The Top End of Australia

Trip Start Jan 16, 2008
Trip End Nov 2008

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Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Took one of the worlds great train journeys on "The Ghan" as we travelled the 1600kms from Alice to Darwin. We got a great deal in the Red Kangaroo class (which basically means a nice comfy reclining seat) for the 2 day journey. Lots of buffet cars and winding passageways...very cool journey with an average speed of 85kms an hr.

Arriving in Darwin the sky was full of smoke from bush fires that the rangers start on purpose here. They burn the scrub every year in a series of controlled(?!) fires to ensure a monster fire can never occur.

We found a cool place called Elkas with its own pool for the next five days not too far from the centre of Darwin. We visited the numerous markets, learned how pearls are harvested at the pearling exhibition, strolled around posh Cullen Bay, went to the beach, had fish and chips on the wharf,  enjoyed a game of golf with a German & Swiss group and even came out ahead in the SkyCity Casino

We got to mix with the locals at their annual Darwin show at the showgrounds.  Great day out where Salud got to play with lots of siberian huskies at the krufts like dog show. Some of the highlights were hanging with the army chopper pilots, racing pigs (yes you read that right), whip fighting, getting lots of freebies in the convention area,  the bunderburg rum,  grand parade and the fireworks finale.

Darwin was on the Australian frontline during WWII and was severely bombed which meant most of the buildings had to be rebuilt. It's closer to South East Asia than to Sydney and is Australia's only tropical capital city.

The average age here is 28; it's one of the most multicultural cities being home to 100,000 people and more than 60 different nationalities making up the mix but it feels like every other person you meet here is Irish!!
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