After leaving Mataranka I boosted it to Darwin to catch up with my old mate Steph, her lovely husband Steve and their amazing daughter Layla. I arrived and it was like no time had passed whatsoever. Its been seven years since I’d caught up with Steph in person, so we had a lot to talk about. Within a few minutes I had vowed to never let as much time pass again between visits. When I walked inside they had a note to get Steve’s skin checked on the wall, he had a doctors appointment booked for the following day. I was so stoked. As much as I want to raise a ton of money for the Melanoma Institute Australia through these male stripping gigs on this tour, its also just as imperative to get the message out there of how important it is to get your skin checked regularly. I was so happy to see the message really starting to work.
The next day Steve took me out on the hovercraft in Shoal Bay. It was a wicked experience. We went looking for some live bait to go Barramundi fishing. We had a few attempts that didn’t find us what we wanted so we carried on looking. We had ventured pretty far out into the bay at low tide. Up here there are 8m tides, and when the tide is low, it is a massive open space of mud flats. When the tide comes in, it comes in fast so you really don’t want to get stuck out there. There is the possibility of crocs as well, however the chances of getting in trouble are very slim, and I was with someone who grew up in these parts. I hadn’t been in a situation like this before so you could imagine I was looking over my shoulder ever few seconds. What happened next? Our hovercraft broke down. No matter how much Steve tried to jimmy the engine, she wasn’t going to start. I actually found it quite fun. We knew we had a boat on the way to come get us but they had to wait for the tide to start coming in in order to retrieve us. We flung the lines out to see if we could catch anything. There were nibbles but unfortunately no Barra for dinner. The tide started to come in thick and fast. It was amazing to see. I had always wondered what it would be like to try and outrun a tide, having heard stories from my father over the years of how dangerous they can be. We eventually were hauled back by a passing fisherman. We didn’t have far to go to get to mangroves that would keep us safe, but a dingy came to the rescue instead. When I hopped in the hovercraft a big fish jumped next to me and I nearly shit my pants. We got home, jumped in the pool and had some great dinner watching the honey badger on the bachelor. Absolutely amazing day.
Today - booked in to go for a swim with some crocodiles. Not kidding. Croc Cove in Darwin has the facilities for you to swim with the crocs inside an enclosed clear cage. We had the honours of having a double date with William & Kate - the royal croc couple. Short of being eaten by a croc, I doubt you could get up any more close and personal. They even went as far as to feed the crocs within millimetres of your head, obviously safe behind an extremely thick clear barrier, however still an incredible thrilling experience.
From here we hit the road out to Kakadu. where we would camp for the night in Jabiru. We checked out some Aboriginal rock art at Ubirr, said g’day to a few more crocs at Cahill’s Crossing (although we stayed clear of the rivers edge) and then treated ourselves to a bistro meal at the famous Croc Pub in town.
The next day we explored some more Aboriginal rock art at Nourlangie, and after a bumpy 40km drive out on a ‘2 Wheel Drive Track,’ we arrived at our final destination of the evening; Gunlom - home of the gorgeous Gunlom Falls. We parked up, slapped on some sunscreen and wasted no time in getting up to the falls. We didn’t think there would be much water to see as the time in the season wasn’t on our side, however we were quite surprised to see ample water up there, enough to go for a decent swim. We found numerous spots to chill out in in the water, and decided pretty quickly that this would be a perfect spot to end a great day watching the sun go down. As the sun was going down some mates of Matt yelled out and so we had some extra camping buddies for the evening. Small world. Over the fire the topic of my tour came up and I think we managed to get a couple of the blokes to go in for their skin check. We spoke about the importance and relevance of skin checks and melanoma cancer in Australia today - I hope Brychen & Josh go in for their check soon. The idea of my tour entertained them, and even sprung an idea to do a gig for the ladies in Daylesford when I eventually hit Victoria. Lets make this happen!
We said goodbye in the morning and hit the road to Mataranka, where I caught up with the locals, having only been gone for a week or so. There’s no real question about what beer you drink up here, Great Northern all the way. Next on our to do list was Litchfield National Park where we managed to see Florence Falls and Buley’s Rock Hole; both incredible swimming spots and not far from the main road. Again we were surprised to see the waterfalls still flowing with ample water given the time of year. The water was clear, refreshing and teeming with fish.
So back in Darwin now where the next part of the tour continues. I will be staying in Darwin for the next few nights in case any gigs pop up to help generate some more fundraising for MIA. Next destination on the list is Kununurra, from which I will be driving down Australia’s West Coast. My next gigging destination will be Perth - so ladies, if you know anyone who is planning or hosting a hens party in Perth over the next few weeks, please let them know about this tour.