On Thursday, September 8 we flew from Brisbane to Darwin to spend a few days getting the feel for a new part of Australia. Darwin is named for Charles Darwin and it sits at Beagle Bay. Darwin is located on the Northern Coast of Australia in the Northern Territories. It is the capital of the Northern Territories. The weather is a lot warmer than most of the rest of Australia. They have only two basic seasons - the dry season and the wet season. The temperature is hot (in the 90’s) during the dry season and isn’t much hotter during the wet season, but the humidity is much higher.
We arrived in the early afternoon. We are staying at the Doubletree by Hilton, across the street from a large park that runs along the coast.
We got checked in and then went out for a quick bite of lunch. We ended up at a place called Ducks Nuts. It had nice snacks.
After that we explored the park across from our hotel.
This is one of many World War II memorials throughout the city. This one is a gun from the USS Peary, sunk on 19 February 1942 by Japanese aircraft. She was the first destroyer lost of the Asiatic Fleet.
We found trees in the park with strangler figs growing on them.
Friday – September 9
On Friday, we took a ferry about 50 miles north to Bathurst Island, one of the Tiwi Island group. The Tiwi Indigenous Australians live on the island. We spent the day touring the town of Wurrumiyanga with our Tiwi guide. They are a very open people, willing to share their culture. They also played a significant role as part of the defense of Australia.
Because of the distance we were out view of land for part of the trip.
Our approach to Bathurst Island. We landed directly onto the beach.
They have various form of art that they make. Batik, wood carvings, material design and silk screening, to name just a few.
The wood carving and painting is truly unique.
The posts are ceremonial, used in burials. The poles remain in the cemetery until they fall down, and then they are left on the ground.
This is the women’s cooperative where they design and print fabric and make clothes from the fabric.
We spent part of the afternoon with our guide and his relatives. They talked to us about their culture and customs and demonstrated shell painting. They also did ceremonial face painting and demonstrated some of their traditional dances.
We also had a traditional Australian bush snack of tea and damper (biscuit like cake). (with golden syrup)
We visited the town museum, which showed some of the history of the Tiwi and told the story of their exploits during WWII.
Overall it was a fun and interesting day.
Saturday – Sept 10
Today was a day on our own. We had discovered Darwin has a Hop-On Hop-Off bus that will take you to various interesting sites around the city. So we spent the day taking advantage of the bus. These are generally double-decker buses so you get a great view of the city sites as you drive.
Here is the view from our hotel balcony. Everything is lush and green. Note all the palm trees.
Darwin is a very water oriented community, so most of the pictures show the various bays around the city. This is Stokes Hill Wharf.
This is a view from the wharf area along Darwin Harbour
This is the wharf and docks on the other side of the city called Cullen Bay. Because the tides are so large, some of the harbors are behind locks. The boats are raised or lowered as needed to pass between the harbor and the open ocean.
One of the lock gates between the harbor and open ocean.
We visited the Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory. Our main interest was the display of aboriginal art. There are some unique and beautiful items on display in the museum. This is a pelican.
These are didgeridoo’s
The museum also had a nice display of various types of boats. Many of them from the countries and lands north of Australia.
We need to go back sometime as there is so much more to see.
We also visited a new museum displaying the bombing of Darwin harbor and telling the story of the Flying Doctors of Australia. No pictures to show but was worth the visit. We even experienced a virtual reality display showing how the attack on Darwin harbor took place.
That brings you up to date on our adventure…..tune in again soon for more.