Our time in Darwin was 11 nights all up and it seemed to go very quick. We spent time around town walking the waterfront, exploring some of the fishing wharves and some trips out to East Point and other areas of interest. The museum was really good with different displays and – of course – Sweetheart, the iconic crocodile – what a beast.
Two days after we arrived, we welcomed six more family members to Darwin – all the way from Sydney and Coffs Harbour – 6-month old Darcy being Mr Popular, closely followed by Edi. It was a great, fun surprise with Amy not knowing everyone was coming – all the way to the Top End! – to help celebrate her birthday.
To make it even better, they had an apartment just around the corner with a great pool that everyone had a good time in. We had a nice birthday party to bring in a new decade for the birthday girl.
While here in Darwin, one destination we had always pencilled in was Litchfield national park – a good day trip from the city. We got going early – in the car at 7am anyway which was impressive after a bit of a party the night before. First stop was the magnetic termite mounds which you can see all over the place really but this is a good group of them and some good information signs to explain it all.
Soon after we were at Florence Falls where we had a great swim and had a snorkel around to see all the different fish in the clear water. The walk is steep up the steps but we knew we’d be swimming more during the day so it was all good.
Next stop was the Buley Rockholes which are awesome to see and also very nice to swim in. The rockholes are joined by small cascades and waterfalls and there’s enough different swimming holes and room in each to cater for the busy tourist numbers – it was pretty full before we rocked up with 7 adults and four kids!
We had lunch here with the remnants of a hazard reduction burn still smouldering and smoking around the picnic area. We walked to the two lookouts at Tolmer Falls – pretty spectacular views and the archway and caves would be great to get near if they were accessible.
Onto Wangi Falls and we took some photos but there was no swimming with a strong current pushing through and the risk of saltwater crocs sneaking their way in too high.
We decided to do the loop road back through Berry Springs digging up some dust on the dirt road to make the accompanying hire car look like a real off-road adventure vehicle instead of a soft-roader. Through the bushfires, dry creek beds and bulldust we pushed through. As we pulled up next to each other at the first traffic lights back into Darwin – it was a much better look – the glossy black tyres were a brownish-red and the rear window was caked with thick dust and a light dusting of northern territory bushfire ash.
Down at the Darwin waterfront a wave pool has been built to mimic being at the beach. We spent a good few hours having a play – Josh pushed the boys onto the waves on boogie boards and there some good rides had. Every 15 or 20 minutes the pool went calm and then a new wave pattern would start. Not exactly Diggers Beach but it was some unique fun in the middle of a capital city CBD!
On Sunday Josh and Amy headed out on the harbour for a sunset cruise on a great 50foot luxury catamaran. What a great time. There were probably 20 people spread out across the decks and the food – a 9-course tapas menu no less…- was superb. And the champagne flowed non-stop – it was hard to finish a glass before someone was topping it up again. And a beautiful sunset and calm evening out on the water – once we turned the motor off and hoisted the sail it was so tranquil. Thanks to Nanna for looking after the boys while we had a great time!
The other definite highlight was the Mindil Beach markets. Great music, awesome sunset on the beach with a few beers, and such a range of food to taste – crocodile spring rolls, wood fired pizzas, Vietnamese rolls, and fried potato springs, pancakes and ice creams for the kids.
We made the most of the local food with the mud crab and wild-caught barramundi standouts. Another great sunset was at the skycity casino with a seafood buffet and a bottle of wine to make it even better.
Just before Jess and Nath headed for the airport we caught up with them at the Dinah Beach Yacht Club just near us for a few farewell beers – topped off with the most amazing full moon rising over the water.
Our last night we parked ourselves in a caravan park not too far from the airport so Nanna Fleur could spend the day with us before easily being dropped at the airport. As Amy drove Fleur and Cammy away Lach looked in shock with his teary eyes – he knew it was going to be a while before he saw Nanna again.