Cruise days 55,56 – Feb 28,29
For our final Australian stop we arrived at Darwin’s port around 2:00pm for an overnight stay, scheduled to leave the next day at 1:30pm. The rain was predicted at 100% upon our arrival, but we only got sprinkles as opposed to the recent huge downpours. We’ve faced the fact that it’s wet season in the Northern Territory (Jan-Feb are the wet months, with an average rainfall total of 68″!), and even though it’s considered the cooler time of the year it still gets into the ’80s with high humidity.
Our only excursion here was the included one on the first afternoon that took us by bus through the city, then dropped us off at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. We spent about an hour and a half looking around their various nicely-done displays, including the one detailing Cyclone Tracy which devastated the city on Christmas Day in 1974.
I especially enjoyed the displays showing all of the venomous critters that Australia is known for, including snakes, spiders, octopus and jellyfish. And to think our biggest concern back in Arizona is a few rattlesnakes! This is not to mention the saltwater crocodiles that, combined with the jellyfish and sharks make the beaches here “unswimmable”.
The next morning we headed out on our own for a nice long walk on solid ground. With the temperature in the high 80’s and humidity in the 70’s we worked up quite a sweat during our 4-mile trek. We observed that even on a Saturday the city seemed quiet and we felt the laid-back Aussie lifestyle compared to busier Cairns which has about the same population. That made sense, as we learned that Darwin is the “unhurried capital of the Northern Territory” and was named for the British naturalist, Charles Darwin.
Walking from the port to the city via the covered Darwin Waterfront Walkway, we visited the shopping mall and a couple of government buildings. Then after a quick visit to the WWII oil storage tunnels we enjoyed a “legendary margarita” at Hot Tamales Mexican Restaurant. We thought the ice water they gave us after that hot walk was even more legendary!
Once fueled up with drinks and a snack we trekked back to our wonderful air conditioned floating hotel to finish the day.
Darwin wouldn’t be a destination stop for us if we returned to Australia, but it was much quieter than several other Aussie cities we’ve visited, and the residents seemed nice enough.