15 July, Monday to 27 July, Saturday
15.07.2013 - 27.07.2013 33 °C
A big 2 weeks in Darwin. This is the longest we have stayed anywhere on our trip so far. We have not stayed longer than 3 nights anywhere, therefore having 2 weeks here was amazing. It felt like home, we considered buying a lawn mower and planting some lettuce and herbs around Swifty. Ha ha.
Well we should feel rested due to our stable home but oh my goodness what a crazy 2 weeks we have had in the big city. We did so much here that I really don’t know where to start. Our party of 4 grew as Fiona (FIFO) and Bruce flew in with Tanya to join us for 4 nights and Colleen and Janelle flew in to join us for 6 nights. We all stayed together at the same caravan park, Swifty on a powered site and the gang scattered across 2 cabins here in the caravan park.
We made day trips out of Darwin to the Litchfield National Park and Berry Springs and swam / snorkled in some beautiful waterholes. Berry Springs was my favourite. Warm water with some serious aquatic life. I borrowed Janelle’s underwater camera and didn’t surface for hours. Only put 2 photos up on the blog but could have kept going. It held as many varieties of fish as the ocean and I just about caught a turtle there with Ellen when we were paddling upstream but quickly changed my mind and let him go after remembering the rather sore turtle bite I suffered in Townsville.
We absolutely loved Darwin’s Sunset Markets at Mindhil Beach so much we went there on 3 separate nights. Fantastic food stalls there and great quirky gift stalls and terrific hippy clothes. It was a great opportunity for us all to buy gifts for our loved ones at home. Just before sunset the entire market crowd migrates to the beach to witness its beauty. There are so many people on that beach its equivalent to a concert audience.
With Cherelle’s influence we explored the Darwin Art Gallery and Museum. If definitely added a bit of culture to our Darwin experience.
We also celebrated Colleen’s 50th birthday at the Darwin Casino. It was a special moment with lots of food, drinks, laughs, and then gifts with happy tears, followed by a stint on the poker machines. Big fun. Colleen’s birthday wish was to go to the wetlands to see crocodiles in the wild. We all piled in the car after our Casino buffet lunch and drove about 100 ks out to the wetlands that lie between Darwin and the Kakadu National Park for a crocodile spotting sunset cruise. Despite driving fast we just made it to Corroboree Park with about 15 mins to spare. Phew. It was fantastic. Lots of croc’s, water lilies and birds. Our boat driver picked a massive Lotus leaf and gave a bit of a talk on it then said it would also make a great hat. Janelle said well actually its Colleen’s 50th birthday today. It was only seconds later that Colleen was wearing the big leaf hat and everyone on the boat was singing happy birthday to her. Very funny. When we got back to the girl’s cabin we put on our pink party hats played some music and got out the nibblies and Bacardi again. It was midnight when we hugged the girls goodnight. What a lovely day we had with Colleen and Janelle. Happy 50th birthday to you Colleen.
Sherrie was in her element at a city pub that hosted a karaoke competition. We cracked open a bottle of Bacardi and the beers in our cabin and were very merry by the time we all piled into a taxi to get Sherrie in there by 10pm which was when it started. She got up and sang 4 songs hoping to win the $200 prize money. We later found out that the prize money was offered more on a raffle type setup for all the entrants rather than the best voice. Pity because she would have cleaned up if it was based on the best singer. The pub eventually kicked us out on closing at 2am. We noticed a nightclub further up was still open so we stayed there until they kicked us out on closing at 4am. It was a great night. Lots of dancing and lots of drinking. Janelle and I managed to get up on top of these rather large speaker boxes and dance up there side by side. Kind of the do-up girls. Hmmm. The things you do at 4am. We stayed up there dancing for a really long time purely because we just weren’t brave enough to get down. Silly us. Well the night ended in a frenzy of Doner Kebabs. Darwin has Doner Kebab shops open at 4am located close to nightclubs too ha ha.. It was kind of breakfast by the time we made our way down there and ordered.
Deck chair open air cinema was another favourite here in Darwin. Big canvas hammock type chairs under the stars, with fire flies and bats swooping over head. There was even a snake near the toilets. Very out there. They served hot meals, snacks, alcohol and tea and coffee. They also handed out pillows and mozzie spray. We really loved it there and went twice during our stay. Once to a double feature with Cherelle and Ellen and then again with Colleen and Janelle to see Life of Pi.
We also enjoyed our stay here at the Hidden Valley Caravan Park. They ran a BYO café that was open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A solo singer guitarist would play at the café in the early evening. And yes as you would expect after a few wines, Cherelle, Sherrie and I were up dancing to Brown Eyed Girl. Felt a bit like all eyes were on us but others got up as soon as we did so secretly everyone loves a dance, even the kids. The pool here was a great way to cool off which we did sometimes right up till 9pm.
Sherrie and I went to the airport here in Darwin a few times. Seeing our friends off. Cherelle and Ellen reluctantly went first. It was hard for us to separate after 5 weeks on the road together. They were sad too. Next to leave were Fiona and Bruce. We didn’t have much time with FIFO but will catch up again in Broome when she flies there to meet up with us again. Then finally the last of our friends to leave were Colleen and Janelle. We stopped on the way to the airport at the Boat Club for a final send off lunch. The big deck there overlooks the beach and we ate posh food and enjoyed a last farewell drink together.
So now it’s just Sherrie and I again. We were going to head straight off on our trek to Broome until we discovered that the Annual Darwin Royal Show was on. Very close to our Caravan Park too. We paid for another night so we could head across and soak up the last little bit of Darwin that we could.