Did you know Darwin was bombed not just once or twice, but 64 times over nearly 2 years and the Japanese got as far south as Katherine? I am ASHAMED to say I never knew that. But more later.
We needed some civilisation again after overdosing on the beautiful Litchfield National Park. It was pretty hot when we got to Darwin, but we walked around the city to the waterfront which has been upgraded to include a safe beachfront and wave pool, inside the original Stokes Hill wharf.
The city also hosts an annual street art competition and as a result has many murals adding colour and life. The car in front of the kangaroo mural is actually a painted electricity box!
There is an election coming up. It will be interesting to watch whether the Monster Raving Loony Party makes it into the government building.
We were recommended to have fish and chips at La Beach at Cullen Bay as the sun sets one night, and so glad we did. While we missed the actual sunset that night by a few minutes, the meal was great and there was still plenty of colour in the sky. We went back to Cullen Bay the next day to see the marina and surrounds in daylight.
We also checked out the nightlife in the city and walked around the Darwin Festival grounds.
On the 75th anniversary of the end of WW2 in the Pacific, which was 15th August 1945, we went on the Bombing of Darwin tour which has been run by Garry for 13 years. He has so much knowledge about the events in the war and the people involved, as well as many stories, some true, that keep everyone entertained. We went to a house that had been built in 1939 and suffered minor damage in WW2 with some bullet holes in the original metal fence posts. I was wondering why they had restored the house but left the old fence there! It also survived Cyclone Tracy because it is near a cliff that controls wind updrafts away from the house.
We saw the gun from the USS Peary which was sunk on the morning of the first air raid, as it points out to where the ship lies in the harbour.
The Aviation Museum is worth a look too, with the only complete B-52 outside of the USA in the hangar. Later we went to the Royal Flying Doctor Service museum, where there is also a Bombing of Darwin virtual reality experience. No photos of the VR obviously, but along with the information about the RFDS, it is a couple of hours well spent.
We met up with our old friend Melissa, and she drove us out on Saturday to Casuarina Beach for a sunset walk, and into town for a fantastic Indian style dinner at Hanuman restaurant.
On Sunday we visited 3 great markets– the Rapid Creek produce markets, Nightcliff clothing markets, and of course touristy Mindil Beach markets for our final sunset. We couldn’t resist the paintings done by Melissa’s friend Michiko, the Traveling Artist, of the Corroboree Billabong, and booked ourselves into a tour so we can also see them in real life the next day (that will be in the next post).
We also made time to go out to Berry Springs to the warm pools, which we had skipped on our way into Darwin. So glad Melissa took us back there because it was so relaxing after the last few hot days. The Museum and Art Gallery will have to wait until next time! Kakadu here we come!