Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY

Monday 7th June 2004 to Wednesday 9th June 2004

Monday 7th June 2004

Today was a relatively quiet day with a reasonably short move from Jabiru in the Kakadu National Park to the 'Top' Shady Glen Caravan Park situated on Stuart Highway, Darwin (suburb of 'Berrimah'), only 246 kilometres for the day.

We were late starting on this journey due to a long chat with the people in the caravan next to us. 'Brian and Lorraine' who had the number plate 'BRILOR' that we had seen an several occasions on our travels. They were from the Rockingham area and had started their journey a few days after us. They had also been to Tasmania and up the east coast to Cairns.

We eventually started out at about 9.55am and headed toward Darwin on the Arnhem Highway, stopping briefly at South Alligator to pick up 20 litres of fuel in one of the jerry cans to ensure we would make it. We hadn't filled up with fuel since arriving in Katherine.

Back on the road again and through some beautiful bush land and the small local communities (two or three buildings only) of Annarurroo and Corroboree Park, then the larger location (small town) of Humpty Doo. We then came to the Stuart Highway where we turned left and passed through Coolalinga and Berrimah and the caravan park that we are now set up in.

It is our intention to remain in Darwin until Friday morning, then move to Litchfield National Park before we start out trek toward the Western Australian border and eventually home.

Happy Crocodile about to pounce!

Tuesday 8th June 2004

Another easy start to the day with a bit of a sleep in then it was time to do the washing, well 'one of us' did it whilst the 'other one' did a bit of data entry in the computer and made a few calculations on fuel consumption etc. 

The end result is that we ended up with cleaner (note I didn't say clean!) clothes and also the knowledge that whilst towing the caravan our fuel consumption has been as low as (worst ever) 4.77 Km per litre (13.9 MPG) between Charters Towers and Longreach and up to (best ever) 5.9 km per litre (16.7 MPG) between Longreach and Mount Isa.  As both these drives were relatively flat stretches of road, it appears the speed and wind direction/resistance are the main factors effecting the fuel consumption, more so than hills etc.  Up to this time it has cost us an average of $15.50 for every 100 km we have traveled. This includes our total kilometres both towing and not towing the caravan.

After all the work around the caravan was completed, we took a drive out to the outer suburb of Pameston and found ourselves at a fairly large shopping centre, so 'one of us' decided she needed a shopping fix.  In we went and helped the shareholders of the Target store out by spending well in that store before transferring our generosity to the Coles Store.  Then came the important purchase from the Liquorland store.  'One of us' ended up with some sparkling wine and the 'other one' topped up his beer supplies, then came the obligatory purchase of a Darwin Stubby  I'm not sure if diamonds and gold are drinkable, however there must be some in the bottle going by the price of it......!

This escapade filled in about three hours of our time so then it was back to the caravan park and the necessary chat or two with other caravanners about all things important before settling down for the night.

Tomorrow should see us getting a little more earnest and doing a bit more of the tourist thing around town.  Right now it it time to wash the sweat away with a nice cold drink or two.

The thirst is big around here!

Dawin Harbour and food court


Wednesday 9th June 2004

We awoke to another day just like all the others in Darwin.  The sun was shining from a clear blue sky and there was a gentle cooling breeze blowing that was keeping the humidity at bay.  We could say it is a bit hard to take but we would not be telling the truth.

At about we went for a drive into the city and parked on the esplanade, then walked into the city centre mall for a stroll.  after visiting a souvenir shop or two and walking up and down the mall, we returned to the Esplanade and had a walk along one of the walking paths which leads to the Cenotaph.  There are some really great views over Darwin Harbour as this walkway meanders along under palms and other large shady trees.

At about 10.30 we returned to the Patrol, then drove down to the Wharf Precinct where we parked beside the World War II Fuel Bunker tunnels.  After paying the sum of $4.40 each we entered the bunker tunnels and spend a good hour looking at the may old photographs that showed Darwin during the war.  The information was very enlightening and made us realise that this part of Australia was really under threat, in fact the first Japanese bombing raid on Darwin was larger than the attack on Pearl Harbour about seven weeks before, but is far less known about.  Fortunately there were not as many casualties as there was in Pearl Harbour, although there were still 292 service men and civilians killed in that raid on Darwin on the 19th February 1942.

Whilst still in the wharf Precinct we drove out on the jetty to the end where there is a food shed (or complex) and sat in the shade being cooled by a moderate breeze flowing over the water whilst we enjoyed some very nice barramundi and chips from one of the food outlets.  This was a very pleasant location with a great atmosphere for lunch and we understand the evening really provides a great setting for dinner under the stars whilst overlooking the harbour.

With full stomachs and some sightseeing behind us we returned to the caravan park via a round-a-bout drive through another part of the Darwin area, then settled for a rest before contemplating what we may do later in the day.

As 'one of us' had to remind the 'other one' that his medication was getting low and would not last until arriving back in Perth, the 'other one' went on a search and rescue mission to locate a pharmacy and then had to make an appointment to see a doctor at 10.45 tomorrow to replenish the medication that the prescriptions did not cover.

There are still many things we could see around Darwin and maybe tomorrow we will add a couple more to the 'Have seen' list, but the main target is the markets tomorrow evening.  These are a must see for anyone visiting Darwin.  The 'other one' has been to them once before on a previous Conference visit to Darwin some years ago and 'One of us' is determined she will get to them on this visit.

Please Note: Depending on the time required at the Markets tomorrow evening, the web site may not be uploaded tomorrow evening.  As we are then moving on to Bachelor and Litchi Park the following day, uploading that night will depend on telephone reception at Bachelor.

Darwin harbour entrance and Yacht Club
viewed from the Esplanade

Inside the Darwin Stokes Hill Fuel Bunkers