Going Walkabout in the Northern Territory, Australia First impressions of this part of Australia

By Abi King | Australia

Jul 13

Lameroo Beach Darwin photo montageAt 3am I woke up. At 4am I gave up. For the last few hours, I’ve watched the steady lights of Darwin Harbour flicker across the water while nothing else moves. Now it’s six and the sun’s still tucked up in bed.

I’m here in Australia’s Northern Territory for a week long (or short, given the size of the place) walkabout.

I arrived yesterday and took my first jet-lagged steps around the city of Darwin. At least, I think it was yesterday, given that today is still yesterday for my family back home.

Darwin’s a clean, ship-shape place on Australia’s northern coast. It overlooks the Timor Sea and residents find it easier to reach Bali than to head down south to Sydney. The weather here, I’m told is hot and sticky or just plain hot. While Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth feel the chill of winter, here it’s a balmy, sunscreen-grabbing 30 or so degrees by day. And now I know, first hand, that it’s also sticky and warm by night.

Outside, the lights still flicker, although the water moves even less than before.

Larrakia Darwin

Padj Padj Janama Penanke Ngamatuawia for short

Earlier, Robbie Mills, whose real name is Padj Padj Janama Penanke Ngamatuawia for short, showed as around the red-rocked cove of Lamaroo Beach. He describes himself as Larrakia – an Aboriginal word that means people. There are more than fifty tribes or clans in the Northern Territory, each with their own language, culture and customs.

Robbie shows us milkwood, chews green-backed ants and walks barefoot across the stones of the beach and then the tarmac of the road. He shows us Aboriginal art at Lyons Cottage and the restless daubs of paint still swirl around my sleepless mind.

Tomorrow, I’ll swim with crocodiles. Or perhaps by now that’s today. You can follow along on Twitter by tracking the hashtag #ozlab or track my images live at @insidetravellab on instagram. You can even, if you so wish, check out the new page of reviews, tips and suggestions I’m playing with on foursquare.

Or, you can just sit back and relax and wait for my blog posts to arrive in your inboxin your own sweet time.

My clock tells me it’s 6.30 but the sky is as dark as ever.

“You have to get used to a different sense of time,” a Darwinsider told me yesterday. “The Northern Territory, NT, stands for the following: not today, not tomorrow. Maybe next Tuesday.”

Eventually, then, sleep will come. And so will the crocodiles…

Have you travelled to the Northern Territory before? Do you have any tips to share?

Lamaroo Beach, Darwin Disclosure: I’m going walkabout with support from the Northern Territory Tourist Board


About the Author

Abigail King is a writer and photographer who swapped a career as a doctor for a life on the road. Now published by Lonely Planet, the BBC, CNN, National Geographic Traveler & more, she feels most at home experimenting here: covering unusual journeys, thoughtful travel and luxury on www.insidethetravellab.com

Jayne July 13, 2012

Enjoy your time in the NT Abi -and have a Farmer’s Union Iced Coffee for me!

    Abi King July 18, 2012

    Cheers! It’s going well so far, though I still have to track down a croc burger…

Taxi traveller July 15, 2012

I have not been to NT yet but I am longing for it! I think my tip would be to not do to much but to indulge and just be. Stay present. Attend to the small things. NT has so much to do and it can be quite stressing. To just relax with what is and not achieving could be the best travel experience.

    Abi King July 18, 2012

    Probably good advice but so hard to stick to! I want to see and do E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G!!

Zoƫ Dawes May 23, 2013

Lovely article Abi :-) You capture the spirit as well as the strange beauty of this part of Australia. I also did the walk with Robbie and he has a really personable way of bringing his people’s heritage alive …

    Abi King May 23, 2013

    Thank you! Yes, it was so, so interesting talking to Robbie. I only wish it were a little easier to talk to more people about Aboriginal heritage. Still, good to start somewhere I suppose!

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