Herping the Northern Territory

The Overview

The MPR 2019 Australia trip was a huge success.
What can I say? First and foremost, I have to give Rob Stone a huge thanks for his behind the scenes work to put us in the spots to have success. It comes down to luck with a lot of this, but he puts in the work to give us the best chances for finding what we hoped we would. We have been talking and discussing this trip since we were on the airplane coming home from Cairns in 2018.
This is the second trip for Rob and me, and let’s say we share the same love and respect for Australia. We have talked about it for so long that I’m glad that we made it happen.... again. For me, this place is a spiritual place. It has a soul like no other place in the world.
As hard as we pushed for 12 + hours a day, I still feel a sense of calm being there. It’s a magical place where the animals we all love can be found in the wild doing what they do and not just in deli cups. To understand what they go they daily so that they can survive and thrive, well, let’s say that you learn things that you could ever get from a book or a podcast. I try to push this on the podcast as best I can to the point where sometimes I think I talk about it too much, but if you’ve been there, you get it. It is hard to describe, but when you look at paintings on the wall that are 10,000 years old. I can’t help but try to wrap my head around what that even means. Forty-five years seems like a long time to me, but 10,000......it’s just insane. So many questions and thoughts go through your head as you look at the beautiful landscape.
We also had Keith McPeek join us, and what can I say. He has a level of passion for not only reptiles but all wildlife. The funny thing is that he has been posting about us asking him to come, but truth be told; it was an honor to herp with someone with such a level of passion and dedication to animals. He truly is a legend in this hobby and someone I will forever look up too, and the fact that he doesn’t seem to know it makes him even better!
And then there is my partner in crime. My MPR brother, Owen McIntyre. We’ve been friends for the past eight years and have had tons of adventures and crazy stories, but this is the one that will be hard to top! You guys will hear all about it in the next episode. I was glad he came this time so that he won’t have to listen to me go on and on about how great Australia really is. Lol. He now knows what I’m talking about. Especially this trip!! He would have regretted this one big time. We found 5 of the 6 species of Pythons from the NT
We missed the one that starts with an O.
We also did the Cage of Death together. When we peeked through the slit in the acrylic tube as we floated in the water with the biggest croc at Crocasaus cove and your close enough that you can see his pupil dilating as he looks at you and almost seems like he’s thinking how does he get what’s inside.............well that’s not a view that most people get to see and if it were any other way you wouldn’t survive to talk about it.
Even though I considered these guys' family before we left, this trip made my admiration and respect go up 1000% more then any of them could ever know. We now have a bond that not many people will be lucky enough to ever have.
We spent the past week having what I will say is the highlight of my herping life. We laughed, discussed, debated, pushed our bodies probably harder than we ever have before. We stayed up late, got a few hours of sleep, had an Ice break coffee, or a flat white and off to do it again. Missing meals or eating things that you would never eat back home, it all seems crazy until you find that reptile you’ve been searching for......you see it and you think “is that a .......” and There it is in all its glory. No tub or cage. It’s right there! Well, let’s just say it makes it all worth it!
When we climbed to the top of some of the places like Norelangi, and we stood there in silence as we gazed out upon the horizon of Australia in awe! I can’t even begin to explain it, but these guys get it.
I have to also send a big thanks to Keith’s wife, Theresa. Not only did she let us borrow Keith for the week( I told you we would bring him back in one piece), but she kept my wife in the know when I had no phone. That meant the world to me, and I am genuinely thankful that you kept her up to date that I was ok.
And of course, there is my wife, my best friend, my soul mate, Dori. She lets me make these trips because she says she knows how important they are to me.
I’m not sure she truly understands how much it means to me and how lucky I am to have a wife that lets me travel around the world and support me with these adventures, but I will forever be in debt to her for it.
And then there is our good friend, Scott Eipper. What can I say mate.... we have some pics for you to help us identify some things. You know just to make sure that it happened. Lol.
You’ve been a massive support to us, and we are all happy to call you a friend. I could listen to you talk about reptiles for hours and hours! A True legend.
And as if the trip couldn’t get any better, Gavin Bedford joined us for dinner on the last night. What a guy. Heaps of knowledge and about all things reptiles and of course, his work with Oenpellis. Hearing the story and the struggles of that project over dinner was a highlight for me. .........., well let’s say that I thought I couldn’t have asked for a better close to the week, but then he took us to Botanical Gardens and found us a darwin carpet python. There she was perched up on some branches high up in the canopy. He talked about them and shared some stories with us. Having read his thesis when I first started learning about carpet, I learned a lot but to speak and walk with Gavin through the Gardens......well, I could have never imagined in my wildest dream that this would be a reality. This was just the epic end to an epic trip. What an awesome guy! Thanks, Gavin. That leaves me with only diamonds, bredli, inlands, and of course, Imbricata to see in the wild.
The older I get, the more I reflect on my life, and the more I want to have adventures like the one we had in the Northern Territory. I went to school on this trip and learned a ton. I hope it makes me a better keeper and a better stuart for the hobby that we all love and will ultimately lead me to take even better care of the animals that I love in our homes and the wild. We are on this rock for a brief time whenever you have the opportunity to make a trip and see it like this, jump on it. I promise you won’t regret it.
Until next time, Australia. I will count the days until we meet again.
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