Natalie Down Under 
Natalie's adventures in upside down land

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Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Another splendid day of art and crocs and general spectacularity.
We made lots of friends - an 84 year old backpacker couple - expect to see their picture on pictures soon (they took one of us too - for their website I presume?).
Jim's new best mate is a 10year old Scottish boy called Alastair. They played game boy for over 2 hours together and both looked very happy. Alastair panned Jim completely which, according to Jim, is because 10year olds have smaller fingers.
Back in Darwin and tomorrow flying to Alice Springs to pick up our campervan for the next part of the adventure.
Natalie posted this at 10:54 PM.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003


Only now do I truly appreciate why Australians are the only people who can say "awesome" without a trace of irony.

Day 2 of our Kakadu adventure. Picked up this morning by a man called Adrian in a 4WD who, as it turns out, is some kind of international expert on Aboriginal Rock Art, having written 3 books on it. The only other people on the tour are a psychiatrist from Melbourne and the bloke who invented the Trident Workbench and is now living off his millions smoking dope in Byron Bay and travelling.

Adrian is excited that it's a small tour and decides to take us to some of the rarely visited rock art. We travel to Arnhem land which is an Aboriginal reserve and can't be entered without a permit. The next thing we know we are rockclimbing rope free up sheer rocks to get to tiny high up ledges with amazingly detailed and interesting rock art which is 1000s of years old and very few people have ever seen. You remember that bit from the start of Mission Impossible 2 where he is up a pinacle? That was us. It turns out that despite not doing much in the way of the outside world for a few years Jim and I are at least as nimble as mountain goats and as springy as rock wallabies.

We also had a little cruise in his boat around a billabong - croc spotting and waterbird watching. He boiled us a billycan of tea at lunchtime and then more rock scrambling up to see "secret mens business" - rock paintings of fights and women with big labia/ men with big testicles. The end of the tour he whips out his didgeridoo from behind a rock and plays us a few ditties - turns out at one time he was a professional didgeridoo player. Not one word of exagerration.

Natalie posted this at 6:32 PM.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Kakadu kakatastic!!

Rock art, wetlands, cruising, crocs. So much fun! Having a splendid splendid time and simply bowled over by how beautiful it is. You will all be bored to death with the photos (averaging 48/day).

See you soon.
Natalie posted this at 7:04 PM.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Northern territory not very like Northern exposure. Disappointingly.

Getting to know Darwin a pleasure. It's almost as warm here as in Bristol - good training.

Spent first day a wandering - managed to make the big museum which had much cool Aboriginal art (expect bastardised mosaic versions soon) and a stuffed 5.1metre long crocodile called Darling. Which is cool. Also went to open air cinema on a beach, watched 'Adaptation' with waves lapping around. Discovered why multiplexes aren't fitted out with deckchairs.

Day 2 Jim tells me he has arranged a visit to a traditional indiginous cultural display - I was very excited. It was all a bit wierd. Everyone wore white. There were short coloured fellas and enormous white fellas. They seemed to be from different tribes. Anyway they did a long boring dance with a small red ball, 2 flat sticks, 6 round poles and 4 little short poles. I didn't understand what was going on at all but Jim got right into the spirit and was shouting and jumping up and down at the same time as the rest of the audience.

Today we went on a tour to Lichfield national park. First we baited Barramundi (HUGE fish!) then we went out in a little flimsy boat and waved frozen pork chops at crocs in an attempt to get them to leap high enough to get in the boat. Great. Then tour round national park (termite mounds and waterfalls - what more could you ask for). Swam in big waterfall pools and tried not to think like a pork chop.

Tomorrow off to Kakadu. 3 day tour. Can't wait.

12 days until home!

SEE you soon.

PS Prize for counting the number of spelling mistakes in above.
Natalie posted this at 9:27 PM.