The Road Leads to Darwin

Darwin, known as The Gateway to Northern Australia, is a lovely tropical city.  With so much history to devour, you really need several days here.  Then there are  the world famous markets, festivals, cafes and a thriving arts scene and yet things move at a slower pace than down south and I can’t help feeling this would be a great place to settle for a while.


For a start there are fabulous sunsets and this one is from the balcony of a friend’s apartment very close to the city.  There don’t seem to be traffic problems and on a drive to the museum yesterday this is what we came across :




Hardly what you expect to see in the middle of a city!

We walked along the Esplanade and came to The Waterfront area which is both residential and recreational with a big wave pool and swimming lagoon and a park for the kids.



There are restaurants galore and we settled for a coffee before walking back – with the bonus of a lift to take us back up to the Esplanade thus avoiding the slog of walking up the hill in the heat!

One activity the Darwinites love apparently is the Deckchair Cinema.  This is down by the water and screens films nightly with a bar and restaurant food available if you don’t want to bring a picnic. How tropical is that?!



Keen to see the MAGNT (Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory) we drove through the attractive seaside suburb of Fannie Bay and past the Botanical Gardens to find the Northern Territory’s premier cultural organisation set in a scenic coastal location at Bullocky Point with a restaurant/cafe alongside with views over the bay. The museum features collections of art from the region as well as natural science, history and culture. There is a lot of local history and there is a huge exhibit featuring Cyclone Tracey which devastated the city on Christmas Eve in 1974.

The collection of animals, insects, reptiles, shells and sea life is huge and it is all presented so well and the exhibits are so real that it is easy to imagine all this outside in the environment.



This is the little Jacana and babies – we saw several in Kakadu but they are shy and elusive so to be able to gaze upon these without missing anything is a real bonus.




Some fascinating aboriginal art is presented along with comprehensive explanations and even a desert artist shows her skill with a paintbrush fashioned from the tail hair of a dog – her intricate and steady lines were quite amazing.  Her hand never faltered.


One immersive exhibition tells the story of the didgeridoo – or yidaki as it is known here. It illustrates the importance of the instrument in Aboriginal life and culture and begins with exploring a stringybark forest to find the right tree and then carving the yidaki and finally experiencing the mesmerising power of the sounds.  The painting on the wood – as shown above – all has significance to the owner, the artist and the tribe.  I actually felt goosebumps at the end of the performance.

And for those who are fascinated by dinosaurs this prehistoric skeleton is that of a giant goose – something I am sure 6 year old Hamish would love to see!


Tomorrow we will immerse ourselves in the era of World War 2 in Darwin and there is much to see and experience.

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