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Darwin

I was pretty disappointed on my return to Darwin to receive a call from Real Aussie Adventures (the company from which I bought my package of tours). There weren’t enough people to make up a tour group between Darwin and Alice Springs, and so they would not be running it. I couldn’t wait for the next available tour group as this would mean delaying my return to Sydney, so the company sorted me out with hostel accommodation in Darwin (plus a day trip to Katherine Gorge – see my next post) and I booked a flight to Alice Springs.

However, this left me with a couple of extra days in Darwin, which I decided not to waste. I walked through the Botanic Gardens, visited the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, watched the sunset, and strolled along the seashore. I also went out in the evenings – both with Aussie locals and with fellow Brits in the hostel. Hostelling seemed luxurious compared to camping!

On my first free day I went to a cafe and treated myself to waffles (organic, gluten free etc etc) before going out to explore.

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Darwin itself is an unusual city, both from a World War II perspective (see my next post) and due to the still-evident destruction wrought by Cyclone Tracey. The Town Hall was devastated in the cyclone, and the ruins were stabilised and left as a reminder.

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Browns Mart was also damaged in Cyclone Tracey. The building had many functions throughout the years: as a warehouse, military building, bank, brothel, motor vehicle registry, legislative council office, World War II torpedo workshop, Crown Law Office, police headquarters, and finally as Browns Mart Theatre.

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Except for the porch and gateway, Christ Church Cathedral was entirely destroyed in Cyclone Tracey. A new cathedral was constructed around the porch in 1976.

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It was a beautiful day for walking around the city…

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…and for watching the sunset.

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The next day I went to visit the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. I especially liked the exhibitions on Australian wildlife. (Who doesn’t..?)

Sweetheart was a large male saltwater crocodile, infamous in the Northern Territory. His notoriety came from attacks on aluminium dinghies at a popular Darwin fishing spot, but he eventually died in an attempted capture. Here’s a picture of the little fella:

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I also liked these Australian fish:

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This rather strange animal is a sawfish.

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I finished up in the museum and decided to wander past Mindil Beach. Unfortunately the famous Mindil Markets weren’t on at that time of year, but it was still a lovely spot.

NB. Darwin waters are infested with crocodiles and jellyfish, so it’s not really the place for a dip…

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I finished off the day at the Botanic Gardens. These showcased plants from both the Top End and elsewhere in the world.

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 Next stop, Katherine Gorge!

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