I’m pretty fit, fabulous & fierce for Almost-53, though I say it myself. And last year I trekked in Nepal for a couple of weeks, so I certainly enjoy a challenge…
But my most recent adventure was HARDER, even a little scary to be honest, and I didn’t even have to leave Australia. I did fly to Darwin though, up in the Northern Territory, which is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, with an experienced bushwalking companion.
Where was I going? I was going ‘offtrack’.
From the red dirt to the fire-blackened eucalypt trees via fertile billabongs and wetlands, Kakadu National Park covers nearly 20,000 square kilometres, and is World Heritage listed. It’s full of incredible wildlife and plant diversity, plus crocodiles. Like, truly wild, roaming-around-the waterways-doing-their-own-thing crocodiles.
These signs are everywhere; it’s an Australian cliché that all our native animals and reptiles are trying to kill us… but sometimes, it’s kinda true!
I emigrated to Australia when I was 20; the concept of crocodiles is somewhat foreign to me. But at literally every single creek crossing/waterway/riverbank viewing platform/low pools, I had the danger hammered into me.
And then this happened, down at the local billabong:
The next day, while walking back along a sandy path beside a river, I turned to see a croc’s eyes and head staring straight at me; we locked eyes, then it sank slowly beneath the surface like a silent submarine.
I felt scared, but knew I was safe.
Unlike a few days earlier, when climbing up a steep rocky gorge, trying to balance my 12kg backpack while thrashing through prickly scrub, sweating in the heat, realising we were getting a bit stuck, and acutely aware that although the river was only 100 metres away, my water bottle was empty, and I felt desperately thirsty…
But that’s another story- Part Two to follow.