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Roadtrip Australia: Van-Tastic Northern Territory - WILLIE & ANDREW Americans Willie and Andrew embark on the ultimate Aussie roadtrip as they motor around Northern Territory with Van-Tastic Adventures for six action-packed, free-wheeling weeks of adventure.

TOP TEN OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY

AUSTRALIA | Monday, 3 May 2010 | Views [3024] | Comments [1]

With our Vantastic Adventure coming to an end I couldn’t help but look back at the best moments over the past 6 weeks.

10) Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Our first official stop in the Northern Territory! Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park was quite literally breathtaking. Uluru is the largest intact rock in the world standing at 1,142 feet. There was so much to see at this national park that we stayed for two entire days from sunrise to sunset traveling by foot and Harley-Davidson. The park was an incredible lesson and experience in geology and Anangu culture. Plus I ate a wasp. Our only regret was not having enough time to do the Valley of the Winds walk.

9) Quad bikes at King’s Creek Station

Our quad bike ride started at the station (despite being delayed slightly by a long train of caterpillars) and took us out a few kilometres to a beautiful lookout. Along the ride we encountered spiders (probably from the Zelda video games) that spun golden webs. These webs were so strong that they could be plucked like a harp. But the real adventure started on the way back when we tested the speed of the bikes. Traveling at 60kph we rode over rocks, through turns and jumped hills. The highlight of the ride, however, was definitely watching Andrew FLY off his quad bike and into a bush. Thankfully he was unscathed (like a total badass) and had a great story to tell.

8) Horseback riding at Kelly’s Ranch

One of the biggest surprises was horseback riding at Kelly’s Ranch in Tennant Creek. Not because we thought we wouldn’t enjoy it (even though Andrew incorrectly assumed he was allergic to horses… since he’s allergic to everything else) but rather because it wasn’t originally on our itinerary. Jerry Kelly, the owner of the ranch, took us on what was supposed to be a one-hour ride. Three hours later we returned with a working knowledge of horses and an acquired taste for bushtucker. And if that wasn’t enough Jerry made us real Bushmen by teaching us how to lasso. Also, the man makes the most incredible homemade chili. Which leads me to…

7) Eating anything but a PBJ

Bread. Crunchy peanut butter. Varying flavors of jelly. That is what we ate for 6 weeks so that we could afford to continue traveling. 3 times a day. Sometimes we switched it up with a Muesli bar or tuna. Therefore some of our favorite memories include anything but a peanut butter jelly sandwich. Some of these memorable meals include: steak, oysters and pork with never-ending beer at The Char in Darwin, The Pub Challenge (it would take me forever to describe all of the food in this plate) at Daly Water’s Pub, and kangaroo, crocodile, emu at Outback Pioneer. Also, chicken at KFC.

6) Swimming at waterholes/Bathing

These two things are synonymous. Some of the best baths we took were at Ellery Creek in the West MacDonnell Ranges; Southern Rockhole at Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge); Buley waterhole and Florence Falls at Litchfield National Park. The best memories though were swimming under a waterfall and nearly dying after jumping/slipping from a 30ft. rock into the water.

5) Wildlife

Camels. Velociraptors/Emus (same thing). Feeding a wild wallaby. Holding a python. A singing dingo. Procreating with a kangaroo (watch this before you arrest me http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUIWqryeepg). Need I say more?

4) Encounters with Territorians

I will never forget the people I have met in the Northern Territory. They are kind and passionate about what they do. I would like to say something about some of the people who stood out to me in the hopes that they are reading this. Jimmy, from Coober Pedy, is truly the most interesting man alive. It is worth visiting the town just to meet him. He has so many great stories from his days as an Olympic runner in Greece to changing his life drastically and mining for opal in Coober Pedy. When we first arrived he made sure to look after us as though he had known us for a lifetime.

When I grow up, I want to be like our good friend Troy. He is a knowledgebase of all things Australia. If you have a question, Troy has the answer. I asked him what his favorite animal cracker was and he said the crocodile because they were the most perfectly evolved animals. They haven’t changed in millions of years. Crocodile animal crackers can sense the electricity in your spine. Troy is intense and it’s awesome. He told us he disarmed a gang with knives and disarmed them again when they got a second wave of knives. It is a proven fact that all dogs love Troy. Every year Troy throws one lucky kid into the sun.

Just don’t listen to him if he tells you mosquitoes carry malaria in Australia.

Jerry Kelly is easily one of the kindest individuals I ever met. In addition to offering us a horseback bushtucker tour, Jerry taught us an excess of information on Aboriginal culture. Jerry’s commitment to his culture is unmatched and he even offers a pastoral skills training program to keep young people out of trouble.

3) UFO’s at Wycliffe Well

You just have to go there to experience it. Wycliffe Well is the UFO capitol of Australia and people have sightings daily. But hearing the stories isn’t the same as living it. Andrew and I had a lot of fun investigating alien life in the rain and just the next day Andrew saw some lights in the sky. If you are driving through the Northern Territory you’ll want to stop here for the night and if you get the chance speak to Lew about some of his encounters.

2) The Cage of Death at Crocosaurus Cove

Swimming with crocodiles is by far one of the coolest things I have ever done in my entire life. You have not seen a crocodile until you have been underwater with it. Throughout our 6 weeks in the NT this is what I was most excited about and it did not disappoint. Right before entering the Cage of Death we saw some of the crocodiles being fed and nothing could be more terrifying. The force of a crocodile’s bite is more than 5,000 pounds per square inch. This is 5 times more powerful than a great white shark or the equivalent of being run over by a semi truck. And 4 inches of plastic is all that separated us from this deadly dinosaur. If you consider yourself a thrill seeker then you MUST enter the Cage of Death.

1) Andrew and Geoff

This goes without saying but I’m going to say it anyway. Traveling for the last 6 weeks making short films with one of my best friends is something I could do for the rest of my life. Throughout college, Andrew and I talked about doing something like this incessantly but never did I think it possible. Until it was.

Every morning we woke up in awe that we were inside a campervan named Geoff in the middle of Australia. We couldn’t believe that our wacky and sometimes strange ideas were being encouraged. Sometimes we were paranoid that the people at Vantastic thought they had made a terrible mistake.

Most of the time we never had any real plan of where we were going or what we were doing. Instead of plans we followed the fundamental rule of improvisation: “Yes and”. The concept is simple. Agree with your current situation and add something to it. With this concept nothing could go wrong. Even when something went wrong. We flew by the seat of our pants and it was quite the flight.

This journey is something I will never forget. Some people never get the opportunity to travel like this and I am incredibly thankful that World Nomads and all of their partners allowed us to do this.

I am also thankful to be able to share this experience with someone as great as Andrew Adams. He was a better wingman than I could have imagined. We shared a lot of laughs, lessons and he helped me overcome one of my greatest fears (heights). I think we made quite the team and I am excited to continue our adventures all the way to our first full-length film. Because after that we’re through. Just kidding.

By: Willie Concepcion

Tags: andrew adams, australia, geoff the van, northern territory, roadtrip, travel, travelers auto barn, van-tastic, willie concepcion

Comments

1

train of caterpillars!!! eeee! awesome!! I think I already responded like this when you guys mentioned it in a previous post but the image still gets me super excited

I love "Yes and"! And will start implementing it in my own life.

I'm so glad you guys were able to do this! You deserved it and clearly lived it out to the fullest! I can't wait to see you both again!!!

  Morgan May 10, 2010 11:38 AM

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