On the outskirts of Darwin where the Stuart Highway meets the Arnhem Highway is the town of Humpty Doo. And beyond that Noonamah. It’s all mango farms, buffalo horns on gates and freight containers passing for homes in large paddocks.
We are staying with my cousin Emily. It’s been a long time between sleepovers.
Since then she’s grown up, married a fella, bought 40 acres and found her passion as an acute care nurse in the Renal Failure Unit of Darwin Hospital.
But she still doesn’t eat her crusts.
Emily and husband Dan (a roofer, who ploughs his way through impossible heat and heights) are putting out the dusty doormat and offer us some true Territorian hospitality. Not bad for two kids from Geelong.
The newlyweds piece of paradise is a 40 acres of scrubby bushland, home a small shack which is gradually being renovated.
It’s pure outdoor living as we arrive, and their to do list to complete by the start of the Wet season is impressive.
The camper has been checked in for repairs … Skipper is channelling his inner bush mechanic and repairing the suspension, and adding new shock absorbers.
For us bed for the next week is a bug tent in Emily’s soon-to-be-complete kitchen. The floor has been tiled in time for our arrival. Windows are next on the list.
Emily and Dan share their property with two wayward dogs – Rump and Moose – and a hundred cane toads who only seem to come out when I head to the shower shed.
Their outback lifestyle grows on you.
It’s unbelievably hot at this time of year, and dusty. You just need to look past that to see the sultry sunsets over neighbouring mango farms. And to feel a sense of freedom on owning a selection of bush where you can make your own rules and live your own life. It’s all very addctive.
So too are the driving lessons that Big Squid is enjoying in Dan’s bush buggy.
For Missy Squid it’s a chance to channel her inner cowgirl through riding lesson’s with Emily’s friend Candice.
Territorian hospitality doesn’t stop here. Before the end of our stay we’re eating sautéed croc, sinking back XXXX beers, lounging over the fronts of utes and talking Top End fishing and availing ourselves of washing machines, tool boxes and personalised first aid assistance.
The Squids take up residence on Emily and Dan’s couch and work their way through an impressive DVD collection – including Crocodile Dundee.
Getting wet in Darwin
For a city that doesn’t have many natural croc-free or jellyfish free swimming spots, there’s ample spaces to get wet!
We set out to plunge into a few of them – the Dept of Sport and Rec’s Palmerston Water Park providing great bribery incentives for the squids after a hot Distance Education day.
It’s got a 100 metre six-lane racer water slide, and interactive splash pads to squeal in. Woo Hoo – how bloody lucky are these local kids to have a FREE water park on their doorstep. Mind you, I don’t envy them the deadly water critters if they didn’t have this
Berry Springs Nature Park is a popular outer Darwin swimming hole. Plenty of shade, BBQ’s, idyllic swimming spots and French backpackers on the choof!
We quite like the spot, though there’s a constant eye out for crocs with the odd one getting caught in here and the Springs being shut down by park staff. No crocs in sight today, nevertheless I let my cousin, a Territory local of 5 years swim further out then me.
She looks much tastier!
Check back in later, I’m way out yonder and there’s not enough juice to upload photos! Or pop over to our Instagram page and see what we’re up to.