Week 17 | Adelaide River to Darwin

Day 113: Adelaide River to Darwin

After a slow start to the morning we head off to Darwin, only 112km away and check into the Robbie Robins Reserve.  As we turn into the street I notice the Don Dale Detention Centre on the left hand side of the road.  It’s a Detention Centre for male and female juvenile deliquents.  There are 4 gates into the reserve & we are met by Sonja at gate 3.  There is a small office and Sonja explains that the reserve is an Equestrian Centre and the speed limit is 5km and you must give way to horses.

It’s a lovely big lush green grassy area and caravans are all along the back fence.  There are both powered and unpowered sites and at $37 a night for power and water it’s about as cheap as you will find in Darwin.  The washing machines are free of charge which is an added bonus.  There are no frills here, no swimming pool, camp kitchen or playgrounds for children.  It’s perfect for us under the big shady trees.

Wildlife:  Hawks, cattle, eagles

Day 114-119: Darwin

There are a lot of things to do this week while in Darwin.  Cinta is due her annual vaccinations so we’ll need to find a vet.  The car is due for it’s 30,000km service and is booked into Ford, unfortunately they couldn’t give us a loan car for the day so that means we’ll be stuck at home when that happens.  We need to find somewhere to buy some new wheel chocks for the caravan as the two we have, have cracked and split when we’ve used them on gravel surfaces.  The wire support to the outdoor table on the side of the caravan has broken, so Andrew will have to come up with a solution to that.

The wind is blowing an absolute gale today and overhead there is an impressive array of aircraft flying around.   I’ve checked with my favourite internet source Google and Exercise Diamond Storm 2019 is currently taking place between Darwin and Tindal up to 29th May.  It’s an Air Warfare Instructor Course and involves military personnel from the United States and Australia.

Some of the aircraft involved from the States are: F-15C Eagle and B-52 Stratofortress Bomber; and the US Marine Corp MV-22 Osprey and AH-1Z Viper.  RAAF aircraft participating in the exercise include the F/A-18A/B Hornet, F/A-18F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, Hawk 127, AP-3C Orion, P-8A Poseidon, C-17A Globemaster, KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport, E-7A Wedgetail and C-130J Hercules. It’s going to be a very noisy week!

We are fortunate to have good friends Daryl and Jenny Caesar who have been living in Darwin for quite a few years now and they are picking us up to take us down to the Stokes Hill Wharf for a sunset dinner.  It’s so beautiful sitting on the wharf in the cool breeze watching all the boats sailing in the harbour and the seagulls flying about.  There are so many choices for dinner at the wharf and of course seafood and Thai is on my hit list.

A ‘must do’ in Darwin is the Mindil Beach Market and Daryl and Jenny are keen to take us down to experience it.  Everyone knows how much we love our food and we are in foodie heaven.  There is every nationality you can think of at the market.  I love that you can take a deck chair and your drinks and just find a patch of grass and enjoy the evening.  I decide to try something totally different that I have never had before. Okonomiyaki is a Japanese pancake based on cabbage and vegetables and it is delicious!  Apparently the sunsets are amazing at Mindil Beach, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be the night we were there…

Jenny recommends that we visit the Royal Flying Doctor Tourist Facility at Stokes Hill Wharf.  It is another ‘must do’ in our books.  They also offer discounts on admission for Seniors, it’s $22 each.  The facility has two iconic Territory stories in the one location.  The story of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Bombing of Darwin Harbour.
There are two 20 minute movies to watch; the life size hologram of John Flynn the Founder of the Flying Doctor Service tells his story of the birth and growth of the RFDS and the life size hologram of Rear Admiral Etheridge Grant who was the Commanding Officer of the USS William B Preston narrates his own version of the Bombing of Darwin Harbour.  The movies are well narrated and very informative.
Modern technology through Virtual Reality transports you back to Darwin Harbour of 1942.  You are at the original Stokes Hill Wharf, standing on the deck of the Neptuna as it is bombed to the point of it exploding and sinking as well as sitting on the wing of an American Kitty Hawk, engaging in a dogfight with the Japanese Zero’s.  The staff tell you to swivel on your chair and move your head up and down and around to experience the full reality of the movie. It’s an incredible experience and at times I felt a little motion sickness and had to close my eyes before refocusing.

Botanical Gardens are a favourite of ours to wander around and enjoy the sheer beauty of nature’s flora.  The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens are situated on 42 hectares and are over 130 years old, surviving World War II and Cyclone Tracy.  There is a lovely plant house with tropical orchids and bromeliads, a waterfall in the rainforest, fountains, children’s playground and several themed walks.  Dogs are allowed, so Cinta enjoys a morning out with us too.  I just love how the mosaic is created on the footpath, it reminds me of a necklace.

We take a walk around State Square and view Darwin’s Parliament House which opened in 1994.  Across the road is Government House which is set on 13,000 square metres of hillside gardens.  It is pretty as a picture with it’s white picket fence.  There is a short video on the government website which takes you on a tour through the house, it’s worth having a look at.

I managed to wake up in time for a sunrise this week and it did not disappoint.  We’ve had a great week in Darwin, however we will be looking forward to moving on again next week as we make our way back to Katherine and then head for Western Australia.

Wildlife:  Kookaburras, plovers, ibis, horses, peacocks, black cockatoos.

Week 17 total expenses:  $2177.16 – well over double our budget!  Some extraordinary expenses this week with a car service at $810.20 & Cinta’s annual vaccinations at $125.  Luckily we’ve had quite a few weeks under budget!



That’s a wrap for Week 17 of the Lap of the Map.

PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment!

One thought on “Week 17 | Adelaide River to Darwin

  1. Darwin is one place I would have liked to visit. Great to have your blog to check out what I’ve missed. One day, maybe…


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