Around Australia Week 24 – Darwin and a Visit Back Home

We’re into Darwin at last! If, like us, you’re a traveller doing the Big Loop, Darwin is a bit of a milestone. Situated right ‘up there’ at the top of Australia, it’s closer to Indonesia than Sydney… and for us, it’s also the home of one of our family: Rob’s sister Kath.

Kath and her three young sons actually experienced Cyclone Tracey, so Rob was particularly interested in the ‘Tracey’ exhibition at the museum. It’s one thing to hear about it; it’s quite another to be driven around the city by someone who lived through it, while you hear about her exact experiences on that night. Much of Darwin has been rebuilt, of course, so it was interesting to see some of the original buildings that actually survived!

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We didn’t really have much time to check out Darwin when we arrived, because we flew back home for the weekend. Thanks to some federal funding, the old Surf Club building was gutted and added to so now Shellharbour’s thriving Surf Life Saving Club has premises large enough to fit in all the equipment… and all those keen surf club members! After spending months in shorts and tee-shirts, Rob looked like a stranger all dressed up in long trousers and his Life Member blazer…

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It’s always good to catch up with friends and family, and quite a lot of long-term caravanners (whether it’s because a caravan is now their home or because they’re exploring Australia) opt to fly back home at least a couple of times a year. (Some call it their ‘granny fix’!) As it happened, the day we flew back home was Rob’s birthday, so we had quite a social whirl.. the Surf Club opening (politicians and all) and then the obligatory cake-with-candles so all the grandchildren could gather round, wish Grandpa happy birthday, then take turns blowing out the candles (otherwise known as ‘spitting all over the cake’! LOL)

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Actually, my birthday falls one month after Rob’s, so the kids decided that the perfect present would be a sunset cruise around Darwin when we returned. They organised it all via internet and phone calls, and surprised us with it when we arrived home.

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This was the third sunset cruise we’d been on while on this trip (the others were at Airlie, and Katherine Gorge) and they’ve all been quite different! We didn’t realise until we climbed on board the Darwin sunset cruise that we actually had to enter a lock to equalise the water levels before we could embark on the cruise proper…. An interesting experience when you’ve never been in a lock before. Then we finished off the evening with a meal at one of the waterfront cafes. Bliss. Gotta love being spoiled…!


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