This weeks blog article comes from the wonderful Rachel Brown Photo Blogger. Rachel is a single mum of three grown children and fully embracing the chance to travel now that they are older. Rachel hired a Station wagon from our Darwin branch to go and explore Kakadu National Park and shares her road trip adventure and photographs with us in this weeks blog.
”I hadn’t been to the Northern Territory for a few years and I hadn’t been to Kakadu in 5 years. I really loved it the first time I went so when I saw cheap flights I decided to book. Renting hire cars can be expensive and they often make you jump through hoops so you need to read the fine print. I decided to go with Travellers Autobarn. They had a range of campervans and station wagons but I can only drive automatic so I’m often limited. I picked the good old Ford station wagon, it had heaps of room for my gear and I could use it as a bed if it rained.
You can get a living equipment package in case you decided to camp. This includes a tent and cooking utensils etc but I decided to treat myself and book air-conditioned rooms. Since I went in November, which is officially the start of the wet season (pretty humid too) everything tends to be cheaper. It rained once while I was driving for 10 minutes so I was really lucky.
Don’t expect WIFI or even internet connection in most of the Northern Territory. Telstra might be better than the others but I guess you go to the Territory to unwind. Make the most of it while you get the chance! While I was rock climbing I did receive one text from my son asking about our Netflix password haha. A parents job is never done!
My station wagon wasn’t brand new but it was super roomy and so smooth to drive. I don’t usually like air conditioning but I have to admit I had it pumping the whole time. It was around 33-38 deg during the day and I drove over 1000 kms in 4 days. The tinted windows helped out too. I was really surprised at how far a tank of petrol got me, so obviously, Travellers Autobarn service their cars regularly. The speed limit on some roads in the Northern Territory can get up to 130 km per hour and that’s when you can tell if a car has any steering issues. My wagon didn’t miss a beat.
Hotels were pretty empty so both places I stayed in I received an upgrade to my room, can’t complain about that! That’s one of the benefits of going to the Northern Territory in the beginning or the end of the wet season. It’s a gamble though and some tours stop operating in October. I rang a few places to double check they were still operating so I didn’t get disappointed when I got to Darwin.
You have to love the feeling of freedom and that’s exactly what I felt on my road trip. I had no exact plans. I did have my paper maps from Hema which helped me decide where to go along the way. They showed me where campsites, roadhouses, fuel and look outs were so I wasn’t guessing. I also had my Explorer App on my phone but I enjoyed having something to hold in my hands in case my phone went flat!
Once I returned my wagon I walked down to Monsoons Restaurant & Bar and stayed there for the rest of the night with the super friendly staff. Enjoyed a fabulous dinner and I even came 3rd in the evening’s entertainment, CRAB RACING! Most backpackers will know what I’m talking about hahaha.
All good things must come to an end. I had a great time and as soon as I get the chance to do it again, I will!”
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