This is a photo essay of my 9 day trip to Australia's Northern Territories. The trip hosted by Tourism NT (Australia) is a prize for winning the Best Food Blog at the annual Singapore Blog Awards 2013 organised by Singapore Press Holdings.
As a foodie blogger, I was not only looking out for things that make me drool but also things to feast my eyes and that provide food for thought.
Here are some of my photos and musings about the very enjoyable and eye opening trip.
At the tropical "Top End" of Australia, there are many billabongs which are large fish filled ponds where many birds, animals, insects and reptiles congregate. The birds come to eat the insects and fish, the animals eat the birds, and the Kings of the Billabong are here to eat the everybody :p Got to watch out for crocodiles. When we were there, the headline news was a young man taken by crocodiles when he went for a night swim in croc infested waters.
The sunrise cruise at Yellow Water which is a large billabong was a surreal experience. The billabong was as still as water in a glass bowl. The atmosphere was so serene, people around automatically spoke in hush whispers as though afraid to wake up the animals or maybe the spirits (?).
A saltwater crocodile coming up for lunch at the "Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise" on the Adelaide River. The crocs are wild and the boats dangle pieces of meat to encourage random crocs to jump for their food.
This is no trained reptile or circus stunt - jumping is a natural behaviour of crocodiles as they leap to reach unsuspecting birds and mammals perched on branches above the water.
One of the best dining experiences in Australia is none other than the BYO DIY or bring-your-own do-it-yourself Aussie barbie.
These are termites you'll welcome around the house. The termites that built this giant nest known as a Cathedral Termite Mound at Litchfield National Park eat only dead leaves that have fallen to the ground. Don't you like them? :)
A female Golden Orb spider (the size of a man's palm) at the waterfalls at Litchfield National Park waiting for her lunch to self deliver. The bite of the Golden Orb spider is venomous - fortunately, though painful it is not lethal to humans.
Icy thirst quenchers at Alice Springs Airport smack in the centre of the vast Australian continent. From Alice Springs, we take a short hop of a flight to Uluru, a huge natural rock known as the Red Centre.
I saw this huge red rock over twenty years ago from 30,000 feet up in the air, on the way between Sydney and Singapore. Never would I expect to ever touch this red beauty by way of blogging about the hawker food of Johor :)
Picnickers waiting for sunset at Uluru with wine, champagne and sandwich in hand. I really like the way people here respect nature. There were about a couple of hundred picnickers but when they left, there were only footprints to show that they were here before. It's as if, no human had ever been here for the entire millennium.
We learnt dot painting from this Aboriginal artist. Got an idea to redo my blog and Facebook page covers in dot painting style :)
The lady completed this beautiful painting on the spot while we were there at Maruka Arts Dot Painting Workshop.
We went to the Sounds of Silence dinner in style - sailing pass Uluru on "ships of the sea". You've heard that New Zealand has more sheep than people. Did you know that Northern Territories has more camels than people? You see when the early explorers came to Australia, they brought along camels to take them across the vast Australian outback. When the explorers returned home, they left the camels behind and the animals flourished.
The fascinating rock paintings at Kakadu National Park show scenes of everyday life of Australia's aboriginal people.
Food features prominently in aboriginal rock paintings. Barramundi fish are plentiful and popular with aboriginal peoples. In Singapore and Malaysia, this is known as Sea Bass. I love wild Sea Bass which are caught at the mangroves around Johor and can be found in Johor seafood restaurants. Wild Sea Bass can be as large as 5 kilos in weight.
This rock painting showing an aboriginal hunter spearing a kangaroo.
Today, a spritely aboriginal elder deftly throws a wooden spear at a dummy rabbit or kangaroo at a demonstration at the Sails in the Dessert Hotel, a delightful Five Star oasis in the dessert near Uluru.
Waiting for sunset at Stokes Hill Wharf in Darwin. I have not seen such breathtaking supermarine sea and blue skies for a long, long time. It can get a little hot, hence the Chinese style folding paper fans in the foreground.
Acknowledgement: My trip to Darwin was graciously supported by Northern Territories Tourism Australia and Singapore Press Holdings.
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