Kyra and Eli come today so we went to pick up the rental car and baby seat. We decided not to reduce the $3000 excess and take our chances. The car was in the middle of the back row of cars so the lady said she'd get it out for us. She did, by backing straight into the side of a 4wd being backed out by another employee. We said we'd have another car since that one was not dented and broken so she came back with the keys for a 2 door - not with a baby seat thanks so she gave us free upgrade which she smashed into a parked car as she delivered it to us! We took it with practically the whole car shaded in in the pre hire damage report.
We picked up a tired but excited Kyra and a sleepy and wary Eli from the airport and drove them back to the cabin for a sleep, but not until after Eli opened his belated birthday present.
Day one and the first order of business after getting out of the caravan park was to head back to our camper to pick up the oven for Pizza Night! Turns out the car still has an issue and Glen and Sandy had it jacked up and failed to back off the binding brake. We phoned Mark the mechanic who sent us to a local mechanic to do it and he'd pick up the tab. Julie limped the Fun Truck about 10km to Humpty Doo (yes, it's a real place - look it up). Much to Glen's relief (that he isn't totally useless) the mechanic couldn't back off the brake either so we went for a bit of lunch while he waited for it to cool to have another go.
Finally we were underway again but had lost a few hours so after checking into the cabin at Batchelor (also a real place, near Rum Jungle and no, we aren't making them up) we dashed into Litchfield National Park and Buleys Rockholes for a quick swim. Before long Eli was happily playing in the water. Kyra got an early night but the wind had changed direction and fire was getting out of control. They burn off all winter here. The back burn was started metres from the back fence of the caravan park. That night there were fire trucks and police sweeping the fire line and it was all kept under control.
Day two and we started to wonder how we survived without Kyra knowing where things were and even why Glen had a day off work in December! It had again dawned hot and we drove to the far end of the park to see Wangi Falls. Eli got a toy crocodile and Julie were teaching him to make snap snap actions with his hands. After a swim in Wangi we decided to have look at Walker Creek and ended up having lunch and a swim at campsite 1. On the way back to the cabin we stopped at Table Top Swamp and discovered that the water level is higher than where it was last year.
Day three with Kyra and Eli and we once again visited Litchfield National Park and took the obligatory photo with the sign. The information boards at the magnetic termite mounds raised more questions than they answered for Kyra and as expected did not pique the interest of a one year old but the ride in the stroller was nice.
At Florence Falls Eli was not as happy as he had been in the water on previous days but it seems he likes the up-close and personal side of a waterfall. If he has the wind from the falls and the spray in his face he is smiling. When we got out of the water an older man had a fall among the rocks and Glen was again glad we are doing (some) of this now as his younger wife was in swimming and that was beyond him. We are glad we can do most things. We did the stairs down and the creek walk up but Eli hardly saw any of the creek walk as he was fast asleep. :) We had lunch at the top in the shade as it was quite warm but it wasn't until we were back in the car that Eli woke to eat his peanut butter sandwich. A short drive took us to Buleys Rockholes where we visited the lower pools and spent quite some time in the water. Again Eli wasn't all that keen but sat in his swim ring and had lots of photos taken.
On the drive back Eli chatted happily in the back. At the cabin we sat on the grass in the shade and Eli amused himself and us playing with some pegs. Then we pegged them on him and he took them off and put them in a container. There was a peg on his shoulder, just out of reach, and he had us in stitches as he chased it round like a puppy chasing it's tail, spinning on his bottom as he tried to catch it.
Pizza for dinner and Eli helped Grandad cook some bacon and burn some chorizo and he was starting to trust us when Grandad gave him too hot pizza not once but twice!
After dinner we played UNO and had a few laughs, mostly at Julie's expense as she lost (112pts) to Kyra (104pts) and Glen (36pts). We were pleased to have been able to settle Eli without Kyra so we are hoping we may be able to give her a bit of a break for a few days
Day four with Kyra and Eli and we had bacon and eggs (Eli wasn't keen on the egg and Kyra didn't give him any bacon - being Luke's son we know he'd have devoured bacon) before leaving for Berry Springs. As usual this place didn't disappoint even though it was a bit cooler at only 27 degrees when we got there as the water is from deep below the ground and is warm and slightly blue-green but beautiful to drink. We all went in below the top pool and after a while Julie carried the towels etc to the middle pool while Glen and Kyra, with noodles and goggles to check out the fish and avoid the rocks, swam with Eli in his swim ring down the creek to meet Julie. After a little while we got out and cooked sausage sangas for lunch before getting back in and going above the waterfall to the top pool. Glen had a little scrape with a plant and ended up with more little spikes embedded in his arm and the side of his foot but everyone else made it safely. Eli wasn't too happy being in the water today.
We drove back towards Darwin and checked back in to the Hidden Valley CVP before setting out for the Mindil Beach Markets. We spent a little while wandering round and tested some blue cypress oil on the aches and pains. Glen put some on his wrist to smell it and late that night the scratches he got from the plant earlier in the day that he had totally forgotten about were now raised red lumps. Steer clear of the cypress oil! (post script: it's not the cypress oil as the spines on his foot had also left raised red marks) We then got something to eat and sat on the beach to watch the sunset. Julie and Glen had a crocodile spring roll but Kyra didn't like the taste of the crocodile meat and went for the barra and chips with Eli. After tea what would a one year old want to do more than sit and watch the sunset? Play in the sand of course and Eli loved it! Back at the markets Glen found that there is a national census next week and Kyra told us there is also a local election soon. Both difficult to do while we are on the road. We are enjoying our own little world without knowing anything that is going on in the outside world though. After pausing to watch some street theatre on the way to the car poor Eli woke up vomiting. We haven't worked out why but it meant a bath in the laundry tub for the sleepy Eli when we got back to the cabin.
On their final day we had to put the car in so we spent a while in the city and waterfront before going to Crocodylis Park to see the crocs and other animals like lions and monkeys and cassowaries before picking up the Fun Truck. A bent piece on the brake shoe seems to have been causing us trouble, the mechanic had no idea how it happened and had never seen it before. Mark and Jill from Phil Kerr were wonderful and we'd recommend if you need a mechanic in Darwin that you go there. Vegemite sandwiches for lunch as we drove out to the Adelaide River Jumping Crocs which was very impressive. Eli only got scared the first time the really big croc jumped and then was fine after that.
Eli is now settling for us if Kyra walks away. A relief as he gets so heartbroken whenever she moves away, sometimes even if she is still in the same room. Barby for dinner then we watched the Geelong Western Bulldogs game as Eli slept… Actually he watched a bit of the game from bed so even at one he's a fan of the Sherrin. Soon we have to take Kyra and Eli to the airport and we both are very sad to see them go.