Monday, May 20, 2013

Darwin NT

We arrived in Darwin on Sat.18th and found a nice shady Caravan Park near to the city. On Sunday we went to the Casuarina Baptist Church 9am service. It is a contemporary style service with a lot of modern songs (none of which we knew). The minister actually comes from Cessnock - Paul Avery. This church was granted $40,000 from the Northern Territory Govt. to run a Food 4 Life Programme for one year - our church got zilch from the NSW Govt. for a similar programme. 

After the service we went to the Darwin Botanical Gardens and saw some really nice tropical plants from all over the world. We also saw some bird life, but it was terrible hot and humid, so we didn't linger any longer than necessary to see the highlights and then went to the Museum.

Darwin Botanical Gardens
Bird in a tree
Where's the birdie?
Cannon Ball Tree
Cannon Ball Tree - Flower and Fruit
A lovely 'blue' bush.
Note my new Aboriginal Artwork Shirt (in the photo above) that I bought at Jabiru - it was a bargain at $34.95 when most Aboriginal Art stuff has a high royalty component attached to them. A lady at the museum liked (and raved over) my shirt so much I think I could have sold it to her for twice the price. 

We had lunch at the Museum, I had a Angus Meat Burger with "hand cut potato wedges" and Ruth had Salmon in Beer Batter with chips - both dishes were served on a wooden platter (like a small chopping board) - most unusual (I should have taken a photo of them, but was hungry by the time they were served) - then we had to wait for 15 mins after asking for our bill - they were so busy seeing people to their tables! Anyway I can't show you any photos of the museum because they have signs up everywhere (and staff standing around watching) that say "Strictly no Photography in Museum". 
Sweetheart the crocodile is an icon of the Territory.
In the 1970s, this formidable predator gained notoriety for attacking
several aluminium dinghies at a popular Darwin fishing spot
and, on 19 July 1979, was caught in a trap and anaesthetised.
Unfortunately in the attempt to haul him ashore,
Sweetheart became entangled with a sunken log and drowned.
A whole section was devoted to the 1974 Cyclone Tracey, including a room where you could hear the noise that a cyclone makes - it would be quite frightening to be in the real thing. Also, lots of stuffed birds and reptiles and dinosaur bones and skeletons of two Australia extinct animals, one like a giant emu and the other like a giant wombat. A giant termite mound sliced so as you could see the inside - apparently their main food source is grass and inside the mound they store the grass in thousands of tiny compartments so as they can survive the wet season.

It was pretty interesting, so after that we went to the famous Mindil Beach Night Markets, renowned worldwide - we weren't impressed, apart from a few Aboriginal Art stalls (prices were exorbitant) it was mainly Asian Food stalls and the regular type of stalls you would get at any market. Guess we were getting pretty tired and sweaty by then, so we left before the spectacular (advertised) sunset over the beach.

Today we had pretty much a rest day - Ruth did the washing and I went to the Aviation Heritage Centre (just across the road from the Caravan Park) to look at their B52 Bomber they were given by the USA air force when they took them out of service from Darwin. It is massive and takes up the whole hanger (see photos).
Aviation Heritage Centre
Cockpit of B52
Wingspan of B52
Tail end of B52
Early caravan made from part of B52 bomber.
Tomorrow we head off to Litchfield National Park and will spend some time there looking at what they have to offer.