Well another week has passed us by in Darwin. The time rely does fly when you are having fun, we are having a ball as we explore Darwin. We have met some wonderful people as we continue to stay at Howard Springs. During the week we had a few restful days, where we just kicked backed and enjoyed the beautiful weather, with a constant balmy 32 degrees with the high teens over night.
At this point we continue to look for work in our fields. We have only applied for a few roles and hope to hear in the next couple of weeks. There is plenty of work here, its just that we have chosen to stay in our industries to stay current for our careers. Well that’s enough about the working part, now back to the fun stuff.
This week we have got up early a couple of times to see if the sunrises are as spectacular as the sunsets. We haven’t been disappointed, whether you are a morning person or an night owl, Darwin has you covered. The first morning was a trip down to the Darwin Waterfront to take pictures as the sun came up over the Port of Darwin. It is really nice that even before sunrise you can be wearing shorts and t-shirt, but the mozzie repellent is a really good idea. After a spectacular sunrise off to the coffee club, for a delicious banana pancake breakfast. The food was absolutely fantastic at a really reasonable price of $13 each.
Now to exploring the area around our lovely camp. We took a visit to Howard Springs Nature Park, just a mere five kilometres away from the caravan park. The springs there had a weir built during WWII, and the area was used as a rest camp for the military. Some of the barramundi within the area are absolutely huge, but sorry fisho’s there is no fishing here. I was amazed by the file snakes swimming around just off the weir. Unfortunately you can’t swim here any more as result of the bacteria in the water, but the NT Government has built some lovely rock pools, that are about knee deep to paddle in. Just pack up a picnic and head to the area for a relaxing time with some good friends. It is advisable to cover up around Sunset and Sunset as the Mozzie’s are huge and there are millions of them.
The Cox Peninsula is a lovely place to explore, its located about 2 hours from Darwin, or you can take the 25 minute ferry service. If you take the ferry service make sure you take a push bike as there is a lot to see and do once you get off the boat. If you decide to drive around to Cox Peninsula, there is a lot of gorgeous scenery and history to explore. From Howard Springs you turn right following the signs for Berry Springs, a short distance down the road is some massive Cathedral Termite Mounds. Some of these are more than 4m high.
We drove through some more burn off areas on the road to Cox Peninsula, where we visited the crash site of the Milady. The Milady was a B24J Liberator assigned to the 5th Air Force, 380th Bombardment Group, 531st Bombardment Squadron with a crew of six aviators. On January 17, 1944 Milady took off from Long Strip on a practice bombing mission over Quail Island. It crashed onto the Cox Peninsula to the west of Wagait Beach, killing the entire crew in the crash. The wreck has some excellent information and is remarkably well preserved, it is has been placed on the Heritage List. The access road is a little rough to get in but it is worth a visit, extra ground clearance would be a huge advantage.
A short drive from the Milady is Wagait Beach, a beautiful little area. So we drove past the Friendly Grocer as we headed out to the beach. The beach is absolutely beautiful and is very inviting for a swim, but there are Crocs in the area so we thought better of it. As you walk up to the beach you past some more remnants of WWII. You pass some of the observations points and what look like to be tank traps. With such a beautiful day it was time to head to the pier at Mandorah, to organise some lunch. From the pier at Mandorah you have some fantastic views of Darwin and watching the tide move in the Port of Darwin. The tidal differences are huge and it is very fast moving. While we were here some of the locals caught a 1.3m Queenie right off the pier.
Returning from Cox Peninsula, we thought we would have a look at Tumbling Waters Caravan Park and the surrounding area. We saw some people having some great fun in a Polaris Adventure vehicle with their kids. I now want one as it would be awesome, just about go anywhere no real issues. Graham went for a walk around the walking track and got some photos of the billabong area. It was really beautiful, but had a rather off putting smell as some of the water had turned stagnant in some of the smaller pools.
During the week we decided to head to the MAG (Museum and Art Gallery) as known locally. It is down at Fannie Bay right next door to the Darwin Ski Club. The MAG is free and has some really awesome displays of the history of the local area and characters. The museum is best known for its displays on Cyclone Tracy, Sweetheart a 5.5m croc and had a special gallery show of the NT News front pages through the decades. It also has a restaurant that has some excellent views over Fanny bay and the cool drinks were very nice. The Cyclone Tracy exhibit allows you to go into a sound booth and listen to a recording made on the night, it really is a eerie feeling. The thing that I learnt was that Cyclone Tracy was one of the smallest cyclones to hit Australia being only 50kms wide, but is now Australia’s most devastating categorised by loss of human life with just over 70 people killed. You have to hand it to the Territorians, they have rebuilt a beautiful city.
On the Thursday Evening instead of the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets this week Graham went to Cullen Bay to participate in a camera workshop put on by Canon. Canon Collective is a new initiative where people into Photography, can come and learn some new skills as well as play with some of the gear that the professionals use and more expensive equipment. Graham had a fantastic time meeting some new people and came back with a long list of expensive camera gear he wanted to buy. He better get a job to pay for some of the things he wants. As a spectator I had a lot of fun watching all these photographers lined up to take photos of the sunset.
Friday was a trip to Berry Springs, which we have heard so much about from the locals. It is a very popular place for a swim with all the locals and tourists. It has a beautiful park with a few walks and a large grass area perfect for a BBQ or a picnic. Unfortunately it was still closed on the day we went as it was likely there was still crocs in the area, we know now to check the websites before leaving.
After the disappointment of not being able to go for a swim, we went for a drive over to Darwin Dam, it is part of the water storage system for Darwin. It was built to help alleviate the water issues of the growing town. No swimming here as there are plenty of crocs. We headed for the other dam which was built during WWII as the first dam to ensure fresh water for the troops. Guess what, Graham washed and polished the car yesterday and I navigated him down a dirt road, he wasn’t a happy camper but he did it anyway. Well guess what the dam was closed, we couldn’t even get past the front gate. Back to Darwin to get ready for the Speedway tonight (with a rather dusty and dirty car)
On the way back to town, Graham stopped at the Sattler Airfield, it is just beside the Stuart Highway. There is some wonderful information on how the field was used and the role it had in Darwin during the war. The number of bombings as well as the staging post into Papua New Guinea. More to come as we look at WWII in Darwin next week of our adventures.
The speedway is part of the Hidden Valley Motorsport Complex, has fantastic facilities and is well patronised. With views of the entire track from the Terraces, the racing was fantastic across all the classes. At $15 per adult for 5 hours of entertainment, its really good value. Don’t forget to bring your picnic, its also BYO and there is plenty of good food there. Tip for those that don’t like to get dirty, sit back from the track or you will be covered dirt and dust Bunnings is a good place to visit or some safety glasses to keep it out of your eyes or the kids. Most kids also wore ear muffs for the louder races, which is a good idea.
Also just a taste of some of the sunsets that we saw in Darwin this week. Enjoy.