travelling the seven parts of the world

Top End

Feb 29th, 2008

What is usually referred to as the Top End, is the northern-most part of Australia's Northern Territory. It is a land of lush rain forests, great rivers and tropical climate. This means there is no summer or winter here, just the wet and dry season.

To my surprise, we were there in the wet season. This ended up being a good thing, because we had never been in the tropics during a wet season, so we witnessed some really scary rains, and most areas were still accessible, so we left with the feeling that we hadn't really missed much.

The usual day in the Top End during the wet season starts nice, with the sun shining and there being few clouds. This is the time when you want to get all your activities done. By about 2:00 PM clouds start to gather. By about 3:00 PM it is pretty cloudy if not raining. By 4:00 PM it is usually raining, and raining BAD. Usually rain comes with thunderstorms, though lightning isn't as spectacular as during the buildup season in December.

I love that 130 km/h speed limit sign. It was the only place in Australia we saw that you were allowed to drive this fast, and the only place where you actually couldn't.

This is what the windscreen looks like when you're driving:

The capital of the Northern Territory is Darwin, at the top end of the top end. There isn't really much to see or do in Darwin, a storm sometime in the 1970s completely destroyed the town, and it has been re-built with USA Midwest style block building architecture. You can't swim in the water because there is box jellyfish there, which is the case from October to April. The box jellyfish has one of the most painful stings in the world, apparently you die not from poison, but simply from there being too much pain. So you definitely don't wanna mess with those guys.

So we ended up hiring a car and heading out on the very next day.