Northern Territory: Darwin

(30/7/2018 – 4/8/2018)

Darwin is a wonderful tropical city with a friendly laid back lifestyle.   It has a beautiful harbour that is bigger than Sydney’s.    I loved Darwin, the weather is perfect to holiday in Winter – dry, hot and sunny!!!  There is alot to see and do so another place we could have spent more time.

We enjoyed 5 nights in Darwin staying at Robbie Robbins Reserve ($35.00 per night P&W).   Great open grassed reserve, lots of room for kids to run around and ride bikes.  It was about 15 minutes drive to Darwin city.

There is alot of WWII history here as the city was bombed by Japanese in February 1942.   Nearly 10,000 allied troops moved to the area to defend the coastline during WWII.   To this day, the Bombing of Darwin remains the largest ever single attack mounted on Australia by a foreign power.     Darwin was also devastated by Cyclone Tracy on Christmas Eve, 1974.   Virtually evacuated for some time, Darwin had to be rebuilt from scratch.

We visited the Darwin Aviation Museum.    What a fascinating morning here.    The Defence of Darwin Experience tells the story of the bombing of Darwin by the Japanese on 19 February 1942 in WWII.    Darwin was bombed more than Pearl Harbour.   There were more aircraft used and more tonnage of bombs dropped.  I reckon alot of Aussies wouldn’t have known that!   The museum displays Darwin’s aviation history with many exhibits that include a B52 Bomber, a B25 Mitchell bomber, a Spitfire replica, a Sabre jet and other aircraft.

One day we went to  the NT Museum and Art Gallery.    Another great afternoon spent learning more about Darwin and the NT.   There were many well presented and interesting exhibits.  The Cyclone Tracy exhibit was very moving, particularly experiencing the noise of the cyclone in a darkened room, (would have been so frightening to those that were there at the time). 

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‘Sweetheart’

Sweetheart, a large male Saltwater (Estuarine) Crocodile, is a legendary part of recent Northern Territory history.   In the 1970s, Sweetheart gained notoriety for attacking dinghies at a popular Darwin fishing spot.     Early in 1979, the pattern of attacks changed and became more frequent.      Safety concerns were raised and the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory decided to capture Sweetheart and relocate him to a local crocodile farm.    On the 19th of July 1979, Sweetheart was caught in a trap and anaesthetised, but in the attempt to haul him ashore, he became entangled with a sunken log and drowned.    The odd nickname, Sweetheart, is actually derived from the waterway that Sweetheart inhabited.     He was the dominant male crocodile in Sweets Lookout billabong.

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There was also a kids art/science room too which Mitch enjoyed.

On Thursday we left the car with a mechanic for a service and we took the bus into the city.     We had a walk around town and then went to the Darwin Wave Lagoon.    We had a great day here!!!    The artificial waves can be up to 1.7 m high and come in a variety of styles every 20 minutes with a 10 minute break in between signalled by a siren.   Entry was $7.00 each for us and $5.00 for Mitch.

 

We were also lucky enough to be in Darwin for the 2018 Exercise Pitch Black.   Pitch Black is the RAAF’s largest and most important international air defence exercise and was conducted from the RAAF bases in Darwin and Tindal (near Katherine).    There were 15 countries participating and hosting up to 2500 personnel with over 100 aircraft from around the globe.   Mitch absolutely loved watching the fighter jets flying over every day – they were very noisy!!!!

After picking the car up from the mechanic, we drove to Mindil Beach for the very popular Sunset Markets!!!    These markets were fantastic with food, art and craft stalls along with live entertainment.   We also caught up with Matt and Ally again so we organised to meet them in Kakadu.    That night Australian and International aircraft performed numerous stunts and flypasts.     The beach was packed with thousands of people watching.    It was just awesome!!  Loved it!!!

On Friday evening we did a 3 hour Buffet Dinner Sunset Cruise around the harbour which was lovely.

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“Spirit of Darwin” Cruise

On Saturday the RAAF Base had an Open Day which was fantastic.  It was a free family event with food stalls, rides, numerous planes were open so you can have a walk through and see inside, plenty of aircraft personnel were around to chat to about their jobs and the planes they fly.  Army personnel were also there along with other interactive exhibits and activities.

 

After spending a great morning here, we then drove back to the caravan, packed up and left for Kakadu National Park (travelling along the Arnhem Highway).

 

(30/7/2018 – 4/8/2018)

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