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TRAVEL GUIDE TO NORTHERN TERRITORY, AUSTRALIA
Ayers Rock, Northern Territory, Australia
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Camel Riding on the Sandy Bed of Todd River at Heavitree Gap,South of Alice Springs, Australia
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Amazing Alice
The West Macdonnell Ranges

8 Ways Not to Get Eaten by a Crocodile in the Northern Territory

Want to see crocodiles in their natural habitat, but do not want to get eaten? Saltwater crocodiles are the world's largest reptile. An average length and weight of the males is five metres(15 feet)and 450 kilos. Females are smaller, about three metres in length and weigh up to 150 kilos. For tips on staying safe from crocodiles, read further.

1.   KEEP OUT OF THE WATER.

Staying away from the waterways, lagoons, billabongs and creeks is the best way to ensure that you will never get eaten by a saltwater crocodile.  However, this is not really the answer that people want to hear. But if you are in crocodile country stay at least five metres away from the water. Although on land they can produce a sudden burst of speed to catch unwary prey. You will not get away.

2.   TAKE HEED OF THE 'BEWARE OF CROCODILE' SIGNS

The National Park Rangers have placed these signs up where there are known crocodile sightings.   If there is no sign at a waterhole, it does not mean that there will not be a crocodile. The saltwater crocodile can walk and swim long distances overland and along waterways, mainly through the wet season. Crocodiles can and do spend most of their lives in fresh water after swimming hundreds of kilometres inland.

3.   TALK TO THE LOCALS

The locals have insight and knowledge of the crocodile habits in the areas. These people are the ones who have seen crocodiles in their local area and have a good idea of their sizes. Unfortunately, some of the locals have become blasé about the 'safe' swimming holes, and a few have come to grief.

Since 1971, there has been no culling of crocodiles in the Northern Territory, and in the last 40 years, saltwater crocodiles have increased from 5,000 to 75,000 in numbers. Saltwater crocodiles are coming into fresh waterways in the wet seasons, often travelling long distances overland, where they have never been before when these adults were children.

4.   FISH IN A BIGGER BOAT

Go out fishing in a boat bigger than any known large sized crocodile in the area. Crocodiles have attacked small fishing  boats and can easily overturn them, with the fisherman in it.

5.   FISH WITH AN EXPERIENCED TOUR OPERATOR

Preferably go out fishing with an experienced fishing charter captain. There are always fishing charters available and these boats are large and safe.

6.   NEVER TORMENT OR TEASE A CROCODILE

It is extremely dangerous to throw sticks or stones at a crocodile. This will make them angry enough to come after you. The crocodile may look like it is sunning itself quietly on the riverbank, and to be asleep.  However, when it moves, it will be surprisingly fast. Keep well away from it.

7.  NEVER KEEP VISITING THE SAME SPOT

Crocodiles are a creature of habit and will watch to see if you are, too. They will watch you for a few days or more, biding their time to attack. If you camp by the waterside, do so at your own peril. They have been known to drag a man out of a tent during the night.

8.   NEVER LET YOUR DOG SWIM IN THE WATER

Always keep your dog out of the water as crocodiles are quick to move in for the kill. The dog's barking on the riverbank will attract crocodiles very fast. Dogs have as little chance of escape as people do against a hungry or territorial crocodile.

If you abide by these suggestions, and always use commonsense, your holiday visit to Darwin or any other coastal parts of the Northern Territory in Australia will be quite safe and very enjoyable. There are several really good water leisure centres for safe swimming and excellent crocodile farms and parks to view crocodiles.

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Patricia Lilly holds a Diploma of Hospitality and has experience in tourism. Online Accommodation and Tours-Australia is the business she has developed using her extensive experience and knowledge. Patricia ensures safe and secure accommodation bookings for your next holiday.


The West Macdonnell Ranges  by Gavin Wyatt

For most people mention of Alice Springs stirs up images of expansive and dusty red space, stark desert landscapes that are harshly beautiful, simmering under the hot sun that beats down onto the centre of Australia. Ayers Rock is probably the most popular option for campervan tourists coming to this region, but an alternative that is closer to Alice and every bit as rewarding for a self drive excursion is the West Macdonnell National Park. A round trip that takes in all the main attractions here is about 300 kilometres in length, and will take you through semi-desert country that is home to impressive gorges, rugged mountains and peaceful natural swimming holes. So for the ultimate experience of the 'red centre' of Australia pick up your camper in Alice and strike out west to experience the West Macdonnell Ranges.
 
For an educational insight into the flora, fauna and natural features of the area stop in at the Alice Springs Desert Park, which is just outside of the city. Perfect for kids, and just as interesting for adults, expect to leave here armed with some knowledge about the amazing landscape you are about to drive through. Not far from here you reach the first selling point of the Ranges, Simpsons Gap, which is a natural waterhole lined with ghost gums and surrounded by high cliffs. 

Swimming is not permitted here, but you can lounge on the banks and enjoy watching the black footed rock wallabies bound amongst the rocks. There are a couple of designated walking trails here, and you can make use of the free barbeque sites as well.

Camel Riding on the Sandy Bed of Todd River at Heavitree Gap,South of Alice Springs, Australia
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Continuing along Larapinta Drive for about twenty two kilometres brings you to the turn off to Standley Chasm, which is a further nine kilometres in from that point. this rock cleft is just a few metres wide, but towers to over eighty metres in height. At midday the overhead sun bounces off the walls with a strong orange reflection, so try and time your visit to fit in with this amazing spectacle. There is an entry fee here, and the chasm is open from 8 am to 6 pm. A kiosk operates in these times, offering basic food and drink supplies to visitors.

Just past Standley the road splits into two, and you should branch right onto the Namatjira Drive. Forty two kilometres on from where the road parts and you reach Ellery Creek Big hole, a deep and permanent swimming hole with the reputation of being the coldest pool in the region. The sandy creek here is lined with tall gums, which in turn are towered over by the characteristic red cliffs of the region. The permanence of the waterhole means it is relied upon by plenty of flora and fauna as a source of water, so you are likely to see an array of local animals bounding amongst the rocks and vegetation.

Eleven kilometres further up Namatjira Drive is Serpentine Gorge, which is unique in that there is a large billabong which is only accessible by swimming up the gorge. The area is secluded and there are some stunning walking trails, with one in particular providing a stunning view of the ranges. Drive on from this gorge for twelve kilometres and you'll find the Ochre Pits, which is where the local aboriginal people used to glean their ochre pigments from. Ochre is of significant importance as body paint and in traditional ceremonies, and therefore this area is very culturally significant to the local indigenous population. The pits consist of several layers of multi coloured and multi layered rock, and is worth a visit for its natural beauty and its cultural heritage.

The most inspiring gorge in the Ranges is the Ormiston Gorge and Pound. Over 300 metres deep in some spots, the wide deep pool here rests at the base of tall red cliffs which offer an abundance of viewing points and walking trails. There are official picnic spots and unpowered camping spots, so park your campervan and enjoy the quiet of the gorge at night.

A bit further on is Glen Helen Gorge, which is your penultimate destination and where most people chose to bunk down for a few nights because of the good camping facilities and the motel style accommodation on offer. There is also the chance to go on guided hikes and even helicopter tours of the region. Its the perfect place to base yourself for a few days and explore your surrounds, or you could turn around and start heading back slowly and take in everything you have missed on the way here!

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