We’re in our last stop in Australia before we head off to India. Darwin is the capitol of the Northern Territory, but it’s only a city of about 50,000 people and it has a very different feel from most of the other Australian cities that we’ve visited. First of all it tropical – by that I mean it’s both HOT and HUMID – the day we flew in it was 91 degrees, but with the humidity factored in it felt like 106. Sadly, this is a normal day in Darwin. Secondly, there are actually Aboriginal people in town. For whatever reason, they don’t avoid Darwin like they do the other capitol cities we’ve been too.
So, given Darwin’s location on the ocean and it’s extreme temperatures, we would be headed for the beach – wrong. No one is here at the Top End. One reason: Salt Water Crocodiles that can swim in the ocean, crap! Want another reason? Box Jellyfish – they can kill humans with a single sting. Double crap!
So what is there to do in Darwin? Well honestly, we weren’t expecting too much, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised. We’re here in “The Wet” (Their wet season runs most of the summer down here) and many things are closed for the season. But as I said before there’s an Aboriginal presence here and there are several art galleries in town that feature Aboriginal artists. There’s a free (and air conditioned) museum with a terrific exhibits on how people and nature have tried to destroy the city. It was bombarded by the Japanese in World War II, and it was almost completely wiped off the map after Cyclone Tracy hit it on Christmas Eve 1974 (The parallels with Hurricane Katrina are eerie). And there’s a casino with a million dollar pool – they spent a million dollars on the pool, it’s a VERY nice pool.
And that’s just stuff to do IN town. There are a number of national parks near the city that offer up close and person views of Salt Water Crocs and other wildlife. And of course Darwin is a main jumping off point for Uluru (Ayers Rock). Not too shabby, now if the city could just avoid being destroyed again.