W-w-wicked! Backpacking Aussie Style
As alluded to last week, Bridget, Lyn and I spent five days camper-vanning around the top end of this grand country of ours. We set up in friend’s driveways in Darwin, drank gas cooker coffee within spitting distance of Florence Falls and were eaten alive by mozzies in Kakadu National Park. We swam in waterholes, picked up a foot infection from said waterholes (me - of course. A popped blister went septic pretty fast in the tropics! Nothing a round of anti-biotics couldn’t fix though). We saw rock art that looked just like a kangaroo tea towel and Bridget dropped a doughie on a real kangaroo’s head one early morning drive. We saw a little of Litchfield, a little of Kakadu and have a lot of motivation to come back and do it all again some day! To say that hiring a obnoxiously painted van was simply a fine experience of backpacking Australia is not enthusiastic enough.
After Cheap Az Travel quoted us $700 p/p to “do” the northern Northern Territory as part of an organised tour and we bawlked, they then suggested hiring a Wicked Camper. I always thought hiring a vehicle would be way out of my budget, but I guess that’s why Wicked are so popular with the cool kids - they do it stingy style.
Before we picked our van up, Bridget was afraid of what would be written on the back of ours - Wicked are infamous for the dirty sayings graffittied on their van’s rear ends. I laughed when we first walked around the back of ours. A match made in heaven?
We got our a/c van (a wise, wise decision) for a bit over $50 a day. Chuck in a couple of tanks of petrol, some food and a slab of beer - that’s pretty cheap! Especially when you consider we would have been paying $30 a night to stay in a dorm in Darwin anyway. There was enough seating in the van for three people, mattresses and camp chairs for all of us, an esky, a kitted-out kitchen complete with gas stove. A quick stop at the Oppie for pillows and cases and we were set!
I wish dearly I had have bunged in a blanket at that point - the first couple of nights were a bit colder than expected. The NT News certainly agreed - Friday’s headline read, “We Told You It Was Bloody Cold: DARWIN WOMAN GETS HYPOTHERMIA”. Well, it did get down to the shocking temperature of 16 degrees! Bridget must have been terrified to wake up on the first night to find me in a foam sandwich - I had pulled the spare mattress over me in bid to keep the chill off.
We were pretty impressed with ourselves for not over catering - a first in camping history, I’m sure! Our new favourite car-camping has to be a bag of stir-fry veggies, cous cous and a dollop of pesto. Yummo! Those Robert Timms coffee bags are also a lifesaver. Instant, but not in a butcher’s International Roast kind of way. Sitting around the gas cooker, next to the water in the pink light lovliness of a Northern Territory evening - pure bliss.