Along the way there are caravan parks with powered sites for us to park most between AUD$30 to AUD$35. All the parks have a swimming pool and facilities block with clean toilets, showers, kitchen, barbecues and laundry, so we can do it in style, Aussie style.   

Day 1: Darwin to Victoria River (507 kms) – 12pm to 6pm – We get up early, pick up the car and head off to Victoria River. It is a 6 hour drive and we are still kind of getting used to the car and the gear. We have a big bed upstairs, linen and towels, stove, sink, fridge/freezer and a self-contained kitchen. A kettle, a toaster, a water tank, you name it. It’s like a very cozy mobile house, very well planned for your safety and convenience. It is the wet season in the Northern Territory and there is a lot of green everywhere, the scenery is really nice. We stop to sleep at the Victoria River Road House, a very nice setting with basic facilities. We have some beers and a few “snags on the barbie” (sausages on the barbecue) to celebrate being on the road. The camp site is gorgeous and it is surrounded by kangaroos at sunset and sunrise. When we go to sleep, we realise we made a huge mistake by leaving the car open and the lights on. Of course, there are all kinds of bugs, big and small, nice and nasty, everywhere inside the car.  To top it off it is boiling hot. Also, I (Luiza) can’t use the toilet facilities as there is a sea of toads taking over the place at night. Here we are again peeing in the wild… Dignity, what dignity? We toss and turn and can’t get to sleep, getting up cranky, sweaty and sticky for the very long drive ahead on the next day.   

Day 2: Victoria River to Fitzroy Crossing (1003 kms) – 5.45am to 5.30pm  We decided to drive all the way to FC as we want an extra day in Broome.  As we couldn’t sleep, we manage to leave really early. The driving is amazing, with fantastic rock formations, unique wildlife, rivers, dams and cyclone-looking menacing cloud formations. We have another great day on the road and we camp at the Fitzroy Crossing Lodge. The camp is amazing and again we are surrounded by kangaroos and birds early morning and sunset. The camp facilities are great and we have some good beer, wine and another authentic Aussie barbecue. This is Outback life! We are getting much more familiar with our gear and this time, we don’t leave the car open, so no bugs. When we go to sleep however, we again find ourselves tossing and turning as the heat and humidity won’t give us a break. We wake up pretty cranky and miserable after a long drive and another sleepless night, bummer.

Day 3: Fitzroy Crossing to Broome (416 kms) – 6.30am to 10.30am - The drive from FC to Broome is pretty smooth and we are definitely running on auto pilot with no sleep. We park our campervan at the Broome Vacation Village.  We also restock our food, beer and water and even buy a small fan to help with our sleepless nights.  Then we check out Cable Beach and the rest of the town, a bit disappointing. We have a nice barbecue for lunch to celebrate the end of the first 1/2 of our trip, jump in the pool to cool off a bit and enjoy a bit of a rest in Broome. Despair strikes again when we try to sleep and can’t for the 3rd night, it is so hot in the car and again we just fry the night away. Kind of getting used to it by now.   

Day 4: Broome – Chilling out and returning campervan – we get up, go to the beach and on the way back prepare the car to be returned, refill the tanks and make sure it is not filthy. Operation completed successfully! We move into a self-contained cabin and enjoy having a roof over our heads again as well as the AC full blast, for one night before we hit the great Aussie highways again tomorrow. 

Day 5: Broome to Port Hedland (610kms) – 8.30A amto 3.30pm – we pick up the second campervan and leave Broome in the morning very excited as we’ll be having a true “Aussie Barbie” with our friends from Perth who recently moved to Port Hedland. The drive is short and sweet and we are in for a lovely surprise, as our friends give us the warmest welcome and even invite a couple of their new friends to the barbecue. The food is amazing, the conversation is great, so many laughs, great Aussie wine, well, what can I say, what a fantastic night it was.  So good to catch up with old friends, it felt like it was just yesterday we left lovely Perth. At the end of a memorable and warm night, we crash at their place for a nice AC sleep.

Day 6: Port Hedland to Carnavon – (830kms) 8.30am to 5.00pm – we get up early, have a “cuppa” with our mates to say goodbye and hit the road again, this time heading off to Carnavon. It’s a very long drive but very nice, the scenery is amazing, the skies impossibly blue and we’ve never seen Western Australia so green. We park our home at the Wintersun Caravan Park and hope for a good night sleep. We’re sure the WA sea breeze won’t let us down. And it doesn’t, the wind kicks in and we have a great and cool night's sleep, thank you Western Australia.

Day 7: Carnavon to Shark Bay – (391kms) – 7.30am to 12.30pm – After a short drive we hit Denham and Monkey Mia. We park our campervan at the Denham Caravan Park but before it, we spend a fantastic day in Money Mia, a gorgeous seaside spot within the Shark Bay world heritage national park. In just a couple of hours we see dolphins, sharks, emus, a sea turtle, huge pelicans, all sorts of birds and lizards etc… This place is a mad gigantic zoo. Yeah, Australia really delivers its promises in relation to wildlife as throughout this whole trip we also have kangaroos greeting us every morning and afternoon on the road and at the caravan parks. What a great journey it has been. 

Day 8: Denham to Geraldton (454kms) - 9:30 to 3:00pm – we wake up early and head off to see the feeding of the dolphins, another truly unforgettable experience in Monkey Mia. We go there early and although it’s low season, there are quite a lot of people waiting. We go in the water with two of the park rangers and the dolphins come straight away to greet us. After a kind of long explanation, telling us way more than we need to know about the dolphins, some people get picked to feed them. After our shark sighting the day before, we’re just happy to keep a certain distance from the action.  After the feeding we head off to Geraldton and get there early in the afternoon. Geraldton is another nice seaside town however it’s been plagued by the resources boom in Australia. When we are setting up our “camp” we heard someone saying “hey, don’t be antisocial, come and have a drink with us”, and the rest is history, or at least it would be if we could remember it. We meet these two “true blue Aussies” and suddenly we are having this massive barbecue with them, 2 Swiss couples and two other Swiss guys. Lots of beer and wine are consumed together with a load of barbecue sausages and tons of laughs.

Day 9: Geraldton to Perth (413kms) 9:30 to 3:00pm – and yet we get up surprisingly without a hangover and head off to Perth.  We are very excited to catch up with family and friends and have some more Aussie wine and beer while revisiting our favourite restaurants in town.   We return the campervan and have a beer to celebrate the end of our beautiful “All Aussie Adventure”, a total of over 4500 kms in 9 days!!!


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