Today we arrived in the Town of Darwin. Named by the Captain of The Beagle in honor of his traveling companion - the then little known Biologist and soon to be author of a fairly interesting book about evolution.
When we landed we were hit by the sheer heat of the place. It was 39 deg with 100% humidity. We caught a bus to the city centre relatively painlessly and checked into our backpackers. A quick shower and we took a stroll around town. I have to report that Darwin in an exceptionally boring town - although I did learn that it is the lightening capital of the world with around 80 thunderstorms a year!An event that the next night we were treated to!
Darwin is notable for 2 other facts: The first was that due to its location it is prone to quite severe Cyclones and infact every 20 years or so gets wiped out. The last major event being in 1984 and called Cyclone Tracy with destroyed 70% of the buildings and killed 68 people. The second for being the only Australian city to be attacked by the Japanese during WWII. As such, a lot of the town became fortified and has a lot of tributes to the war effort.
There is little else nice I can say about the place other than a weirdly world class museumand the wonderful facial hair of the local inhabitants.
Anyway we were only there to start our coach tour with Contiki which collected us from Darwin and headed out to Lychfield national park for the first day.
Lychfield is an interesting place and home to the Magnetic termite mounds which we got to see. They are called Magnetic as all the mounds face east to catch the morning sun. The reason why the mounds are built like this is to allow the termites to heat regulate. So in the morning when the East side heats up the termites know to stay in the cooler west side and vice versa in the afternoon. Quite how these bugs found out how to read a compass is just another mystery of the natural world. Something I am sure the erstwhile Charles Darwin would have loved to investigate given the chance.
We also got an hour or so of swimming in a natural water hole which was stunning abeit for the constant battles against flies and mosquittos! Still such is the way of life all the way up here!
In the evening we returned to Darwin and headed out for a dinner with the group which was fantastic. An interesting group with about 30 people and mixing, American, Canadian, German, Irish and oh yes an awful lot of English! Vanessa was the exception proudly representing Brazil!
After dinner we hit a bar and had fun and games!
The next day we headed out to The World heritage listed Kakadu national park….