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.


The other day, as I was about to get into my car, I looked up into the tree nearby and found the sweetest little possum with her baby on her back.  I was quite startled as she was very close and was probably as surprised as I was and maybe a little afraid.  It is unusual to find these animals in the daytime and I can only think she was out looking for food and water as it has been so hot and dry of late.

IMG_0084They can be a real pest and we have quite a few around the house.  Scampering along the roof in the middle of the night or every early in the morning they can make an awful noise and many is the time I have (not so) silently cursed them!  However, I love their huge eyes and pink noses so put up with them – not that I can do much as they are protected species now and it is illegal to move them more than 200m. from the property anyway!

That got me to thinking about other wildlife we have around the house.  There are wallabies on the hill around us and they too come looking for water and fresh feed – often they just sit and stare at me, almost willing me to do something to alleviate their problem.

IMG_1613 IMG_5886This guy looks quite short sighted!

Then we have the scrub turkeys – and they are always around but recently one actually came onto the balcony, strutted around my pot plants and then hopped onto the garage roof.  This one has a family and I have seen a few babies around from time to time.


Then, of course, there are the green frogs, which I love and which seem to come back to the same place all the time.  This guy likes the colour of the shirt on the line, obviously and then retires at night to the lamp on the verandah.



When I don’t see him, I worry that the python has been around.  Yes, we have a large resident python who, I think, lives under a large boulder on the hill behind the house.  One day I found his skin entwined through the trellis of the back verandah…..

IMG_0514 IMG_0515

I have seen him a few times but was annoyed one day when I heard the birds making an awful screech and they sounded very worried.  Looking up at the tree, I found a smaller python attempting to rob a nest.

IMG_5899The birds got together and several of them attacked him – being young I guess he didn’t know what to do in that situation, so he slithered off!


IMG_5905But – the family has increased as just last night, as I went to lock the gate, I found a baby python curled through the slats.

IMG_1146He was quite beautiful, so we just left him to his own devices and by this morning he had gone.

I love the sound of kookaburras and from time to time they are in the trees near the balcony or on the lamppost on the street.  A couple of times we have had them on the balcony on the island and have fed them bacon or mince but here they just sit and sing.


We also have a resident goanna – he is quite beautiful, don’t you think?


Add to that a little echidna, lots of birds as well as the domestic dogs and cats and we have quite a little wildlife sanctuary – and they all seem to get on together!  The most amazing thing is that we are only 3 km from the CBD…..this is North Queensland!