How many people get to live their dreams? I am..........!

This is my story from the time when Capt'n John and I first decided to sail around the big block, to circumnavigate this great land of ours, AUSTRALIA.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Visiting and Visitors in Darwin

18th – 28th November 2012
sunrise at the lock
Visitors to Darwin

The weekend of the 18th/19th MrJ and I stayed out at Graham and Fern’s. Graham and Fern with their son Raighne live on a small acreage out at Humpty Doo.
Humpty Doo is a small township approximately 40kms south of Darwin with a population of around 6,000.
Fern’s gardens have a unique flavour.

We had a visit from the Burdekin ducks, also known as the Radjah Shelduck, Burdekin ducks are found in coastal northern Australia. They mainly keep to brackish waters, mudbanks and mangrove-fringed mouths of tropical rivers. During the wet season they also visit inland freshwater swamps and lagoons. They begin to feed from late afternoon, and their diet includes molluscs, insects, algae and sedges. Eggs are laid in a nest that consists only of some self-supplied down feathers.

sunrise from the maria

 The following few days we spend our time at the marina on board ALANA ROSE catching up with much needed chores and tying to keep out of the heat. On one of those mornings MrJ and I did ride our fold up push bikes down to the shop at Tipperary. Another time a huge storm passed over dropping lightning bolts not too far away.

I was not game to go too far away from the boat for fear of getting zapped.

But the Wet Season has not really started as yet.

Monday 26th we took a little trip into town on the bikes and discovered some Christmas deco had been put up in the Smith St Mall; the mall is the very centre of the Darwin CBD and has undergone several facelifts as the city changed and modern retail shopping centres developed in the suburbs. Much of the mall was rebuilt during 2010 to provide a more usable and attractive pedestrian experience for visitors and shoppers. Older trees were replaced with smaller palms, providing a more open, cleaner pedestrian mall. Raintree Park provides an attractive inner city open space and is often used for community functions. The two massive trees and extended awnings provide a pleasant setting for local office workers and visitors to enjoy a lunch time break or relax in the shade.
In the middle of the mall is the Victoria Hotel, or The Vic as it is commonly known, it is a heritage listed pub built in 1890. The Vic Hotel is a popular tavern and nightclub. The hotel complex includes surrounding retails shops and offices accessed via Smith Street Mall and the Vic arcade. The Vic is popular with backpackers, and regularly hosts live bands.

Mary and Carly arrived from Sydney. They were staying in town as it is too hot to have anyone else stay on board without more aircons.

Wednesday 28th - I did the look around the Darwin CBD and some of the prominent building with Mary and Carly.
The Old Darwin Town Hall Ruins were built in 1883 during the Pine Creek gold rush. The building survived the bombing of Darwin by the Japanese during WWII, only to be destroyed by Cyclone Tracy 50 years later. All that is left standing is three walls with no roof. The building is Heritage listed. The Town Hall Ruins were left unused for many years until the bloody comedians rocked up. The Northern Territory was the last place in Australia that did not have a Comedy Venue. That was before May 16th 2009 when the Darwin Comedy Club was launched at the Town Hall Ruins and performing several times throughout the dry season and making this the most unique venue in the country. It made a great open-air theatrette as most of the old building still exists. It is said that the acoustics are brilliant.

Christ Church Anglican Cathedral was built in three months, of locally quarried red limestone in the rough town of Darwin, Northern Territories. The church was consecrated on 2 November 1902. During World War II the military took over the church as the Darwin Fortress and in February 1942 a Japanese air raid on Darwin caused damage by shrapnel. In 1974 cyclone Tracy destroyed all but the porch, which remains standing today in front of new construction. On 27 November 2011, Christ Church Cathedral, Darwin was filled to capacity with those who gathered for the blessing and re-dedication of the newly renovated and restored Cathedral.

Government House is an elegant, gabled, colonial-style building built in 1879, which survived both cyclones and bombs. The building is open to the public once a year and is the venue for formal government occasions and ceremonies.

Further along The Esplanade, on the corner of Smith Street, is the Old Police Station and Courthouse, also known as the Old Naval Headquarters because it was occupied by the Australian Navy during the Second World War. Rebuilt after suffering severe damage in the cyclone, they are now home to the offices for the Northern Territory administrator and staff.

Directly opposite these buildings is Survivors Lookout. It surveys the Wharf Precinct and Darwin Harbour to East Arm Port and the terminus of the Ghan, a historic train that originally terminated in Alice Springs but now runs across the continent from Adelaide. The lookout also marks a spot where World War II battles were witnessed by journalists and photographers

Parliament House is a large white rectangular building with one of the finest views of Darwin Harbour. Opened in 1994, this modern, imposing edifice also houses the Northern Territory Library and a cafe that opens out to an area of lawn, a large fountain and a great view.

Mary was very taken with the Darwin Hotel (used to be Kitty O'Shea's up until a few months ago) and we were forced to stop by there for a cold drink. ;o))

After a mid-day nana nap for the girls we all, including MrJ went down to Doctors Gully to experience the fish feeding frenzy.

Darwin’s Doctors Gully is known for Aquascene Fish Feeding and as the Darwin Catalina Flying Boat base. It was the site of Chinese market gardens and the first fresh water supply.

At high tide the water boils with hundreds of fish looking for a free feed, and the visitors are happy to oblige. This scene has become one of Darwin's best known tourist attractions and brings hundreds of people to the area at high tide when the fish come in. We were lucky to have a high tide in the late afternoon making the trip to the seaside a pleasure.

Carly playing four wise monkeys

This is also the site of a heritage listed area known as Peel's Well, a well which was gazetted on 19 April 1877 and provided water for the first gardens in the settlement and visiting ships.
Named after Doctor Robert Peel, the medical officer attached to Goyder’s survey party in 1869, the area became known by the colloquial name 'Doctor's Gully'.

one of the many sculpures at Aquascene

Most of the early gardeners were Chinese, with the first formal lease issued on 30 March 1875 to three Chinese settlers. During Wold War 11 this was an important base for Catalina Flying Boats. Some remains of wartime equipment can be still seen at low tide.
enjoy the sunset the Bicentennial Park

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