Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Darwin - 27/07/12 to 02/08/12

The trip from Jabiru into Darwin produced our first major problem of the tour so far - an overheating car. It had been showing some signs of needing a look at and was already booked into a mechanic in Darwin. However, during the trip the temperature went right up and we had to stop, wait for it to cool down, top up the radiator and then continue. Fortunately we made it into Darwin, unfortunately we had to do this without the air con running so as to nurse it along as best we could. Made for a fairly uncomfortable trip.  

First thing in Darwin, once car had again cooled down, was to do a grocery shop as we were running low. Had an early dinner down by water's edge in the city and then off to the deck chair cinema to watch "Pirates - Band of Misfits". Very entertaining and very different, sitting under the stars in the old style deck chairs watching a movie. You could even have a beer or two.

Next day it's back into the city to go to the wave pool. One of the best wave pools I have seen with some decent size waves coming through. The waves run for 20 minutes, have a break for 10 minutes and then are on again. Boys had a great time and made a few friends in the pool, while Vicki and I sat under an umbrella and read our Harry Potter books (I am up to fourth while Vicki is on fifth). 

We visited the Darwin Museum, which is very good and is free to enter. It has a great display of animal and plant life and also has a section dedicated to Cyclone Tracey. This includes a darkened room which has actual recordings of the noise that the cyclone made. You go in, the lights go out and you stand in the dark listening to this terrifying noise - exactly what it was like for those who were there. A very scary experience. Another attractions was the WWII Oil Storage Tunnels, massive underground tunnels that were constructed during the Second World War to store oil after the above ground tanks were bombed. An incredible engineering feat, but a rather poor and overpriced tourist attraction. 

That night we went to the Mindal Beach Markets, which are one of the must do things in Darwin. I must say it was one market that I really enjoyed as it was about 80% food with all sorts of variety's on offer. We ate there and then went down to the beach to watch the sun set over the water. And once again we have run into the Cutlers, who were also at the market. We moved down to their site and camped in on their picnic blanket and the kids had a ball catching up and then all joining in with the street entertainers. It was a great night and we didn't get home until late.

My sister, Kerrianne, was in town while we were there, She is a hostie with Qantaslink, based in Cairns, and it just so happened she had a stop over in Darwin. We caught up with her at her hotel, had a few drinks there and then all went to the Trailer Boat Club for dinner. Once again, this is on the water in the Fannie Bay area and you can sit at your table, have you meal and a drink and watch the sun set over the water. Another great night.

The day we dropped off the car to the mechanic we caught the bus and headed into town back to the wave pool. We also checked out the Darwin Wharf area. Later we caught the bus back, I got off at the mechanics stop and Vicki and the boys went out to the Palmerston Water Park. Darwin is a great town for water parks and they are all free (except for the wave pool). The only thing is they don't open until after 2.00pm to make sure the local kids go to school. Diagnosis from the mechanic was that the only issue with the cooling system was the radiator cap - replace that and the problem was solved. Test run seemed to confirm this, but it all sounds too good to be true.

On our final day there we checked out the Darwin War Museum and the Defense of Darwin Experience. Again these were very good and provided a lot of information about bombing of Darwin during WWII that I had no idea of. For instance, more bombs were dropped on Darwin that Pearl Harbour and that Darwin was attacked over 60 times. Very moving display and well put together.

Back to our crowded, but fairly good caravan park to start the pack up and get ready to move on. 

One car getting very hot

Two boys doing the same as the air con is now off

Darwin Wave Pool

"Potter Heads"

No more to be said

Darwin Museum

Fannie Bay - the water was a beautiful blue the photo doesn't do it justice

What a handsome boy

Lunch in the park in front of the museum

Overlooking Darwin Waterfront precinct

Entrance to WWII Oil Storage Tunnels
And inside

Help yourself Slushies at Mindal Markets. Do you think the boys are impressed?

And once again the Brennans and the Cutlers meet

Kids all watching the street entertainers at Mindal Markets
And then having a go themselves. Nate mastered the Diabolo.
and Jacob The Weavers

Vicki and I down on the beach enjoying the sun set

And here it is. It actually gets a round of applause on completion

Some times you just gotta make your own fun

Boys at one of the water parks in Darwin

View from Trailer Boat Club, our venue for dinner with Kerrianne
A few champagnes for the girls
Here's a photo for you mum

And here's a photo for grandma

Out at the Darwin Wharf area

View of the city 

At the War Museum (those shells actually aren't real)

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