Off I toddled to the visitor center, where all the fantastical adventures could be mine to have – for the right price. After perusing the various brochures on the wall, fiscal frugality emerged dominant, and I selected a four hour foot tour. It was the same price as ten minutes in a helicopter. I get to the counter, pay the fees, and asked where I catch the tour. I figured it can’t be far from my hotel, because, frankly, nothing is far in town from my hotel. The agent said she’d give me directions to where I’d meet them, and that it was only a 30-minute drive.
“Yeah, all tours start from there. It’s not hard to find.”
“I don’t have a car. Is there a bus or anything that goes out there?”
“Not really. There might be a taxi or something that’ll go, but that’ll be more than the tour, and you’ll have to get back as well. Or you can book a hotel room out there for the night.”
She added the last with a hopeful smile. Yeah. no.
Well. That’s something. I figured there was a strong possibility I could find a ride back with someone, but that’s not guaranteed, and I really didn’t want to get stranded out there, where a hotel room, if even available, is about $250/night.
Reluctantly, I said I couldn’t go, and needed a refund. At the POS, the refund went swimmingly. On my Apple Wallet, though, the refund is showing as a second charge. Two conversations with the people at the other end of…somewhere have netted me nothing but assurances that they see it as a credit and not a charge. I’ll probably be revisiting that conversation when all the charges for the month settle out.
And so I am here in a town that rolls up the sidewalks on a Friday night before 9:00 pm, and the two bars I’ve been in (there is a third) are cash-only. I mean this place is really not much more than a fueling opportunity and wide spot along the Stuart Highway where it intersects the Victoria Highway. If you’re driving between Adelaide and Darwin, or, if you’re in the mood, making a turn toward sunset and going to Broome, stopping to get fuel here is a good idea, I suppose. Stopping and staying? Not so much.
On the bright side, I did get a run in (aggroed my hip somehow, though) and flushed out a couple of wallabys, and in my hobbles around town afterward, I did get to knock out another 8 species of birds on my life list. Trying to photograph them is difficult regardless, without a long lens. Now I wish I’d brought my digital along. Also, it’s a challenge to take a decent photo when a dozen flies are crawling in my ears and up my nose. A beekeeper’s bonnet would be swell. And I’ve gotten to rather enjoy AFL. What a wild game.
I hop a bus this evening for Broome; since it doesn’t leave until late and I’m outta my room at 10 am, I’m going to be skipping from AC to AC around town. In situations like this, I’m happy my baggage is (relatively) easy to carry around. Even so, I think my stay here was about one day too long.