Top End Expedition Part 6

Arriving in the cosmopolitan city of the north, Darwin, population around 150,000 and often referred to as the gateway to south east Asia we headed straight to our accommodation for the next week. Even though we love our tent and camping it was a welcome change to be out of the tent for a stint, to have a nice refreshing shower and be in air conditioning for us southerners. We did however have a jam packed itinerary for the next week along with a service planned for the cruiser. After checking what the city had to offer including the famous “wave pool” and Stokes Hill Wharf with its restaurants it was off for a Fish and Chips sunset cruise. This is a perfect way to see the city from the water and with the magical sunsets that Darwin has to offer it is one not to be missed. A feed of fish and chips on-board the boat is a highlight.

sunset tour
Our view of the Young Endeavour and another beautiful Darwin Sunset on the fish and chip cruise.

There are many other attractions on offer in and around Darwin with the only difficulty being which ones to do and which ones to miss out on. We decided on visiting several of the museums around town including the newly opened RFDS Darwin Tourist Facility with some unique attractions and experiences,

darwin rfds museum
Exploring the RFDS Darwin Tourist Facility on Stokes Hill Wharf.

the Defence of Darwin at the Darwin Military Museum gives an insight into the parts that Darwin played during WWII (an extremely valuable and worthwhile visit)

darwin war museum
The Darwin Military Museum


with nearby East point Reserve home to more reminders of Darwin’s wartime history

darwin war mueum
Exploring East Point Reserve is a must

and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory with its confronting Cyclone Tracy exhibit is a sobering experience but well worth a visit.darwin museum 2darwin museum

We also took some time out to explore the Botanic Gardens and have a pleasant cuppa at the cafe. A nice way to unwind.darwin botanic 2darwin botanic

Whilst in Darwin we had pre-planned and pre-booked a day trip to the Tiwi Islands, a 2.5 hour ferry trip from Darwin.

tiwi ferry
The ferry landing on the beach at Bathurst Island

There are several tours available to take in Bathurst Island and booking through Sealink Northern Territory we opted for the  Tiwi Day Tour. Alighting onto the beach from the ferry we were met by our bus driver and guide then whisked off to explore some of the islands arts and crafts centres,

tiwi printing
Tiwi Island sceen printing

museum and unique church

tiwi museum
The intriguing museum on Bathurst Island
tiwi inside church
The beautiful interior of the historic St Theresa’s Church, Ngulu
tiwi church
Bathurst Islands historic St Theresa’s Church, Ngulu

along with experiencing a smoking ceremony by the local Tiwis and learning some of their rich history and traditions.

tiwi ceremony
An entertaining demonstration of a traditional smoking ceremony performed by our local tour guides was a highlight

Although so close to the mainland it was interesting to hear of the differences in tradition to the mainland indigenous population over time. This was a highlight of our trip to Darwin and yet another experience not to be missed.

Back in Darwin we took a self guided tour of the WWII Tunnels under the city and learnt of yet another key role Darwin Played during the war.

darwin wwii tunnels
The impressive WWII Oil Storage Tunnels under Darwin

We were told of one of the best places to view the amazing sunsets the city has to offer was at Nightcliff Jetty and we certainly were not disappointed, although the crowd that joined us had the same idea. nighcliff jetty darwinOf course a trip to Darwin would not be complete without a visit to the famous Mindil Beach Night Markets and being able to eat fresh cooked food from the markets whilst watching another amazing sunset from the beach. Simply stunning.

mindi beach markets
Taking in the famous Mindil Beach Markets

charles darwin np 2

charles darwin np
On the outskirts of Darwin lies Charles Darwin National Park with its WWII reminders and exhibits as well as views back to the city and harbour

All too soon our time in Darwin had come to an end. It was now time to climb back in the cruiser and point the bonnet south for the next leg of this amazing adventure as we take the long way home. With lots more to discover along the way climb onboard with us as we hit the ever impressive Litchfield National Park, have a quick return to the city for a night and eventually find some solitude away from the crowds.

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