Evolving in Darwin

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I arrived at the top of Australia, Darwin, at 12:30 AM and was at my hostel just after 1. You'd think I'd be tired and ready to crash, right? Wrong. Not in the least, though it didn't help that the room was warm, smelly, and filled with a couple 'heavy sleepers'. So, after making up my bunk, I went for a walk around Mitchell and Smith street (the two main strips), checked out the Northern Territory Parliament building, and went to sleep. The next morning, I walked around some more and decided the city centre didn't have much to offer, so I rented a bike and rode out to East Point. The ride was well worth the effort despite the fact that my seat was too high and not really adjustable without tools. There were rock cliffs, nice beaches, and a beautiful little lake that looked like it belonged in the African savannah. I didn't make it in time for the museum, but it was such a beautiful day I was happy to enjoy being outside and rolling around.

Since Darwin seemed to have little to offer that you couldn't find at the bottom of a pint glass anywhere, and since I'd been unable to find anyone crossing the Kimberly with a 4WD (the ONLY way to do it), I booked a tour to Broome for Saturday (it was Wednesday). I wanted to do Kakadu and Litchfield, but Kakadu was sold out unless I waited until next Saturday to leave. Well, I was already getting bored of Darwin, so I booked Litchfield for Friday and resolved to actually relax and enjoy the heat and humidity by the pool on Thursday. And that's just what I did! I resumed Islands in the Stream, my second attempt at a Hemmingway novel, had a Malibu-pineapple, and sat in the sun until I could take no more. In the pool, I represented Canada in the Aqualympics(tm) which I'm proud to say we swept, winning all but one event in which we tied Ireland. I met three English girls that came in after and Tom, who represented England, and the five of us hung out in the pool all afternoon.

It was Thursday, the night of Darwin's famed Sunset Beach Markets, so the lot of us (Gemma, Jill, Rebecca, their friend Natalie, and Tom went to see the sunset and grab some eats. We just made it for a beautiful sunset, and I tried camel, barramundi in okra, satay squid, loukoumathes, some African dishes, fresh fruit juice, and basically went to town. Incidentally, camel tastes just like you'd think it would. Awful. There was a really cool didj-drum combo that I could've watched all night, but we wound up going out to Schenanigans instead. I had to be up early for my tour the next morning, but I promised them I'd go out and have one drink. Which turned out to be a jug, but what can you do... who wants to get technical? I saw first hand why people love the party in Darwin, and we had a blast out on the town. All said, a great day, I need to learn to have more days like this where I'm actually on vacation and not traveling or running here and there. Someday...

Friday was my final day in Darwin, and I spent it on the Litchfield Dreams tour, checking out Litchfield National Park. We stopped at the Jumping Croc Cruise first, which was more what I was expecting from the Daintree Croc Cruise I did a month ago. Lots of crocsand literally everywhere - and they actually get them to jump out of the water snapping at food. There wre also lots of birds around and I felt, not for the first time, that I'd been transported to Africa. From there, we did some swimming in Wangi Falls, had a photo op at Florence Falls, and swam again in the Buley Rock Pools, my favourite stop of the day. I found a pool with some good jumping and went for it, most of our group wound up hanging out in this pool. Plus, you could relax in the falls quite nicely. Finally, back to Darwin where I did some internet stuff (man, do I hate using the computers in cafes), played cards with the English girls, and called it a night. 6:30 the next morning, I was off to Broome through the Kimberly, which could very well be a new highlight of Oz. Stay tuned for that and more, coming soon.

Darwin Photos
Litchfield National Park Photos

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