So we had arrived in Berry Springs, which is located about 40km south of Darwin. It was our intention to stay there for 2 or 3 days and then head closer to the city.
When You Find a Good Spot, ….Stay
We are really doing this whole trip on the fly. Sure we make plans. We say, ‘Lets do this or that’. We decide we will stay for 2 or 3 days. Aaaand, we change our mind all the time.
We ended up staying in Berry Springs for a week. We were camped right next to another lovely travelling family. The caravan park was good value compared to what others charged right in Darwin. And we were happy to have a couple of true rest days.
We caught up on homeschooling, writing, guitar, errands and rest.
Fixing Our Fridge
We have 2 Waeco fridges that we use on this trip. We run one as a fridge and the other as a freezer. The one that is running as a freezer has not been working properly. It is never getting down to temp and is running constantly which is draining our batteries and causing El Enrique a bit of stress as he walks around checking everything all the time.
While we were in Darwin we took it down to be assessed and fixed. We left it with the experts and picked it up the next day. It certainly seemed like it was fixed as it wasn’t draining the battery anymore. Excellent.
(Spoiler Alert – we soon realized it wasn’t fixed. It was no longer draining the battery. It was saying it was getting down to temperature, but it was no longer making ice and keeping things frozen, which is what we need it for. By the time we realized that it was even worse than before, we had already left Darwin…)
Scratching an Itch
We have an old friend who lives in Darwin now and it was great to catch up with him and get a local’s perspective on living in Darwin. Although he neglected to warn me about the Midgees (sandflies) until I had been completely smashed. I thought they were mozzie bites at first, but the bites I had swelled up to the size of a 5 cent piece. I had about 30 of them so I was in itch and scratch torture country for awhile.
He told me to start taking antihistamines to reduce the swelling. (It didn’t really help…) I just scratched them until they bled, then scratched them some more until they eventually disappeared (about 3-4 weeks later). Scratching was the only thing that gave me any relief.
Thankfully Lala and El Enrique seemed to be totally unaffected. (Lucky them!)
Troy lived right next to the Botanic Gardens and a short walk from the Mindil Beach markets, so we explored the area while catching up. There was a dinosaur exhibit in the Cycad garden at the Botanic Gardens and Lala loved running around trying to find all the dinosaurs.
While we were there we came across a printout about how nature can affect your life. I found it a very succinct explanation of how I feel about camping and why it is such an important part of my life.
Mindil Beach Sunset Secrets
After our walk through the Botanic Gardens we headed to the famous Mindil Beach Markets. We walked down to watch the sunset just down from the markets. There were hundreds of people, so crowded.
After a bit of a walk around we walked towards the casino to start walking back to Troy’s house. Just a short 5 minute walk away there was hardly anyone about but the same beautiful sunset.
Free Fun in Darwin
We did a bunch of other stuff in Darwin as well, like visit the Museum, which was free entry. It had a great exhibit on Cyclone Tracy which we all found really interesting. Lala loved the little room that you could stand in and hear what the cyclone was like. It was hard to drag her out of there.
We were all amazed by Sweetheart – a real (dead) crocodile which was massive. I estimated she could have eaten 20 Lalas easily. (Lala wasn’t impressed when I said this out loud.)
The Museum is also the Art Gallery focusing on Indigenous Art. We all walked around and picked our favourites. This was mine.
Before we left on this trip, the number one thing that Lala said she wanted to do or see was waterparks. There are 2 free waterparks in Darwin, so we had to visit both of them. The first one we went to was the Palmerston Waterpark which is the smallest of the two. There are 3 huge waterslides, but unfortunately Lala was too small to go on them. Instead she had a play at the splash and spray water playground.
As she was running through water spray she ran straight into another little girl and they cracked their heads on each other. They were both howling and Lala ran over to us. There was a blue bruise on her head straight away that turned into a huge lump that was half the size of her forehead over the next couple of hours. Luckily we had some ice in the car so we wrapped her up took her to the car and began the icing process. Her head hurt for the next few days but she has a hard head (just like El Enrique) so I pity the other poor girl.
The Leanyer Water Park
The Leanyer Water Park is bigger, but again she was too small for the water slides. No problem, she still had a great time at the amazing playground, water park with smaller waterslides and the pool.
As always she made a new little friend and we passed a few happy hours, injury free. El Enrique was on water duty, so I got to sit in the sun and chill out, which is one of my favourite things to do.
Mango Season Starts
The mango season was just about to start when we were in Darwin. Where we were staying in Berry Springs, was also where a lot of the pickers lived for their 3 month picking season. Most of them were from Malaysia so we impressed them with our Bahasa language skills (I used to live in Malaysia, and generally use Bahasa to tell Lala to hurry up, or sit down and eat her dinner and stuff like that).
The day before we were due to leave, the first of the ripe mangoes became available so we grabbed a cheap bag from a roadside stall and for the next few days we were eating mango and yoghurt or mango and tuna salad, or just plain mango. We love the stuff.
Kakadu Here We Come (or not)
Kakadu was our next destination. We had stocked up on groceries and water and were all ready to go the next day. We had planned where we were going to camp and what we were going to see over the next few days.
The night before we were going to leave El Enrique had a chat to his mum and we realized that they were in Katherine, only an hour from where we were in Darwin. (They are doing their own trip) We realized that if we went to Kakadu we would pass each other and not get to catch up.
We were trying to decide how we could manage to catch up. All of the scenarios didn’t seem to work and in the end we decided to scrap Kakadu and head straight down to Katherine to spend a few days with them. We will head back to Kakadu another day, but we just couldn’t miss the opportunity to catch up with Memére and Pop in the centre of Australia. So that is what we did…