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  • Writer's pictureJess

Week 13 Weekly Blog 19/08/2021- 25/08/2021

Last week saw us waiting at the beautiful and relaxing Bitter Springs/Mataranka for a 3-day snap lockdown in Katherine and Darwin to finish. Read on below for what adventures we got up to in week 13 of Allan and I exploring Oz.

Day 85

I did a workout while Allan had his morning coffee, then we both walked to Bitter Springs for a swim/float downstream. The whole time we were at Bitter Springs, Allan was deciding whether he would go back to Mataranka Homestead to buy a whip, as he was regretting not buying one last night. On the walk back to the carpark from Bitter Springs, I spotted All4Adventure 4x4’s Simmo and Jase, but Allan didn’t believe that I saw them. We got to the carpark and Allan saw the All4Adventure truck and set-ups and we were admiring them when Jase and Simmo came back from the springs. Allan had a huge fangirl moment and asked for a photo with both the guys in front of their rigs. We left them to their devices and walked back to the caravan park. We got an ABC update which said that Darwin’s lockdown had finished, but Katherine was going to remain in lockdown for another 24hours. Upon hearing that, we decided to stay another night (tomorrow night) to await confirmation of Katherine’s lockdown finishing. We chilled out at camp for the afternoon. Allan made the decision that he was going to go back to Mataranka tonight to buy a whip. We left for Mataranka at about 6:30pm as Allan was adamant that Whippy set up his merchandise stall at 7pm before his show, but I wasn’t so sure. Sure enough, we got there, and his stall wasn’t set up yet, so we went for a walk to Waterhouse River which we had access to from Mataranka Thermal Pool. We had heard that on dusk when the bats fly over, the birds and bats drink from the river and the crocs feed on them. We got to the river, and I could see what I thought was a croc with something in its mouth. At first Allan couldn’t see it, but then it surfaced more, and you could see more of its body as well as head. The croc was feeding on a small wallaby or kangaroo and was watching us intently. We took some photos before walking along the river further to try and spot another croc. We didn’t see another one, but as we were walking back, the croc we had seen earlier (we think) was floating in the middle of the river with just its head out the water. It started swimming before disappearing beneath the surface of the water. We walked back to the bar/bistro, sat down and ate ice creams and listened to the live music while waiting for Whippy Griggs to set up his stall. At 8:15pm he set up his merchandise and we had a look. Allan was happy to purchase the cheaper, more basic, 5-foot whip for $90 which Whippy makes himself. The other option was a prettier whip, 6-foot long, but cost $160. Allan got a photo with Whippy Griggs and had his whip signed. We then left, got back to camp, had dinner and played cards. Allan was very stoked with his purchase.

Day 86

I went to reception early and booked another night’s stay (tonight), then completed a very basic workout, as my legs were very sore after my workout yesterday. We went for a swim at Bitter Springs, then on the way back, the ABC update confirmed that Katherine was coming out of lockdown at 12pm today. We decided to book Sue and Brian in for one night, as we predicted the park would get busy with people coming back from Darwin and Katherine and we were told to put a table on the site that we had chosen for them. We then went into town to get some groceries, as Allan wanted to make nachos for tea tonight. We bought hot chips and gravy ($8.50) and a steak pie ($8.50) from the bakery for lunch, then went back to camp. We chilled out for a bit, met Sue and Brian at reception and Allan helped them set up camp while I wrote the blog. We walked down to Bitter Springs, went for one float before heading back to camp. Allan made nachos for tea, which we ate with Sue and Brian, then played “Sequence”. Allan and Brian won 2 games to 1. Then out come the cards and we played “Bastard” for a few rounds before going to bed.

Day 87

Today we were leaving Bitter Springs. We packed up the camper, said goodbye to Sue and Brian and left the caravan park. We stopped at the roadhouse/bakery and fuelled up and bought food for breakfast. Got on the road at 9am. It was bitumen following the Stuart Highway the whole way to Katherine. We stopped at Katherine, put our masks on to try and find Monopoly Deal. We had to buy it after having lots of fun playing it with Joe and Jade at Karumba Point. After trying to find it in Kmart, Newsagency and Smokemart, we Googled it and the search said we could buy it from Woolworths! We had to line up to get into Woolworths, but we got in and found Monopoly Deal and bought it for $10. We left Katherine, then drove on to Darwin. We stopped at Adelaide River Hotel for a toilet stop and a beer for Allan. We continued along the Stuart Highway all the way to the caravan park we had booked the day before. It was 3:30pm when we arrived and went to check-in with our masks on, as masks were mandatory. We were waiting in line to check-in when a lady rocks up to reception asking if anyone had a first aid kit. Both reception ladies were busy and both Allan and I turned around, saw a trail of blood and the lady asking for first aid had a gaping hole in her lower left calf with blood pouring down her leg and her shoe filled with blood. She stated she had been bitten by a dog in the park. Allan and I told her to sit down and put her foot up and Allan went out to the car to get our first aid kit. One reception lady tried to find out who the owner of the dog was and attempted to get into contact with them to inform them what had happened, while the other lady called an ambulance. Allan put gloves on and grabbed a gauze bandage and wrapped it around the bite to try and stop the bleeding. The lady mentioned that this was the third time she had been bitten by a dog and had previously required surgery. Allan kept the lady calm and waited with her while waiting for the ambulance. It took 20minutes for the ambulance to arrive, Allan handed over everything he did to the paramedics, then we checked in to the park. We got to our site and Allan made a comment to the man in the caravan site next to us saying, “When are you taking me out on your boat fishing?” The guy (later found out his name is Mike) promptly said, “when this wind dies down. Potentially tomorrow or Monday if you want to come?”. Allan told him he was keen and then we started setting up camp. We had just opened the camper and a man rocked up and asked if we were the ones that helped his wife out after the dog attacked her, I pointed him to Allan and the man proceeded to hand over a 6-pack of mid-strength Great Northern cans to say thank you before leaving to be with his wife. We finished setting up camp, chilled out, played Monopoly Deal (Allan won 6-3) and had wraps for tea. I was getting bitten by midgies and sand flies, so we went to bed. What an eventful first day in Darwin!

Day 88

We woke up sweating, itchy and covered in midgie bites! It was already quite humid. We had our morning coffee and went for a walk around the caravan park. We went to Woolworths for food shopping and Jaycar for a new battery box, as the old one was stuffed! We got back to camp, had wraps for lunch, chilled out at camp for a bit. Allan decided he wanted to get more fishing tackle before going out fishing with Mike. There is a fishing store not far from the caravan park, so we went there. On the way back to the caravan park, we took a detour and went to the waterfront and Stokes Hill Wharf. The waterfront was pumping with people at the wave pool, swimming enclosure and Darwin Festival events. We went to have a look at the wharf. I got an ice cream which was delicious, but Allan ate almost all of it despite saying he didn’t want one. We went back to camp, Allan set up a few rigs ready for fishing tomorrow while I chilled out at camp. We cooked steak on the BBQ and had salad for tea. We then played Monopoly Deal with the collaborated score being 9-6 Allan’s way. I have got to pick up my game if I am going to beat him. We both got bitten badly with midgie bites again despite having put on Rid earlier in the night.

Day 89

We seem to already be working on “Darwin Time”, as Allan and I have both just got to Darwin and relaxed, sleeping in until 7am (which is uncommon for us) and taking our time getting coffee and having breakfast. Both of us were scratching madly from midgie bites. We put the washing in the washing machine, then chilled out at camp before hanging out the washing. We went for a swim in the pool, then had lunch before Allan went out fishing with Mike on his boat. I stayed at camp chilling out while Allan went fishing, because there wasn’t enough room on the boat and unless I catch something, I don’t really enjoy it. I went for a walk, then went swimming in the pool. Allan got back at 6pmish, helped clean the boat, but didn’t need to clean or fillet any fish as they didn’t catch anything that was big enough to be worth a feed. We chilled out at camp, had a swim, cooked chicken drumsticks with rice and veg for tea. Ate tea, played a couple of games of Monopoly Deal, then went to bed.

Day 90

The weather is very muggy, and we go to bed sweating, wake up sweating and sweat throughout the day and scratch like mad from all the midgie bites, Darwin life is great! We went for a swim, had coffee and breakfast and chilled out at camp in the morning. In the afternoon we explored Darwin a bit. We went to the Sailing Club for a drink (also to suss it out, as Allan wanted to apply for a job there). We then went to the Chemist for midgie bite cures as both Allan and I were covered in bites and mine had welted. We were told to try Rid and Bushman’s, given antihistamines (take one every 24hours) and were recommended a cream called Itcheze. We drove around the city, went back to camp and swam in the pool. Allan and I completed RSA courses so we could serve alcohol if we were to get a hospitality job. Allan cooked chicken rissoles for tea, while I made a salad. We ate tea, then played Monopoly Deal, but Allan kept winning so I got angry. It started to rain at about 9pm just as we were going to bed, so we put the camper kitchen away (it floods in rain) and made sure nothing could get wet. Allan woke at midnight and woke me up as it was raining very heavily. Allan wanted help to take our fridges into the camper, so they didn’t get wet. We picked everything up off the ground that wasn’t waterproof because the gravel was saturated, and water was running everywhere. I went to the toilet and walked through puddles that were ankle-depth. We went back to sleep to the sound of rain pounding on the roof of the camper and praying for no leaks.

Day 91

We woke up this morning hot and humid and walked out of the camper expecting camp to be flooded. It was dry even after the 20mm in 30minutes we had. Even the puddles that had accumulated overnight were non-existent. We had our morning coffee, then went for a swim in the pool as we were both sweating profusely due to the humidity. Allan spent the morning fixing his resume and applying for jobs while I chilled out. At 11am we left camp to go donate blood (Allan) and plasma (me). We got to Lifeblood by 11:15am (appointments weren’t until 12pm) so we walked over to Casuarina Shopping Centre to have a look around. We went back to Lifeblood for our 12pm booking, donated, then ate the Lifeblood out of food. While we were at Lifeblood donating, Allan received a call from the General Manager at the Sailing Club who asked Allan to come in for an interview tomorrow at 11:30am. We went to BCF for a look at Weber Qs as Allan had been wanting one for ages and everyone we had spoken to at the caravan park has one and loves them. We ended up walking out of BCF with a brand-new Baby Weber Q! We received a phonecall from Brian and Sue who were just at Palmerston, so we decided to meet them at their caravan park. After saying hello to Sue and Brian, we went back to our caravan park and got out our new Baby Q. Susan (the lady from Borroloola) came over to invite us over for tea tomorrow night. We accepted the invitation and she saw the new Baby Q sitting on the bench and suggested we get a trivet and convection trays, as they have been very useful for them. She said goodbye, then came back 10minutes later with a convection tray for us and showed us their trivet so we know what it looks like. We then bought tickets to a Sandbar Party for this coming Saturday, which was being put on by The Sailing Club. We chilled out at camp, went swimming in the pool, played Monopoly Deal and cooked Chow Mein for tea before going to bed.

This week after 6 nights of staying in Bitter Springs, spending our days floating down the thermal spring and the snap 3-day lockdown in Darwin and 4 days for Katherine was over we were able to continue our journey North to Darwin. We decided to save Katherine and surrounding National Parks for our next lap, so we went straight to Darwin. We got eaten by midgies, relaxed by the pool trying to escape the humidity and did some shopping. Stay tuned for whether Allan gets a job or if I even apply for a job and what Darwin has in store for us.

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