For 5 fabulous days I was able to join Kaz, Daz, Noah and Chloe on their epic Northern Australia journey. When Kaz originally told me about the itinerary for The Smiths go West, a spark ignited in me. As many of you know, Kazza and her family are essentially my second family and are often my ‘go to retreat peeps’. I visit Orange multiple times through out the year to see my dear friend Kaz, and her family are always there ready for me with open arms. This holiday for me was certainly no different. I had never been to Darwin and the thought of not seeing Kaz for 7 months was almost unthinkable. So on Tuesday 5th June I flew in to Darwin from Canberra to be received by the Smithies with huge beautiful smiles and wide open welcoming arms. The Smiths were a vision of a very warm, relaxed, very tanned, adventurous family.
From the airport we ventured down to the Waterfront for delicious Oysters, a couple of drinks and a beautiful dinner. Kaz and I demolished a bowl of Chlli mud crab and Chloe and Noah were most amused at how messy we got. Daz even broke one of the metal crab crackers with his bare hands – he is so strong!
I stayed in a cabin in the Big 4 park that the Smithies were staying in and we spent plenty of down time swimming in the park pools and relaxing by their camp site. “Myrtle” the camper trailer certainly looks like it provides a comfortable home away from home and it sounds like the Smiths have got a very efficient set-up and pack-up routine. The climate in Darwin at this time of year was just beautiful. Warm sunny days and clear, mild nights.
Darwin is a lovely city and has many wonderful attractions. During our time together we toured the Royal Flying Doctor museum which is also a WWII museum which is very well set up to give you an insight in to what occurred in Darwin during the Japanese bombings in Feb 1942. I have to admit that I had no idea of the extent to which Darwin was bombed at that time. It must have been a terrifying time and it certainly made me aware of how exposed Darwin is to the rest of the world compared to the south eastern areas of Australia that I spend the majority of my time in. We swam in the wave pool in the centre of town, ate a delicious lunch at Cullen Bay Marina, and watched the most amazing sunset over Mindel Beach after eating our way through the markets. We did a walking tour through the Darwin city centre which offered more insights in to the WWII bombings of Darwin as well as plenty of details and history from Cyclone Tracey, which I learned destroyed 3/4 of Darwin in 1974. Yet another stark reminder of how far from home I was. I also managed to squeeze in a day trip to Litchfield National Park. The Smiths were headed to Litchfield after their stay in Darwin so I booked myself on a tour and had the most amazing day. I saw massive termite mounds, swam in the Buley Rock Pools and at Florence Falls (Wangi falls were still closed for crocodile surveys) and enjoyed (??) a boat ride on the Adelaide river which I can now assure you are Croc infested waters. The crocodile boat tour was both wonderful and terrifying and once again reminded me of the sharp contrast of life in the NT compared to the lower eastern states.
I am so truly blessed to have a life that allows me to travel to catch up with my dearest friend, even when she is 3133kms away. I am grateful to my own little family that managed without me whilst I had such a wonderful adventure and I will never ever take for granted how lucky I am to have such a dear friend such as Kaz, and to her precious family who constantly welcomes me in to their lives wherever they may be! I love you Smithies to the moon and back and look forward to following the rest of your adventures online, but even more so in person when you return home to Orange. This is the intruder, signing out.
PS my apologies for the lack of photos…..I am having technical problems syncing my photos but will try to revise my blog and ad some pics ASAP