Day 77

Location:  

Darwin

Weather:  

Calendar:  

What We Did:

We’re in the Top End, and the tail end of our great Australian journey. Darwin is a fascinating little city in the tropics, hot, sticky and vibrant. We packed in a full day after our long journey to get here. First, Dad took Raquel to the Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory in search of the mythical Sweetheart. We found this 5-metre long beast, and then proceeded to explore the museum’s collection of stuffed animals, art collections, and an exhibit about Cyclone Tracy that destroyed the city in 1974. Raquel was a little spooked in the room that mimicked the sound of a cyclone, but was thrilled to visit the Discovery area to make pop art, buttons and examine different stuff under a microscope. We hopped into a cab to pick up Mom and Gali and walk from our hotel to Crocosaurus Cove downtown. Saltwater (now called estuary) crocodiles are everywhere in this neck of the territory, and Crocosaurus lets you learn all about them. We watched Burt, the 80-something year old croc who starred in Crocodile Dundee leap out the water, hopped in a pool to see and baby crocs, fed them, checked out the largest reptile collection in the country, and played with a baby croc too. The big crocs are rescues, one even lost his arm but Chopper is still a monster! Dad then did the Cage of Death, but kids aren’t allowed to get that close! We emerged in the late afternoon to find the streets full of life. A boutique market pops up on Smith Street each Friday with various stalls and lots of things for the kids to do, including a jumping castle and balloon clown and fairy arts and crafts (where Raquel decorated CD’s and Gali went up and down a slide 43 times). The kids had a blast. We watched the sunset from our 15th floor apartment and really enjoyed a busy and fun day out in the tropics.

What We Ate:

Lunch: Raquel is a fussy eater. We asked her what she would eat if she could have anything, and she said: a tuna sandwich. Fortunately, there’s a great sandwich place around the corner from our hotel, and so that’s what she had.

Dinner: Dad cooked up fresh herbed and lemon zest salmon with rice, beans, balsamic mushrooms and zucchini. Washed down with a chilled Sauv-Blanc from New Zealand, and apple juice, of course.

Where We Ate:

Lunch: Ben’s Bakehouse

Dinner: In our Oaks apartment

My Favourite Pictures Today

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Where We Slept:

Our home in Darwin is the 15th floor of the Oaks Elan. We’re right downtown and close to everything, and the pool was a big hit. We have a terrific view over the city and the turquoise sea in the distance, and lots of space in our modern two-bedroom apartment.

 

We Learned:

The Northern Territory is the most sparsely populated region of Australia. Darwin was destroyed twice, first by a Japanese air invasion during WW2 (Darwin was being built up as a major Allied base) and then by the devastating impact of Cyclone Tracy, which just about flattened the city in 1974. It’s a boom and bust city, with mining and tourism driving the economy. Given the wealth from the mining flows back to the federal government, its unlikely NT will become a full state because it cannot afford to. We heard “the tyranny of distance” as a major challenge. We learned that liquor stores ask for ID in the NT not only because of age but also because there is a banned drinkers list and everyone needs to be verified against it. We learned that crocodiles have 66 teeth, live much longer on farms than in the zoo. We learned your chances are not great surviving a croc attack, but there’s only been two dozen or so deaths in the NT in the last few decades (although attacks are increasing). We learned Sweetheart wasn’t exactly a sweetheart, he just lived in Sweet’s billabong (lake). We learned that cyclones sound very scary, and one hit Darwin just a few months ago.

Reflection of the Day

The Best Part:

The crocodiles!

The Worst Part:

When Gali bumped his lip trying to climb up a ledge to see the crocs underwater. He’s bashed and bruised and really looks like he’s been in the wars these days.  And the spots are still there…

We'll Always Remember

  • Name: Sasha
  • Favourite Place: Spain
  • I Love Travel Because: I get to experience new things, it opens my world to new ideas and cultures, and I get to eat lots of awesome food
  • My Advice for Kids: Always believe in yourself, you can do anything and you’re amazing person
  • Name: Tom
  • Favourite Place: Belgrave, Victoria
  • I Love Travel Because: I love seeing something new and being out of my comfort zone
  • My Advice for Kids: Find out what you love and do it for the rest of your life

  Today's Random Thing

  A Note from Mom and Dad

Not for the first time, thank God for ice-cream. Raquel took directions from the friendly photographer at Crocosaurus Cove so well Mom reckons she should be a movie star. Dad reckons every Mom thinks their kid should be a movie star. Gali can now say “I’m tired” when he wants to nap. He’s communicating more and more, and after too many hours on the i-Pad playing with reading apps, he’s recognizing the alphabet too (thanks Storybots!) Darwin feels particularly family friendly and there’s lots of young kids about.  Good to be here in dry season when the humidity is manageable!

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