The mecca of Australia for UK backpackers and traelers

Seeing as Australia seems to be some kind of Mecca for all UK travellers, I couldn't disappoint and not descend on the largest island in the world. However, to make my experience a little bit different and slightly more ‘Australian' I decided to travel up the west coast first instead of doing the surf trip up the east coast…which I would be saving for later!

I met a really good mate of mine from uni in Perth , the girl she was travelling with who I knew anyway, and her ex-boyfriend from forever ago. Ace. A plan. We planned on going from Perth to Broome in your average rent-a-car and then as her travel mate went off to meet her family who were out on holiday, the remaining three of us hired a four wheel drive (or rather a tank masquerading as a ‘jeep') to drive to Darwin in.

All good so far. We decided to go along the Gibb River Road , a four wheel drive track that goes from Derby to Katherine more or less, an alternative route to the highway. This was by far the best experience of our lives and we had the best laugh in the world.

However, now comes the reason for this anecdote – a warning to all travellers that are very complacent about the animals that wander this beautiful country. We had left the Gibb River Road and were driving through the tropical Lichfield National Park just outside Darwin .

We saw another little four wheel drive track leading to a series of waterfalls so thought that would be an interesting drive seeing as we were getting a bit bored of being back on the bitumen/tarmac road of the highway. We had already looked at the map and saw there were a couple of places to stay near to Wangi Falls (pronounced Won-guy ) and thought that would be lovely and picturesque. How wrong!

We pulled into a campsite that was a mere AU$6 each and it looked nice and cute. We drove round the different bays looking for a free space to set up camp. Now, the first bay we drove into had lots of holes in the soil which freaked out my uni friend as she is terrified of spiders and this looked very like funnel web spiders which are one of if not THE most poisonous spiders in the world. So, needless to say, we left that bay pretty smartish.

Now we went to the second bay and as the lad of our crew started to unload the ‘tank', me and my mate went to the toilet. We again left very quickly as there was the biggest wasps nest we've EVER seen and the wasps here are like giant killer wasps! And then we were attacked my swarming bees! So we left the campsite and drove a little further down the road to a place that looked much nicer and almost family orientated rather than “you're out in the jungle, deal with it!” It was only an extra AU$3 so we decided it was worth it.

Again, our day of interesting Australian wildlife was not over. We set up camp properly and just before bedtime me and my friend again decided we should go to the loo before we went to bed. It was pitch black so the handy magalite was on hand. About halfway there we heard something run behind us so we turned to see a bird that was up to between my knee and hip (I'm a decent 5'10” tall), so a fair size. We both did the whole “awwww isn't it cute, it looks like a baby emu”. Hmmmm well, it opened it's beak and wings and then started running at us!

Me and my mate screamed like two big girls and ran as fast as humanly possible to the toilets and shut the door! We then ran all the way back to the camp. And if that wasn't enough, the next morning whilst I was in the shower a really big spider dropped to my shoulder height and reared up at me when it hit the floor…I can tell you, I've never got dressed so fast in my entire life!

So a warning to the cocky traveller travelling in the outback: there are weird and wonderful creatures out there and they se ek you out!!

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