After nearly missing my flight from Cairns. well kind of nearly. I was at the airport waiting in the lounge area on my laptop, listening to the announcements. However, the first lot of information told me certain seats, which I wasn’t siting in but then suddenly I heard my name over the tannoy. Rushing to my feet and panickly grabbing my stuff, I hurried to the gate and found my seat on the plane. Worry over!
When I landed in Darwin, it was early evening so I hopped on an airport transfer, which was overpriced but I had no choice unless I got a taxi with others then the cost would have been kept down a little. In my hostel, I checked in then had a relaxed evening, watching a movie and eating snacks. It was exactly what I needed after a week of partying in Cairns.
Due to flight prices, I didn’t have too long here so I wanted to make the most of it and pack in my days. However, actually, there wasn’t that much to do in Darwin as it’s pretty remote and the town centre was small, which I was surprised about because it is one of the main cities in Australia.
The next day, I woke up early, had breakfast and departed from the hostel. First point of call was to book a day trip for the following day to Kakadu National Park, which I got told by many travellers to visit as a must do thing to do in the Northern Territory.Once that was sorted, I wandered around the town. With high temperatures and high humidity, I had to stop regularly, topping up myself with water. I wandered along the edge of the cliffs through Bicentennial park overlooking the sea but the view was nothing special and the beach was dirty. However, I did come across different species of unusual birds (well… unusual for me), peaking at grass with their long, thin beaks.
After walking several kilometres, I took a rest by the harbour with a man-made beach with water from the sea and a wave pool, soaking up some sun and swimming in the cool ocean water. Then I carried on walking through the town centre to Charles Darwin Botanical garden and Mindil beach. It was a lovely stroll through a golf course but neither were spectular. On the beach, I paddled in water and laid on the beach until the 4pm market started, which mostly had different types of food and some souvenir sort of stalls.
In the evening, I went back to the hostel, cooked some dinner then hung out with some people, where there was a birthday celebration with loads of people dressed up in 90s clothing and singing their hearts out to the tunes. I decided not to stay out too late as I had to get up around 5am for my day long tour.
When I booked the tour, the travel agents explained that i’s best to visit Kakadu National Park for a few day but I didn’t have the time so a one day excursion had to do. I wasn’t sure who would be on the bus but when I arrived at the pick-up place I was greeted by many older Australians, which was lovely to spend a day with non-young world travellers.
We journeyed into the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park, where we were surrounded by vast tracks of savannah woodland, bordered by the largest wetland system in Australia for several hours. On the way, we stopped at an unusual, lonesome cafe with bulls and an emu, where the coffee was terrible. We passed through South Alligator River. Our driver was an interesting one: he would be talking the whole time about pointless things, making each object sound interesting. For instance, he would talk about electricity pylons, road names, no weeds growing. It did make me chuckle but to be honest I just wanted to sleep in peace.
Soon we arrived at Kakadu’s premier art site, Ubirr, where we walked into numerous galleries of rock art and shelters, which were used as recently as 40 years ago by the traditional people of Kakadu. The hundreds of paintings and views across the floodplains and sandstone country into Arnhem Land were breathtaking. We climbed up one of the rocks to observe the incredible view, where you could just see beauty for miles and miles.
At lunch, we went to a crocodile hotel, which was in the shape of a crocodile. They gave us an all-you-can-eat lunch of different salads, which I was disappointed in especially with the price I paid. While chatting to some of the others I found out more about Australian politics and school from the locals. After we visited the park’s headquarters, Bowali, where we explored the numerous interactive displays, research library, art gallery and gift shop, sharing information about the aboriginals and the National Park. I felt like I didn’t quite have long enough here but we soon had to be taken to the next area, which was a couple of hours away.
We joined a cruise on a wetland system that houses the world’s highest concentration of crocodiles, where we cruised east to west through the Mary River Wetlands. The abundance of food which sustains the large crocodile population also feeds a myriad of bird species, wallabies and water buffalo. It was interesting to experience the aquatic and land-based food chain found throughout the billabong system.We managed to see about two crocodiles on the river bank but knowing that they could potentially under the boat was a little scary.
We finished our cruise parked amongst a stand of sacred lotus lilies with a glass of sparkling wine and a fresh tropical fruit platter, which complemented the majestic surrounds of these internationally significant wetlands. It was just so peaceful and bliss.
From here, we drove back to Darwin, where we arrived early evening, where I grabbed some dinner before going back to the hostel.
In my hostel room, there were several new girls, all from England. We decided to go out so we got ready, purchased some drink then headed into a guy’s room, they had met. It was slightly weird as there were hand drawn picture of naked girls over the floor. However, we soon dismissed this and played some drinking games before heading on the balcony to join other travellers. As majority of people had gone out the night before, they had a quiet one but a few of us girls went to a bar a few doors down, where we just dance the night away before going to bed.
The following day, I woke at check out time, where I was able to give back my key but still have access to my room to pack up. Once I was ready, I chilled by the pool with one of the girls. Mid afternoon, a mini van picked me up and took me to the airport.
Darwin, it’s been lovely seeing what you have to offer and showing me the Kakadu National Park. Now on to the Western Australia.