Next stop, Darwin. Our original plan was only to spend a night or two in Darwin, but our plans changed which meant we ended up spending about 10 days hanging out in Darwin. For some of this time Tom headed back to Melbourne, so I was left to explore Darwin with the kidlets.
Really, Darwin is just another big town. It has all the same things any major centre would boast, including numerous McDonalds and I am ashamed to say that we actually frequented this establishment a little bit when we were in Darwin as it was hot and they serve up $1 slushies. If anybody knows me you will know that letting our kids have slushies never happens!! But I was desperate for air conditioned comfort and coffee and our kids thought they were in heaven!!
We found a caravan park that was not too expensive and luckily had a pool in which they could swim!! This in the end became the favourite pastime for our kids during our stay in Darwin and all the kids showed great improvement in their swimming abilities. Amelia and Isaac learned to dive and Matisse and Tobias became more and more confident in the water.
A visit to Darwin is not complete without a trip to Mindil Sunset Markets held every Thursday and Sunday during the dry season. Yum!! Yum!! With over 200 speciality food stalls there was food a plenty and although we blew our food budget it was worth it!! The other reason to go to the markets is not just to taste the food, but also to see the sunset on Mindil Beach, although we nearly missed it because we were too busy chatting to some new friends. We focussed our attention just in time and managed to get the obligatory family photo.
The Mindil Market also saw Isaac finally having a go at trying to crack a whip. Isaac has been desperate ever since our visit to Little Roper Stock Camp in Mataranka to try his luck at wielding a whip.
Our days in Darwin were spent engaging in a whole wide range of activities. We went to visit a school, we visited the Martin de Porres Aboriginal Mission, we explored the Botanical Gardens, we went to the wave pool in the CBD, we frequented the free water parks, we visited a crocodile park and we looked through the aviation museum that housed old war planes and other aviation equipment.
The other highlight were the water slides that we got to play on!! Seriously cool!! And free to boot!! The other great thing was that seeing it was term time there was no one there (other than other TAWKers). We just got off and ran back up to the top and got to do it again!
The Northern Territory Museum was also of interest and Tom and I particularly enjoyed the display on Cyclone Tracy that devastated Darwin during the Christmas of 1974. The 5 metre ‘salty’ nicknamed ‘Sweetheart’ was a winner with the kids along with other preserved animals, particularly the creepy crawlies! The kids also really enjoyed the interactive kids space and even I got in to the spirit of it painting up a storm!!
It would have been nice to have gone to more of the sites around Darwin that delved more deeply into the impact that the cyclone had on the city. Similarly we would have liked to have explored a little more about the bombing of Darwin Harbour during WWII. It all costs money and the kids really didn’t have it in them! Oh well, Se La Vie, next time.