Monday - 12th July
Packed up early and set off for Darwin, stopped along the way at the Bark Hut Inn for lunch, an excellent pie, then continued on to the Lee Point CP. Terrific park with most sites having en-suites. Settled in and caught up with a few fellow travellers.
Tuesday - 13th July
Caught up on our shopping and washing, took a walk along the Lee Point beach in the Casuarina Coastal Reserve.
Wednesday -14th July
We dropped the cruiser off for a service early in the day and then walked into Darwin in the relative cool. Wandered round the Esplanade with some great views over the harbour then went into the town. Jude went on a shopping expedition while I updated the web site at the internet cafe in Knuckey Street, they let me plug my laptop directly into their broadband service, much much quicker than downloading by telephone line. Ordered a shade cloth screen for our awning. Spent the afternoon around the camp then enjoyed a feast of seafood at Cullen Bay. Lots of restaurants down there. Watched a beautiful sunset during our meal. Went off down to the sea locks to watch the evening cruise boats and yachts being raised into the marina. Tides are huge.
Thursday - 15th July
Toured the Darwin Art Gallery and Museum this morning, Cyclone Tracy exhibit was very chilling, such enormous devastation. Later we went to the Fanny Bay Gaol. The gallows exhibit was somewhat macabre, it can dispatch two at a time. Late lunch back at the CP then collected a few friends and made an early start to the Mindil Beach Market to ensure we had a good spot to set up our table and chairs. It was a great experience, huge crowds turned up to sample the food on sale, we walked round for ages trying to decide on what to have. I ended up having some freshly shucked oysters followed by a skewer of chilli prawns and some chilli squid, desert was a large helping of Greek vanilla slice. Everyone then moved onto the sand to watch the spectacular sunset. Weather is perfect.
Friday - 16th July
Moved our van to a site opposite our old one. It's much flatter and shadier. Bruce and I spent the afternoon at the Military Museum out at East Point. The museum is set up at the coastal gun emplacements and displays various military equipment used in World War II. The video about the bombing of Darwin is not to be missed. The actual 9.2inch naval cannons are missing and are replaced by mock-ups. The originals were sold to the Japanese for scrap in the 50's. Watched some the fighters taking part in the Pitch Black military exercises up here landing. The speck above the concrete gun emplacement is one of our F18s. Jude picked up the screen for the awning at Seat City in Stuart Park. They did an excellent job at a very good price. Itís such a great spot up here we have extended our stay from one week to two.
Saturday - 17th July
Weíre having guests for dinner tonight and Iím cooking curry. Going to try it with kangaroo. Did the cooking outside in the morning and had quite a few neighbouring campers looking for a feed. Went to the Parap Market for lunch, Darwin is full of street markets with great food. Had a very enjoyable and fun dinner, which our guests referred to as "Road Kill Curry", I then entertained them, and half the camp, with my total lack of ability to play the harmonica.
Sunday - 18th July
Tried washing some of the red dust off the cruiser today, got a lot off but not all, its tough stuff. Went to the Beer Can Regatta at Mindil Beach this afternoon, the day was perfect for it, hot and sunny. What a terrific event, it attracted a huge crowd. A number of open sided marquees had been set up on the beach and we grabbed a spot in the shade of one. There were a large number of entrants and most of the boats were really well made, with the Toyota entry even being lined with fibre glass. I thought that was a bit flash and that they should have been handicapped by having to tow a skier or some such. In the race, however, their rudder came adrift and they came a very wobbly 4th. Sadly the entry from Belleís Babes did not survive the rigours of racing, it may have been because it was a little too small to be carrying some of the babe's. I was keen to watch the Lady's Thong Throwing Competition but was disappointed to find out it was the footwear sort they were hurling. The Tug-Of-War competitions bought out the heavy brigade and there was no shortage of them. The Greensborough Wombats, from back home, won the Henley on Mindil race. The events culminated with the Battle of Mindil, which involved the surviving boats hurling water bombs, flour bombs, and in the case of the Thiess entry, using fire hoses to generally rain havoc on the opposing teams. The Mindil Markets were running for the events and we got some terrific food again, "barra and chips" for me. Another spectacular sunset and we headed off home.
Monday - 19th July
Quiet morning then Jude and I did some touring round the Darwin waterfront. Huge tides up here. Dinner was down on Stoke's Wharf where we had some terrific Barramundi and waited, in vain, for the moonrise over the water. Very popular spot.
Tuesday - 20th July
Up early and off with a group of other desperates for breakfast at the casino. Got a free $10 worth of chips, promptly lost it and a few $ of our own so shot through from there. Jude went off with the girls for some shopping, Bruce and I went off to do bloke things. Went down to the huge oil storage tunnels dug during the war but never actually used, then off out to the end of the runway at the airport to watch the fighters take off for the Pitch Black military exercise. Lots of great noise, Jude would have loved it. Next stop was the aircraft museum where they have a number of aircraft on display including a huge B52 bomber. Happy hour was at our place where among a great deal of conviviality I was called on to play the harmonica again. Hadnít improved much.
Wednesday - 21st July
Up earlyish again and we set off with Bruce and Elaine for the Territory Nature Park. What a great place, the "Birds of Prey" display was particularly impressive as was the aquarium and the nocturnal exhibits. We occasionally walked and often travelled by the little hop-on-hop-off train. On the way home we stopped for some pics of a huge tank being transported along the Stuart Hwy. Two prime movers pulled and a third pushed the trailer which had about 30 axles and 240 wheels, one of them with a flat tyre.
Thursday - 22nd July
Quiet morning round camp catching up on washing etc. during the afternoon we went down to the Didgeridoo Hut and acquired a nice instrument. I can play this about as well as the harmonica, but I'm practicing lots. Went down to the Trailer Boat Club on Fanny Bay for a few drinks with some other nomads followed by the usual beautiful sunset. Had dinner at the beachside hotel at Rapid Creek, reasonable fish and chips.
Friday - 23rd July
Up early to beat the heat for a morning at the Darwin Show, big crowd turned up there, some spectacular rides including this slingshot thing which you'd have to be mad to ride on.
Saturday -24th July
Spent the morning cooking curry to restock the freezer. Then went off to "Open Day" at the RAAF Base. They had all the aircraft taking part in the "Pitch Black" exercise on display. Spoke to a few of the pilots. Jude didn't go as it was a bloke thing. Went home and continued making curries into the afternoon. Had a picnic tea overlooking the beach at Casuarina with a mob from the caravan park. Watched another bloody sunset. Very enjoyable evening.
Sunday - 25th July
Bit hot and humid today, saw our first clouds for about 6 weeks. Did a bit of shopping, practised my Didgeridoo and started packing up for departure. Very convivial happy hour at Tony's and then at Chick's. Went to bed early.
This site was last updated 18-06-07