So we bid farewell to Melbourne and boarded our flight which would take us up to Darwin in the Northern Territory. It may sound like a bit of a long winded way round to do it but it was cheaper for us to fly up to Darwin and then head south down the west coast, than it was to get to Perth and head up the west coast. After a 4 1/2 hour flight that seemed to whizz by despite all the turbulence and ten thousand children on board, we arrived in Darwin in the middle of the night and hopped on the airport shuffle which took us to our accommodation in central Darwin. We were pleasantly surprised that we had been moved to our own private twin room rather than a dorm and settled down for a bit of sleep.
We knew that we were visiting Darwin in the wet season and on waking up it certainly was wet. We headed out, pacamacs on, to get a few essentials and by the afternoon the rain had cleared. The wet season generally starts at the beginning of January, with the temperatures increasing to around 40 degrees and the rain coming down. However this year, they've had a very dry start to the wet season but the temperatures have remained high, so the locals welcome any rain at the moment! That afternoon we headed out for a walking tour of Darwin and the city centre- Darwin is fairly small so this didn't take too in long! Everywhere is pretty quiet in the wet season, so after cooking some dinner, we settled down in our room with the laptop and caught up on a weeks worth of Neighbours and Home and Away! We know to life the high life!!!!!
The following morning we were up bright and early to go on a day trip to Litchfield National Park which is about 2 1/2 hours away from Darwin. Apart from 2 children, we were the youngest people on the bus but had a great time in the company of some older people, particularly a an elderly couple from Melbourne who thought we were 18! And yes, they did have their glasses on!!! The day began looking at Termite mounds, which probably sounds boring to everyone else but was actually pretty interesting, considering how small the termites are and how big the mounds were. Our guide was very knowledgeable and provided us with commentary of the local areas, nature and wildlife all day. Next up was a stop at a waterfall that we could swim in. During the wet season, a large number of the lagoons and waterfalls are closed to swimmers due to the fact that crocodiles inhabit them! Our guide assured us that this lagoon was perfectly safe to swim in and we are still here to write this blog so he was right! After a lovely swim and walk through a bit of rainforest, we headed for a lunch stop. On arrival, we were told by our guide, Kerry, that the cafe where we stop had been hit by lightening in October and completely destroyed but they were still able to provide lunches for the pre-booked tours (even the day after the lightening had struck, they still managed to sort lunch out). On previous tours, lunch has either been a sandwich or nothing, so with this news of the cafe having burnt down we were a bit skeptical about what lunch would entail. We were wrong to doubt them, lunch was delicious with lots of rice, pasta salad, meats, salad and fruit. It's amazing how resourceful these people are. They are in the middle of nowhere, with little resources and a burnt down cafe but they've managed to create makeshift eating area and provide great food! The rest of the day was spent visiting more waterfalls with some more swimming in croc free lagoons and a bit more walking. By the evening, we were shattered and after a quick dinner, we headed to bed.
On our final day in Darwin, we headed to the "beach". It's a manmade beach in a development not dissimilar to somewhere like Gunwharf Quays with shops and restaurants, as well as a wave machine swimming pool next door. It 's pretty small but the water was nice and warm and we spent a couple of hours chilling out enjoying the sunshine. Until the thunder started and the lifeguards cleared the water and we sat under a shelter and watched the spectacular lightening and thunder display. There was no rain, just amazing skies!
Darwin is at one of the most northern points of the Northern Territory and is a fairly small city in a state which is predominantly outback as it's so uninhabitable. There isn't much to say about Darwin, especially in the wet season, most people head up there to go and see the National Parks and not the town. It was a good a good place for us to start our travels down the west coast but we're not sure we'd visit again in a hurry, except for the national parks maybe.