Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Kimberley To Top End Adventure

It's been a while since my last post in Port Hedland because I've been almost constantly on the move, but now I've finally arrived in Darwin and can sit down in peace and try and recount some of what has happened to me.

The start of the trip was inauspicious: I tried hitching out of Port Hedland, but after 4 hours of sitting by the side of the highway I admitted defeat and took the bus to Broome, even though it pained me (or more to the point, pained my wallet) to do so. Broome's the main tourist and administrative centre for the Kimberley (which is what this part of Australia is called) and is especially famed for its pearls and Cable beach. Seeing as I'm not interested in jewellery I had to make do with the beach which, I have to admit, was actually really pretty. The white sand is soft, yet firm, beneath your feet, there's plenty of space for everybody and the water is very clear, not that that matters though as you can't go in the water due to stingers (small, almost invisible, yet deadly, jellyfish also known as irukandji).

The town and beach having been fully inspected, and found to be in their correct locations, it was time to leave. From Broome though I had more luck in finding rides than in Port Hedland and have steadily made my way along the northern coast to Darwin with a succession of kind and friendly people, most notably a couple of French guys (Vianney and Pierre, who happen to have their own website for their trip, though it is far more professional than my humble blog) who I've been with for the past 3 days and who have taken me for the past 1800km.

There have been several interesting sights along the way, such as a natural quartz formation that looks uncannily like the great wall of China (so I don't need to visit that now). The Kimberley is also full of sandstone valleys and gorges with beautiful rock formations, so just driving from one town to another (and believe me, there's a lot of driving) can be interesting (at times). The landscape is also littered with termite mounds, ranging from the humble foot-high bungalows to the 5m+ skyscrapers of the animal world. Then there are the boab trees that dot the landscape, looking like enormous bowling skittles that have decided to sprout branches: very amusing.

Whilst driving around this remote area of Australia there have been a couple of things that have really struck me though. In Britain we have lorries, in the USA they have trucks, but that just doesn't cut the mustard over here in Australia, oh no. Over here they have ROAD TRAINS! These monsters of the road are just enormous and can easily reach over 50m in length. These behemoths take over 1km to stop, although they never do, whether you're in your car minding your own business or whether you're a herd of cattle (hypothetically speaking, of course), they will plow right through you. If you see one coming your way you just get well off the road and pray you don't get sucked up by the turbulence! Then there are the random bushfires. On the road to Darwin we must have passed through about 10 of them. They weren't raging infernos or anything, probably because the wet season has just finished, but when you see flames just metres from the road it makes you a tad worried. Still, at least it allows you to see tons of birds of prey as they circle above the flames waiting to pounce on all the cute, furry animals fleeing the conflagration.

Now though I'm going to chill out for a day or two before trying to find a lift down to Alice Springs so that I can visit Uluru (Ayres rock), though if I don't manage that then I'll just head on out to Singapore. Either way you'll find out in a few days.

1 comment:

verdepasto said...

Hola Erick

I was looking fro a guanaguato hostel and end reading your blog. Could you tell me where did you stay in guanajuato? I'm mexican and I'm planning to go on vacations tehre a week or so; you know people around the world keep telling me that it's beautiful and well being mexican it's a pity I haven't visited the place. Anyway any recommendations on that? I know there ins't a lot of mexicans staying at hostels but it's really cheap don't you think?