Tiwi Islands to Darwin

Our final morning on the Tiwi Islands is greeted with strong emotions as we say goodbye to new friends and a landscape that is still largely untouched by mainstream Australians. It is bitter sweet as our adventure that took many months of planing finally comes to an end where its sight and sounds will fade into a clouded memory. The highlights such as the vibrant blue waters, mangroves on the water edges and smiles of the Tiwi people will always remain a part of us. As Bushy said on our last day ‘you are part of me now and part of the Bush family forever’. Equally we will forever be connected in our hearts to these magical islands, Bushy and family, and every other soul that we met in our expedition.

Our departure from Tiwi Islands was via a turbo prop plane which I have to say is never my favorite form of transport, as I have a fear of flying which has never been resolved. Nevertheless this time I felt a sense of peace despite my pending trepidation waiting for the plane. As I sit in the container, our check-in lounge waiting for the plane to land I began to reflect. I know without a doubt that our time on Tiwi Islands has been a privilege, as its not always a destination open to tourist wanting to access the islands without being part of a tour group. I would personally like to thank all the Tiwi Islander community for their heartfelt generosity and particularly our host Bushy, Mark Pollard (Tiwi Islands Regional Council) and the Tiwi Land Council for making a dream possible. We would also like to thank Seaswift and staff for transporting our 4WD and boat (River Spirit) safely to and from Melville Island by barge – a truly unique mode of transport to such a remote area.

Stay tuned for some homeward bound photos and some highlight photos from the Tiwi Islands when we get home and organise all video and photo footage of this remarkable place.


Day 12 & 13 – Darwin and Berry Springs

Relaxing days in Darwin and surrounds. We spend quite a lot of time in Berry Springs (about 50kms from Darwin) just swimming and floating in the pools. The springs are quite special with 3 main pools that are clear and with lots of fish and freshwater turtles. The water is warm with a turquoise colour and relatively safe from crocodiles as they are patrolled twice daily by park rangers and with a crocodile management plan in place.

We also spend a night out watching a movie under the stars in the Deckchair Cinema. A must-do if in Darwin for this unique experience.

This is our last night before we head off to Tiwi Islands tomorrow morning. Our last feed at a restaurant in Cullen Bay as food could be scarce in the next 2 weeks especially with stormy days expected in the next few days; which could hinder gathering and fishing for food.

We are unsure if there will be reception at our campsite but will post as much as possible when at Pirlangimpi.

Day 10 & 11 – Darwin

We farewell our 4WD and River Spirit at Sea Swift’s depot in Darwin; destination Pirlangimpi in Melville Island. There is an unexpected delay in our passenger ferry service and we will only be able to go to Melville Island on Friday. Thank goodness our 4WD and boat will be in the good hands of the Tiwi Islands Regional Council’s depot waiting for us on Friday.

This gives us time to explore Darwin in greater depth. Below are some pictures of our time in Darwin. To get a better perspective and in preparation for croc awareness and safety, we head to a crocodile ‘farm’ to see first-hand what they can look like and what they are capable of. They do look menacing especially the giant ones. We will definitely keep a minimum 5 meters from any water way and watch where we are going as they camouflage very easily into the natural surroundings.

Day 9 – Mataranka to Darwin

There were so many raptors on this journey. Most common is the Black Kite, flying so effortlessly and scooping down on prey. Even the magnificent Wedge-tailed Eagle was seen many times and once Kiam had to brake and toot the car horn to scare it off from the centre of the road (it was eating road kill). They are not as agile and fast as the Black Kite due to their size and its no wonder we saw the remnants of one on the road. Drivers should slow down but the speed limits on the Stuart Hwy are limitless on some stretches and 130km/hr for most of the way; making it difficult and dangerous to swerve or brake suddenly.

We arrived at our final leg on the Explorer’s Way (Stuart Hwy) in Darwin. We took the opportunity to head to the Mindil Beach Sunset Market and watched the sun go down over the horizon.

Tomorrow we say goodbye to our trusty 4WD and our boat as they head off first via a barge to the Tiwi Islands. Our passenger ferry will take us there in the next few days. Our survival on the island starts then. Stay tuned in the next few days.

Tiwi Islands Expedition

Another year and another exciting Kiss Goodbye to MS expedition – Surviving the Tiwi Islands! The challenge of this fundraiser is to live self-sufficiently off the land. In other words hunt and gather most of our food, survive the crocs, Giant Crocodile in NT
snakes, wild boars, jellyfish & every other dangerous Australian animal. This might get interesting though as our only food source so far has been the local supermarket and we don’t seem to be very successful at fishing either. During our Murray River Expedition last year we only managed to catch one fish. The main lesson I hope to come home with though is an appreciation for nature and all she provides for us.

We couldn’t be more grateful to the Tiwi Islands Land Council and community for allowing us to be guests on their land. We have been corresponding with them for the past few months in preparing for our 2016 Kiss Goodbye to MS fundraiser and look forward to bringing all our experiences to our followers once again via the blog. The plan is that an elder will spend time with us the first week in learning how to hunt and gather and thereafter we will attempt to Tiwi artsurvive ourselves with little assistance.

It is expected that mainland Australians will be so inspired by our daily blog and amazing photos taken by my husband Kiam once again that people will feel motivated to make a donation in the hope of one day finding a cure for this insidious disease. But don’t worry if you miss the blogs as at the conclusion of our adventure will be producing a book and short film with proceeds going toward MS research. While I’m sure our blogs will most likely will be comical, reflective and display beautiful scenery I hope to also highlight the many challenges for someone living with MS symptoms as I cope with Island life and the many challenges it will pose such as the humidity and isolation with very little creature comforts. Tiwi Islands wetlandSo stay tuned for the commencement of our journey as we head off on the 27th August with our car & boat on the 3,800kms long road trip up the centre of this great country of ours to Darwin and then across 90kms by barge to the beautiful Tiwi Islands.Arial view of Tiwi Islands