Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I suppose I better have a blog about the rest of Darwin. If you have a change, read about the Japanese raid on Darwin in WWII and also Cyclone Tracy at Christmas 1974. This excellent video will give you a sense of the devastation that occurred in the cyclone.

Darwin has been rebuilt of course and unless you knew the history, it looks like yet another modern town. This is the Transit  Center where all the buses leave from.

 A huge number of backpackers come to Darwin and there are lots of backpacker hotels / motels / dorms. I stayed at one about 10 minutes walk from the transit center. It was about $70 per night and I got a room to myself. Normal hotel / motel accommodation will run at least twice that amount.

Tours to Kakadu and Litchfield can be quite expensive as well. After sitting on a plane for over a day, I felt I needed exercise rather than sitting in a bus all day. I spoke to a bloke on the train the next day who went to Kakadu and he said that he got up before dawn the day before to catch the bus to Kakadu and the journey out and back was 600 kilometers (400 miles).

Shades of Alsace.

After walking along the Esplanade, I came to the wharf area which has a bunch of modern buildings surrounding this little inlet where you can swim.

 The net is supposed to keep out the sharks, crocs and the box jelly fish. They warn you to keep a lookout for them and they mean it. Swimming in the sea or rivers in the Northern Territory can be a very dangerous affair.

 Numerous cafes were set up in front of the tall buildings that surrounded this beachy area. Although it was still early, it was so hot and humid I stopped at one and had a lime milkshake.

Darwin has a new Conference Centre that looks very spiffy. I wandered inside to take a look and found that there was a conference going on. I took one look at the breakout conference rooms and though I enjoyed going to conferences during my working career, the thought of sitting in one of those rooms on those standard conference chairs filled me with utter dread. I escaped immediately.

 There is also some sort of swimming pool area but I seem to remember reading somewhere that it was expensive to use it. It looked good however.

 Click on the picture to read the sign at the lower right. This is Australia.

 The wharf.

 No doubt this is where all the tour boats leave to go out to sea.

 I was watching this young bloke building up the courage to dive into the water. There are signs warning people not to do it because there are rocks in the area but his mate in the water kept encouraging him. Eventually he leapt in but he didn't look too thrilled when he surfaced.

This photo is for Marianne's friend who realized that her sons were hoons.

A bridge that leads from one of the tall buildings at the beach to the town proper. It's about five stories up.

 This looks like a wonderful old building, which it is. Except it was virtually destroyed in Cyclone Tracy and was recently rebuilt. The stone buildings were no match for the strong winds.

 I don't know why, but the windows all have mirrored surfaces so you can't look inside.

Stuff grows easily here and though flowers do not abound as they do in the villages and towns of Alsace, there are still plenty of them planted everywhere. Of course, virtually all plants and flowers in public places are native to Australia since only they will survive the climate extremes.

 The gaol out the back of the Courthouse.

 The local Church of England. The old building was destroyed in the cyclone and only the entrance facade remains.

 I forgot to record his name, but most of these old stone buildings in Darwin were designed by one man. 

 The remains of the old Town Hall. On the plane to Brisbane, I sat next to a woman from Darwin who survived the cyclone. Her house was destroyed of course and she said that one moment the roof was there and the next it was completely gone. No gradual tearing off.

 A 'duck' designed to go on land and water. There were quite a number of tourists on board. Darwin is very much a tourist town and the prices they charge for the tours can be quite high. If you plan to visit Darwin, bring plenty of money.

 Like most Australian towns and cities, the main shopping area has been converted into a mall, It really is a great idea since it discourages the developers from building a mall a few hundred yards away from the downtown area. Once this happens, the downtown area dies.

 This film projector is at the entrance to what is now an arcade. Until Tracy, it was a picture theater.

 Notice the two poles. They are all that really remain of the theater and you can see them in the photo below of the original theater. The theater was apparently half open to the sky.

 If you click on the photo, you can see the bloke in the lower front right who brought his rifle in and has his hat perched on it.

 The mall area seemed to be doing quite well with very few empty shops. The strong Aussie Dollar and the high costs of touring Australia have really put a damper on the number of tourists however. The Aussie $ is way overvalued.

These sail shades are very popular in Australia.

 This shop was a curiosity since it looked very old fashioned inside. This is what shops look like in most country towns in Oz. Very plain.

An of course, they had a Galleria with fancy chain shops inside that you will find in all the big cities in Australia.

So in conclusion, for me Darwin is a 'oncer' as my mother would have said. You go there once, you are glad you saw it, but you don't need to go back again. It's just too hot and humid for me.

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