Our few days in the Northern Territory’s Darwin Region
Location No 85 – Batchelor
We spent two nights at the Batchelor Holiday Park, just a short drive from Litchfield National Park. We contemplated camping in the park, but were glad we decided not to, as the campground was very wet following some heavy overnight rain.
The Batchelor Holiday Park was nice enough, the water in the pool surprisingly cool, (but not as good as swimming in the plunge pool under Florence Falls in Litchfield National Park), and the daily bird feeding was a lovely bonus. Lots of native birds arrived for their share of (special) nectar or seeds, but those of special note were the Red-collared Lorikeets.
The park manager said they are a close relation of the Rainbow Lorikeet. They certainly look very familiar and know how to make noise just like their rainbow cousins found on the east coast of Australia.
Location No 86 – Darwin
Our next stop was Darwin itself, the capital of the Northern Territory, and as far as Australian history goes, there were two places we wanted to visit. The Darwin Military Museum and the Cyclone Tracy Exhibit at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.
February 19, 1942 war came to Australia. Did you know the Japanese carrier-borne forces that attacked Darwin were the same forces that attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941? Did you know those forces dropped more bombs on Darwin than they did on Pearl Harbor? Overall, there were 64 raids on Darwin and 33 raids on other targets in Northern Australia, extending as far south as Exmouth on the west coast (where I photographed the replica of the warning radar and petrified sand bags), and Townsville on the east coast. But this isn’t that type of history lesson and you’ll have to click here to read more about the attacks on Darwin during World War II. This was long before my time. (Yes it was.)
As for Cyclone Tracy, the most significant tropical cyclone in Australia’s history, I was old enough and remember hearing reports as they came through on the radio. In short, Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin in the wee hours of Christmas Day 1974, killed 66 people, injured many more, and devastated 80 per cent of the city. In the days and weeks that followed, more than 26,000 people were airlifted out, and over 10,000 left the city by road.
As a result of Cyclone Tracy, greatly improved building standards were introduced across the entire country including requirements that buildings be clad to protect them against flying debris and that roofs be tied to foundations. Darwin was rebuilt in three years and now thrives as one of Australia’s most important gateways to Asia. You can click here to see interactive before and after photos.
We spent a few days exploring as much of Darwin as we could. Storms permitting, most days we managed to be out for five or six hours. And here I have to say, some of the cloud formations brewing storms are some of the most impressive we’ve ever seen. Besides the two museums, we explored the CBD a little, walked around ‘The Waterfront’ where Dean contemplated a surf in the wave pool, and then on Wednesday morning we sat and watched the Solar Eclipse, complete with protective eyewear and camera at the ready. Dean took the following images using a neutral-density filter. In Darwin, 50% of the Sun was obscured.
EarthSky posted some amazing photos this morning. One day I might take photos like that.
We opted to stay at the Howard Springs Holiday Park, a short 20 minute drive south of the Darwin CBD. The park was lovely, surrounded by huge trees and copious palms adding to the tropical feel of where we were. After six weeks of brown, brown, brown, and even more brown, I find it hard to fully express how lovely it is to see everything green.
Finally, as for the featured image above, it’s the Darwin city skyline photographed from Mindil Beach. After looking at the image on my camera, I then took a better photo of the remains of the tree.
I think it’s impressive from this angle.
And now for The $64,000 Question – Where Are We Now?
Heading into the middle of THE jewel in the Northern Territory crown – Kakadu National Park.