Darwin, Northern Territory: An Australian Summer Holiday in Winter

anz oct13It was only two weeks ago that I ran my last reprint of an Australia and New Zealand magazine article, that one was about Acclimatising to the Australian Winter Weather.

I’ve been falling a bit behind with these reruns though, so today I’m rushing through another one which, as it happens, is the perfect answer to the above-mentioned challenge.

Yes, if you are feeling a bit nippy during winter in Australia, head off to Darwin, that will sort you out. Here’s the article, which appeared in their October issue last year and had the title…

Discovering Darwin

DarwinMy plane hopping series of a few months ago ground to a sudden halt on account that I’d only plane hopped to 4 destinations in Australia. Recently I added the fifth. Known as the “Top End” no doubt because it is at the top end, I went to Darwin and the surrounding areas.

If there was anything strange about this holiday, it was that I took it during the middle of winter and had a summer holiday without leaving Australia.

Just like summer

Yes, even in the depths of winter in Australia, Darwin still feels like summer.

Winter in DarwinIn visiting Darwin right in the middle of winter, or should I say the dry season, I felt sure I had chosen the best time to go. The weather could not have been better; hot, sunny, clear blue skies, temperatures hitting 32°C to 35°C, no rain and not too humid. That’s how I like my Brisbane summers.

But was it the best time to visit?

Not according to a local I spoke to who much preferred the wet season, as summer is called there. “Fresh mangoes, the fishing is better, it can get a little sticky with the humidity, but the place is greener and more alive.

With the crocodile population matching that of the humans in the area, I expected them to be just about anywhere there was a puddle. I knew they were in the sea, but amazingly, so were people, swimming!

swimmerNot hundreds of people, but enough to make me think “Why?”

Ocean entertainment up that way is quite common, as it turned out. Darwin even has its own ski club; yes, people riding the waves balanced on narrow strips of wood tied to speedboats by a piece of string. I hope they are good at it.

They weren’t the only ones splashing around in the sea; let me tell you about the Darwin Lions Beer Can Regatta. Their idea of a regatta is to build boats out of beer tins and have a race off Mindil Beach!

So, are these people all crazy?

Seems not; according to my research the last person to have been taken by a crocodile off of a Darwin beach was back in the 1800s. An astonishing fact, but you still won’t catch me swimming in there and I don’t advise you to either.

What about shopping?

Darwin is an amazing place though, it’s unlike anywhere else I’ve been to in Australia. It’s not for everyone, but if you hate traffic jams and you like open spaces, it may just be the place for you.

On the other hand, if you like shopping you’ll want to give Darwin a wide berth. There were no ‘Myers’ or ‘David Jones’, two of Australia’s major department stores, anywhere to be seen. There wasn’t even a major shopping mall in the city, although I’m not suggesting that’s a bad thing.

Crocs

Talking of bad things, did we get to see any crocs?

I’ll tell you, we searched and searched and stared and stared at every billabong, river, sea, creek and puddle we came across. Never saw one. That’s until we went for a crocodile cruise on the Adelaide River, then we saw loads, including Hannibal.

hannibalHe’s 100 years old, 6 metres long and he has been known to eat his own girlfriend.

That’s Darwin.

And if you want to know more about Darwin, visit…

Good night.

sunset

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