We also spent a bit of time in Darwin City itself, apart from quite a few visits to the Wave Pool, we also went to the ANZAC Day centenial exhibition, which was held at the Darwin Convention Centre. The exhibition was awesome, it was really well done, taking you through interactive displays which were at times quite sad, especially the last one with all the names of the fallen soldiers. The exhibition was only in Darwin for a week or so and the best part was it was absolutely free.
On another occasion, via facebook we were able to nab some half price tickets for a Darwin Harbour Cruise, well worth the saving of $150!!! We were very excited as the night we went it coincided with the super moon, so we were hoping to get some great photos and have a lovely platter of bickies and cheeses as we cruised along the water. Um, no, not quite how it all went down, as the weather had other ideas and decided to crash the party with thunder storms, constant rain and cloud cover for the entire length of the cruise…… After an hour and half we were more than happy to disembark and head home for dry clothes……..
During our stay, we were also lucky enough to have Nik’s brother Kevin fly up for business, so of we went out for dinner at the Boat Trailer club. Thankfully the rain held off and we had a great catch up with Kev, as it had been over 2 years since we had seen him.
We had also found a quirky cute little café in town called, Alley Cats Patisserie, which served some amazing milkshakes. Quite often after a little wander down Mitchell St Mall, we would wander in for a dose of their weekly mega shake. Each week they change the theme and post it on facebook, so of course we need to go and make sure that it tastes as good as it looks!!!! Yep, we tried a few mega shakes but favourites were the Kinder suprise mega shake and the Nutella megashake.
We also took a drive out to Nightcliffe Beach for a wander around, calling in at the Darwin Lifesaving Club, with Nik doing his usual looking around for places that he could peek in and see their gear and set ups. Once again though, as it was the wet season there was not much too see, apparently the place rocks over the weekends during the dry season and it is a great place to hang out and swim, however all the kids (and I) agreed that we sure as hell wouldn’t swim here, too many gingas lurking underneath!!!!
In between the exploring and the working, we were also in town for Christmas, which turned out to be a very low key but relaxing day. Whilst we did miss family and friends immensely, we got into the spirit of it and decorated the caravan accordingly. Thankfully, Santa did manage to find us, the girls were afraid he would go back to Perth where we were last Christmas. We were lucky enough to be invited up to share the day and lunch at the park/ resort’s pool and outdoor restaurant (which was closed) with Donella and Alistair, owners of the resort and Nik’s boss. Earlier on we decided that each of us would contribute to Christmas lunch and each make a course, so with courses prepared and Jess all dolled up as the waitress we spent the day at the pool filling our bellies, lounging around and swimming in the pool. The meal began with Abby’s Garlic Prawns for entree, main was cold ham and chicken with Bec’s Quinoa salad and for desert, Zoe whipped up some chocolate cups and ice cream. It was delicious and made the day lots of fun!!
Nik and I also had our annual date night, assisted by a gift voucher for the exclusive Pee Wee’s restaurant at Lee Point. The voucher was our Christmas present from Mum, so given that she had given the girls other stuff we then decided to leave them at home!!! It was an amazing meal, as usual I ordered the local barra and Nik ordered the duck, thankfully we had the voucher otherwise we would still be there cleaning dishes out the back….
Darwin wrap up
All up we were in Darwin for close to 7 months, it was certainly a long 7 months, especially for the girls as they got quite bored with Nik and I working a lot. Given that this was a ‘work stop’ we tried to refrain from spending too much, so we bypassed tourist attractions such as Crocodylus Park and Crocosaurus Cove, which would have cost us over $200 in entry fees each. We just couldn’t justify the money, especially after having seen crocs and many other wildlife in their natural environment, the girls in particular, were not interested in seeing the animals behind cages!! We enjoyed experiencing the wet season, especially from the comfort of our 24 hour a day air conditioned van, for the most part, the periods of monsoonal rain, where it rained for days and days, was not too bad and the van survived with hardly any leaks. Although we have all stated that one wet season was enough!!! The rainfall count just after we left was a staggering 2000mm and quite often we would have deluges of 100-200mm in 1 hour, it was certainly different to the rain down south!!!
Nik and I both enjoyed our jobs and the experiences that came with them and the girls, in hindsight, didn’t think school was too bad. We have met some more amazing people, that we can now call friends and stay in touch with in the future, whether we call in on them on our way down the east coast or catch up with them as they continue their big lap too.
Interestingly, the majority of people we have met have raved about Darwin and their time holidaying up here, however we unfortunately don’t feel the same passion. I think in part because our stay wasn’t a holiday and we were busy working, and we saw both sides of Darwin, the good tourist parts and the bad local parts. Through our work, Nik and I experienced some unfortunate accepted local norms, myself in the hospital and its 90% Indigenous population all suffering horrific effects of chronic disease and poverty and Nik in the tourism/ hospitality industry. I think this acceptance of ‘long grassers’ and the way most ‘white fellas’ just ignore it with their head in the sand attitude had quite an impact on our stay. Having said that, I have absolutely no idea how it can be changed for the better, I think it’s so much bigger than what I can grasp.
The girl’s opinions are from a much simpler perspective, individually they have said that not one of them will ever come back, it’s boring, it’s hot and there is nothing to do, apparently it’s pointless having a beach as it’s too dangerous to swim in!!! Playing devil’s advocate and in Darwin’s defence though, we have explained to them that we did not visit Darwin when it is at its finest and that one day they need to come back during the dry season for a week, perhaps then they won’t be so hot and bored!!! On the other hand, in the girl’s defence, they are beach and lifesaving/ nipper kids and love nothing better than spending a day at the beach and IN the water!!!! Clearly Darwin is not for everyone, in all our time here I only met one white fella who was born and bred in Darwin, and people tend to stay for about 10 years and move on, it’s quite the transient capital city of Australia. However, we wouldn’t change the last 7 months for anything, we have had some great times exploring the areas, importantly though it’s been more about the people that we have met, that we have enjoyed the most, just like on most other parts of our trip.
So after 7 months and quite a few weather warnings, we have packed up and are leaving town the day before a cyclone is forecast to hit Darwin, needless to say I’m a bit relieved, but more than anything we are all very excited about our next adventure and destination on our OZLAP…………..