Australia - Darwin
Trip Start Dec 05, 2005
124Trip End Ongoing
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We reached Darwin mid afternoon and headed straight for the centre to have a quick look around and gain our bearings. One of the first notorious sites we sought out was the Tree of Knowledge (PIC) and the Chinese Temple, sadly neither of any real note.
After the obligatory visit to the tourist information centre we sussed out the local internet and cinema facilities and did a quick circuit of the centre to familiarise ourselves with the cities layout and the tourist highlights that we wanted to see.
Walking through the main shopping street (the Mall) we passed the renowned walk-through fountain (PICS) and Old Vic pub which was Darwin's answer to a wild west saloon (now decked out as a modern bar) before hopping on the internet briefly.
In no uncertain terms our stomachs told us it was feeding time so we headed for dinner at one of the many bistros along Mitchell Street before making our way to the infamous Mindil beach sunset market (PIC). We pulled into the car park only to be greeted by hundreds of other cars that we were not expecting.
On enquiring with a local what the whole thing was about we were amazed to discover that around 240 stalls operate every Thursday night, attracting thousands to eat, drink and watch the sun set over the Arafura Sea. (PICS)
With almost 60 food stalls, including Korean, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Sri Lankan, Thai, Laotian, Indian and even Yugoslavian, the remainder of the stalls were art and craft or charity stalls. Local arts and crafts and local entertainment were also present including a 'whip cracker' and an accomplished didgie band (didgeridoo).
We whiled away a couple of hours strolling through the market, slightly miffed that we had already filled ourselves in town so were not fit to take advantage of all the sumptuous smelling foods engulfing our nostrils. We did however find room for a couple of fresh fruit smoothies before driving back to the campsite for the evening.
We finally received our long awaited lie in before taking in breakfast and trying to find a shower block that was unaffected by some workmen's cavalier 'she'll be right' attitude to digging into water mains!
Finally showered and refreshed we stocked up on ice and diesel before again heading into the city. Our first 'port' of call was the Darwin Wharf and Indo Pacific Marine for a quick stroll around in search of a remnant of coral for Verdi's parents 35th wedding anniversary (Coral anniversary). With no success, evidently it is illegal to sell coral, we started what was to become an internet marathon in an attempt to update over a months worth of travel blog backlog.
Breaking dinner we then took to the cinema to watch 'March of the Penguins' (which is to be recommended - SO cute!) before returning to the internet café for another four hour stint.
Blogged out we trundled back to the campsite and bed at a shockingly late (for us!) 1am.
With pretty much a whole day of internet ahead of us we slumped out of bed and made our way into town to continue the blog marathon. Our respite came in the form of some shopping and then lunch at a fantastic restaurant serving wonderful Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine. We had also been there the following day for dinner and decided to revisit to see if their lunch was as good as their dinner had been. We were not disappointed.
After another internet stint of four hours took us up to 9pm we were ready to call it a day, so to wind down we went to the cinema once again, this time to watch Mission Impossible 3. Suitably entertained we returned to the campsite and our beds at turned midnight again.
Initially we hoped that this day would consist of nothing more than lounging around the campsite pool and at most maybe another trip to the cinema. However the travel diary build-up had got the better of us and required ANOTHER few hours work to bring it up to date.
Spending the morning in town we then headed for the Cullen Bay Marina (PIC), a quiet, tranquil area of Darwin based around a small boating marina. The whole place was deserted, either because it was a Sunday or perhaps the area is always that peaceful? Leaving the marina we headed over to the East Point area of Darwin and Fannie Bay (PICS), a perfect place to while away a Sunday afternoon.
Having relaxed for a bit we drove round the Darwin Suburbs,eventually reaching an out-of-town shopping centre which had a cinema that was showing a film we fancied seeing -that no other cinema seemed to be showing - 'The Ringer'. This was a no-brainer comedy but kept us entertained for few hours before we went back to the campsite and booked anothet night so that we could have our much needed 'lazy day' by the pool the following day.
We then spent the rest of the evening planning our journey south.
Our lazy day meant exactly that - we did pretty much nothing!
We awoke late, lazed by the pool in the beatiful warm sunshine all day and then ate at the resorts bistro.
The only non-lazy thing we did all day was a spot of laundry. You've gotta have these days once in while - even the 'rough guide' says so!