Planes, Trains, Litchfield and Tracy

The first night is never a problem. I am always so incredibly tired from the trip (can’t sleep on planes) that I sleep great. A little too great, slept till 10am Friday morning. Wasn’t supposed to and that didn’t help with the feared night 2 where jetlag kicks in for me. Had to get up at 6am to make a 7am pickup for the trip to Litchfield and my body thought it was on CET+1 so of course…I feel asleep around 4am and got about 2 hours of sleep. I hate night 2!

Litchfield National Park

That made me a bit tired for todays very hot very dry trip to Litchfield with about 34c degrees today and no sea breeze like in Darwin it was far too hot to be in the tropical sun and hats are your best friend (imagine me wearing a hat? Well you gotta. Sun will bake ya if you don’t). The park is a fine day trip, only 115km from Darwin and with some nice water falls and sweeping views. At the moment it really is the dry season, even though it’s the tropics Darwin gets no rain for months in the dry season and presently it feels more like Western Australia. The leaves are still green but everything is so dry and brittle you fear the whole thing is gonna catch on fire from the burning sun. That made Litchfield a bit on the dry side, but a polariser filter on the lens helps cut down the glare and here’s 2 views from Tomber Falls in Litchfield. Click to see fullsize and I hope it shows how dry and very warm it was today:

Litchfield National Park

Litchfield National Park

Darwin and Tracy

Friday I visited the brilliant MAGNT – Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. I get bored in museums generally but there are exceptions. Stunning displays of aboriginal art, natural history of Australia and a special section on Cyclone Tracy make this museums a must-see. Darwin has had a tough life. Darwin was bombed by the japanese in WWII and almost destroyed. And not once but twice has cyclones practically erased Darwin from the face of the earth. The worst natural disaster in Australia is Cyclone Tracy in Darwin in 1974 and at the museum you can learn all about it. Best bit is this pitch black room that plays the sound of Tracy (someone recorded parts of it when it hit Darwin) at very high volume. Standing there in the darkness listening to Tracy she comes alive and it is chilling and scary! Imagine winds at 217+ km/hour (that was the speed recorded before Tracy broke the equipment) mixed with flying debris like tonnes of corrugated iron scraping across concrete and hitting other buildings etc. Must have been hell on earth when she hit Darwin and very few of the house were built to withstand anything so the city practically disappeared.

Speaking of WWII – Darwin had the distinction of being the only city in the world with an airstrip that crossed a railroad line! The army needed to extend this particular airstrip and only option was across a railroad line. So in typical Aussie “have a go” engineering fashion, it got extended across the railroad and the tower had to coordinate landings and takeoffs with the train schedule. The airforce pilots must have loved this!

Sunsets and sandflies

Monday I’m off camping in Kakadu National Park so tomorrow I am doing oh so exciting laundry – and relaxing. I tend to forget that sometimes. I’ll leave you with a sunset shot from Bicentennial Park in the city, sunsets are never ordinary here (and can include lots of biting sandflies as I found out sitting here in the park at dusk). Miss you all, hope you’re going great!
Darwin Sunset

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