The Northern Territory and the end of my summer in Australia

307477_4312268419463_368220249_nOur destination was Agnes Waters, little surfers town with a really nice vibe. The Byron Bay of Queensland. As soon as we hit Rockhampton the news were not the ones we would have expected: fly out today, or you’ll be stuck here for a week. Apparently, the water that covered the mainland after the cyclone was rushing to the coast, which would have been flooded in the following few days. The river in Rockhampton was already several metres higher than normal (of the bus stops next to the banks you could only see the roofs), and it was going to soon overflow the city. So, after a night camping by the coast in Yeppoon, we caught the next Virgin flight to Brisbane. Seeing all the land flooded was very, very impressive. Arrived in Brisbane I started texting my mum, as accommodation in the Queensland capital was not only extremely expensive but also hard to find due to the situation, as everybody had been rushed there in the days following the cyclone. She remembered that one of her patients was born in Australia, and *lucky us!* her mum was still living in the city. Nonna Dina hosted us for almost a week, and she was the loveliest Italian granny you’d meet. She was feeding us, driving us around, taking us to the casino with her friends (and thanks to her VIP card we could eat and drink for free there too!). Best-deal-ever.

After a few days of being stuck in Brissie, Margherita flew back to Sydney to flat hunt for both of us, whereas I flew to Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory, to enjoy the last bit of my summer adventures. Margherita was really lucky to find a place straight away, brilliant timing.

As soon as I landed in Darwin I got knocked down by the incredible heat. As soon as I landed I checked in the Youth Shack, a hostel in Mitchell St – one of the only two ‘big roads’ in Darwin. On the second day of my stay I went on a two day trip to Kakadu national park: incredible. So vast and much greener than I thought it would have been, the wet season made it so alive. Once back in Darwin I chilled with the guys of the hostel: the best short-term family I have ever had. Great people, party animals who for different reasons stranded in Darwin and are on their way to somewhere else. Great fun, I miss them all and the laughter that we had together in the little time I spent there. I really miss the vibe. Good luck guys, with everything you’re up to now, and thanks for making Darwin such a fantastic memory!

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After some days my Tropical Wildlife course started. The University staff came and picked other students and me up and drove us to Mary River Park. A week of collecting, IDing and studying the ecology of tropical snakes, frogs, skinks, dragons, crocodiles (we didn’t collect these guys though), gekos and mammals living in that area of the Northern Territory. The course was so much fun, we got to play with the animals a lot and capture especially heaps of cane toads – the Pest of Australia. These toads are huge and poisonous, and since they are not natives many local species feed on them and die because not adapted to tolerate their venom. Much research is being carried out to understand more deeply their impact on Australian biodiversity.  A funny fact about them: they always look very pissed of. Easy species to recognise. On the last day we travelled up to Lichtfield National Park, and after a day spent again submerged by nature, a last night spent at the airport concluded my Australian travelling summer.

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Once back home I moved straight into my new house, in Glebe. Glebe is a very nice suburb near Blackwattle bay and about half an hour walk away from Sydney CBD. It is very artsy, hipsterish and cool, with many cafes, pubs and parks, and the live music from the market has been waking me up every Saturday morning ever since I moved here. It is a lovely suburb to live in, and the house has a perfect location, as it takes 10 minutes to walk to Uni.

After an intense week of classes 9 to 5 and an exam at the end of it, my Tropical Wildlife course came to an end. Which was beautiful, since because of this I only had to take 2 more courses throughout this second semester at Sydney Uni. Job hunting started, classes began and the ‘normal every day life’ kicked in with lots of energy.

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About Claudia Santori

https://claudiagiuliasantori.wordpress.com/

Posted on April 13, 2013, in Australia and New Zealand. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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