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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Kakadu

Kakadu is a large, world famous national park a few hours drive from Darwin. We just had a day trip, so really only saw a small part...but what we saw was certainly spectacular. 

The sun wasn't up when we left Darwin...


By the town of Humpty Doo, the sun was well and truly up so we saw the famous Boxing Crocodile statue...



The magnificent Adelaide River...


On the way to Kakadu, our bus stopped at a small airfield as an option was to fly over this vast area in a small plane. There were 14 places available on this flight and the rest of us would continue by road. 


By the time the bus got to where the Wetlands Cruise departed, those who 'took flight' would meet us. 

We did stop on the way at a rather impressive Aboriginal Culture Centre...



Our cruise was to the Yellow Water Billabong...a absolutely beautiful wetlands' area.

Our captain went through the safety talk...but knowing that the water contained crocodiles, I just hoped we wouldn't need to use those lifejackets! 😥

There were a few of these boats taking tourists out...


What a magnificent waterway!


As we sailed from the river into what looked like a small tributary, the captain informed us that we were actually sailing on what would be walking tracks in the dry season. 


He told us that the Wet would finish in a few weeks at the end of April. He also commented that in the previous month, the water levels had gone down already by 2 metres. 




A nest high up in a tree was pointed out to us...it was the nest of a White-bellied sea eagle...


Then the countryside 'opened up' as we sailed into the Yellowwater Billabong area...


This next photo shows a big stand of Pandanus Palm...beautiful trunks with spiral markings on this variety...


Lush grasses, wildflowers and even sacred lotus plants. And of course, there would have been crocodiles lurking just below the surface too! 😳


DH had hoped to see at least one crocodile in the wild, but he had to be content with seeing some wonderful birdlife...


And it was DH that first saw the water buffalo...the captain quickly slowed and turned the boat and drifted in towards the bank as cameras 'worked overtime' ! 😃


Our guide told us that much of the area that we had sailed through had been once working cattle properties, but once the area had been designated as a national park, the natural vegetation has regenerated andthe wildlife has thrived. It is interesting  to note though that some non native flora and fauna ( e.g. the lotus, water creepers and the buffalo) have been retained. 

The last photo shows a landscape that I thought was maybe my favourite...


By the time we got back to Darwin it was 7.30, so it had been a long day...but oh so worth it! 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Darwin Harbour Cruise

After our bus tour we had one more outing...a taxi ride to Stokes Hill Wharf to board our dinner cruise boat. 
This wharf area has had lots of regeneration done and is a very popular eateries precinct.


There were great views looking back towards the city...

If you are adventurous, there is a driverless bus which takes passengers between Stokes Hill Wharf and the Waterfront Eateries Precinct. ( another amazing place!)

How cute is this thing! 😉

I found a news report on this vehicle which explains a bit about the technology involved in how it works. Driverless Vehicle
There were a few craft moored there...

This one was 'ours'...

The dining area was spacious...and the tables had starched white cloths...

The commentary was very interesting. Darwin Harbour is 5 times the size of Sydney Harbour and has a 'catchment area' of 450 square kilometres! Source

The large white building on the right is Parliament House...

Framed within the window on the left in the next photo, is Government House on the right with Parliament House on the left...

Government House is a beautiful looking building but unfortunately, neither DH or I were successful in getting a clear photo...

Pretty soon the light had faded and it was time for the dinner buffet, which was delicious.

It was a very pleasant and relaxing evening. When night fell, the city lights made a lovely backdrop...


And for the last hour of the cruise we moved out to the fore deck where the weather was balmy and the company great!

After the cruise docked it was a short taxi ride back to our hotel, where bed was very welcome after our busy day! 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Day Tour of Darwin; Part 4

Another very short stop early on our tour that day was at the Charles Darwin National Park. This area has lots of Indigenous history and military history, plus being an interesting conservation area. A visitor could easily spend lots of time looking at these various aspects, but our tour specifically went to look at an old ammunition bunker which dated from WW2. The area was dotted with quite a number of these installations, but this one has been restored and turned into a small museum.



The next photo shows a trolley that was used to carry shells.

The next photo shows old grey coloured wooden boxes. I think these were used for fuses.

Our second last stop that day was at a rather large Military Museum...you are possibly seeing a bit of a theme here 😉

We started inside the building looking at the quite extensive displays...bit dark to take photos though. The museum guide who spoke to our group in the foyer, also recommended a movie which followed the historical events that culminated with the outbreak of WW2, and it was an excellent excuse to give the legs a rest...

A machine gun!

Out in the grounds though was a collection of military equipment...

And there were some out buildings also housing equipment...

And my favourite was this US mobile workshop...

The stories I've heard over the years, describe how when the war was over and the US defence units went home, they didn't bother to take all their equipment so a lot was dumped. ( in the bush, buried or thrown in the ocean are the stories) so it's not surprising that old US equipment turns up in our military museums.
Our last stop was at the Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery. DH and I started with a coffee and shared a scone as we were starting to 'flag'. 😥 This was another place where you could have easily spent a whole morning...or even a day! It is a spacious and well set out space.
We decided to use the little time we had to mainly focus on the Cylone Tracy Exhibit...sadly this had to be at the expense of the Art Gallery exhibits.

There were videos showing news footage of this 1974 disaster...


The next photo shows the total destruction of a Darwin suburb...

I remember this Women's Weekly...it had page after page of the destruction...


It was this old iron railway signal tower exhibit that really showed the fury of Cyclone Tracy!

There were other historical exhibits of course...including wartime.


We had a bit of time before we had to be back on the bus so we went to look at the Natural History Exhibition Hall.
How exciting was this place!

You could spend ages here just wandering around, reading the info boards and admiring the exhibits and their presentation.

A giant termite mound...

Lots of specimums to check out...the fish in the collage are life size by the way!

Well this has certainly been a long post, but after taking 4 posts to write about a tour that went from 7am until 3.30, I thought it was time to finish.
Our driver and guide for the day had been Rowan, who hailed from Timaru in NZ. That's what we found about Darwin; residents who have come from places far and wide to live and work in the Northern Territory. I guess it's like the 'final frontier' adventure 😉.