Well, Week 2 has started out well. We haven’t been to sleep yet. The house across the road at the back of the caravan park obviously has a lot to celebrate as their party started about 10.00 pm Friday night and is still going….beat box, drums and all…as loud as you could imagine. I’m surprised someone hasn’t called someone to come and tell them to quieten down or shut down. During the week the music starts up at 4.30 pm after they come home from work but doesn’t go too long. We certainly hope this all nighter is not a regular occurrence or we might have to move on.
Some interesting facts (for those contemplating a similar trip)
(pink line = completed, green line = to do. Haven’t planned from Broome home yet)
23/04/2018 - 31/05/2018 (6 weeks)
Total kms= Bendigo to Darwin = 4611 km plus running around = 6770 km all together
Coffee=$41.00 (we have our own machine as well and prefer our own)
Entry to Tourist Attractions=$460.65
Wine $111.50 (4 bottles bought at Devils Marbles…the rest happy hours at parks)
Washing Machines=$48 (most are $4 a wash)
Miscellaneous(chemist, clothes, new kettle, cylinder for soda stream etc) $212.05
Total for 6 weeks =$5173.53. Average $862.25 per week.
Our budget was $1000 a week so we are doing ok.
Darwin has lots of Markets.
We have been to the most popular, Mindil market. It’s on every Thursday and Sunday night. We went last Sunday and will be going again when we meet up with Jan and Rae and Skylar(if she comes to her school conference)
Then there’s Palmerston Market….Friday 4 -9pm. Lots of Asian Food stalls and fresh veggies
Today, Saturday we are going to the Parap Market….8am – 2.00pm. Hopefully we will get some sleep before then. Marg’s just told me the music has stopped..(4.45am) but I can still hear the boom, boom, boom in my head.
Parap market opens at 8.00 am. An amazing range of craft, homemade speciality goods and of course food. This is our third market in a week and we are starting to see the same stall holders at each venue. They must be exhausted going from one market to the next and ensuring they have enough product for each market. Not sure how you keep up with it all Jan.
And then there’s Nightcliff Market. Haven’t been there….yet.
Saturday night the moon looked pretty amazing as it jostled for position in front of the clouds. It looked very stormy but there wasn’t a rain drop in sight and it was still high 20’s. Looked interesting compared to all the sunsets and sunrises we have seen lately.
The Museum and Art Gallery was on our plans today. After a quick drive to East point to look where the Darwin Museum is we stopped along the beach area at Fannie Bay and had a cuppa. We spotted a novel idea. Grab a coffee from the pop up van then sit in bean bags near the water’s edge and generally chill out. Looked very comfy.
The Museum and Art Gallery has a very impressive exhibition of indigenous art. Rachel, you would love the cultural and scientific collections. The current exhibition is of Francj Gohier…a thousand miles from everywhere. His bio states that this exhibition brings together for the first time his major themes of work from the global influence of pop art and capitalism through to the bombing of Darwin in WW2 and the city itself.
Of course the star attraction is SweetHeart… the largest crocodile caught in Darwin waters.
Another interesting fact we realised is that there is a reason why so many cars are left on the highways. We thought they were either just abandoned or left as a reminder for the general population to drive safely. And provide spare parts for looters. Another reason is that many are second hand cars….the locals…including indigenous, buy cheap second hand cars then drive them until they stop. Because of the long distances between towns and the fact that repairs are expensive cars are abandoned as it is cheaper to just go and buy another cheap second hand car. Makes sense but what a blot on the landscape.
Home for another swim. The pool at the park is getting a lot of use.
Our new travel friends, Marlene and Colin leave tomorrow for Kakadu, then Broome. It is unlikely that we will catch up with them again as they will be moving a bit quicker than us as they have to be back at work in Geelong by Mid August. We farewelled them at the Howard Springs Tavern, along with 2 other couples from Geelong. I expect we will connect again when we visit Geelong (which we do often) or they come to Bendigo.
Gluten free Chicken Neptune
Monday June 4th, 2018
The last 2 days have been full of memories for the Blakes’ as we think back over the years. Yesterday (June 3rd) was 48 years since our Dad passed (1970) at the age of nearly 51. Today, (June 4th) it has been 21 years since our Mum passed in 1997, age 71. It was nice to hear from my brothers and sisters as we remember those days. Considering that we are scattered across Australia at the moment. John and Faye are in Cairns but currently staying for a few days in CookTown; Barry and Carol are at home in Beaufort, I think; We are in Darwin on our way to Broome, eventually and home Mid-Sept; Sue and Brian are on their way home after a 3 mth trip to the West, not sure where they are at the moment but should be across the Nullabor near Ceduna; Phillip and Mandy are in Oaklands, NSW; Jenny and Malcolm are in Goroke; and Margie and John have just travelled 10 days/70 hours travel/5,339kms from Kalgoorlie to Maryorough QLD. They are taking up a 4 month position on Fraser Island looking after a couple of BNB’s. WhatsApp has been amazing as we keep in touch on a regular basis. Distance is not a barrier to keeping in touch.
The Darwin Military Museum is at East Point and is an amazing facility that provides an in depth look at not only WW2 but WW1 with displays of Australia’s involvement in all conflicts. The main feature is The Defence of Darwin Experience where you learn about Darwin’s role inWW2 and it gives you an opportunity to understand the impact of the war on Darwin and its inhabitants. Every 20 minutes they run the Bombing of Darwin experience theatre where you get to feel what it was like on 19th Feb 1942. Outside the main building you can get lost in the many sheds full of war memorabilia as well as static displays of many vehicles, weapons and wreckage salvaged from the war times.
Did you know:
188 aircraft attacked Darwin at 9.58am on 19th February 1942; 54 aircraft attacked in a second raid at 11.45am.
The Northern Territory was raided 64 times, and the top end of Australia over 107 times.
235 people were killed in the first two raids on the first day. The memorial war lists 1672 people who lost their lives in WW2 operations across Northern Australia,
Darwin was attacked by submarines in the month before the aircraft carrier attacks.
One 80 man submarine ….the I -124..still lies outside Darwin Harbour today.
In the afternoon we had a visit from Di, Laura’s mum. She is doing a 5 week teaching stint at the Darwin Steiner School. She is living in McMinns Lagoon which is only 10-15 minutes from Howard Springs. It was nice to catch up and we hope to be able to get together sometime next weekend. She has been to Darwin a few times so knows the place pretty well.
Tuesday 5th June, 2018.
Great plans today to cycle around Charles Darwin National Park. Unfortunately the park tracks are only suited to Mountain Bikes and didn’t suit our little fold ups. There were great views of the city from a lookout. The park was home to at least 11 bunkers that used to house ammunitions during the war. One was open for inspection and was quite interesting. The area was commonly called the “bomb dump”
The maps below show the extent of the Japanese determination to succeed in their war efforts. Their push forward into foreign soils was extensive and quick.
I found the following explanation of how cultural differences can cause bitter battles very interesting. Has anything changed since WW2? It also explains the Japanese determination to win at all costs.
The Darwin Botanical Gardens were more suited to riding around and we covered most garden areas. It was a shame to see the devastation of the cyclone a few months ago. There was still a lot of cleaning up taking place and it will take a long time before the gardens are restored to what they were before the cyclone.
Has anyone ever taken the opportunity to go and see THE GHAN come into station? Just for something different to do we decided to do a bit of train spotting. Luckily we arrived at Darwin Railway Station 30 minutes early as we got there just as the Ghan was coming in. (note..Darwin Railway station is at least 20km out of the city centre. Only railway station I know that’s not in the hub of the CBD) Marg and I couldn’t believe the length of the train. At least 38 carriages plus other for freight/engines etc.
I stood in the middle and took a photo to the left and then a photo to the right. There were carriages as far as you could see. Unreal. The Ghan looked very majestic as it slowly rolled in to a stop. Poor passengers who had to walk miles to get to their bags and transfers to their CBD hotels.
Wednesday 6th June, 2018
Parliament House. Our 10.30am, 2 hour free tour of Parliament House was very informative. Our guide, Leanne was excellent and one of the best tour guides we have had. Her passion for her job and was obvious as she took great care in telling us about Territorial Government as well as share her knowledge of the effects of the bombing of Darwin and Cyclone Tracey. The new Parliament house was built on the site of the bombing of the Post Office in 1942 where 10 employees were killed.
Destruction caused by the cyclone earlier in the year is Obvious
Japanese attack on Darwin Harbour. A painting by Keith Swain hangs in the Parliament House Library
It is the artist’s rendering and interpretation of the Japanese air raid on Darwin on 19th February, 1942. Japanese air craft fly overhead while the focus of the painting is The Royal Australian Navy corvette, HMAS Katoomba, in dry dock, fighting off the aerial attack.
After a quick look at the Mall we arranged to meet my second cousin at the Trailer Boat Club for lunch. I went to school with Susan at Lake Bolac High School from Yr 7-12. I hadn’t seen her since 1968. She moved to Darwin in 1970 after joining the Defence Services and now lives at Humpty Doo, on the way to Kakadu. Previously we sent photos of ourselves to each other so we would have some idea who to look for. It was great to catch up with her and especially her daughter Sophie and her 1 year old twins, Emma and Zack.
Another bike ride on Thursday, this time we decided to ride from East Point, Military Museum to the Museum and Arts Gallery near Cullen Bay…about 10 return. An easy ride as the bike track was paved and very well maintained, with very few hills. The ride through East Point was interesting as it gives you the opportunity to stop and read all the info about points of interest of buildings that are either intact or ruins from the WW2 that are scattered throughout the Point.
Match the photo to the name. Gun observation Point; Artillery Store; Submarine Net Buoy; Underground ammunition store; Gun observation point ;submarine net anchor point; 6 inch gun mount; explosive store.
It was amazing what our servicemen achieved in creating another world underground considering they had very little equipment other than buckets and spades to dig with.
Sending Week 2 at Darwin a little early as Sat/Sun is going to be chill out days. Regards and best wishes to all.