We packed camp early to avoid the heat and finally set off for Darwin. When we arrived we decided to camp at the Freespirit Caravan Park…which had reasonable Wiki Camp reviews and the children wanted to go there for some reason.
Arriving at Mindil Beach
We set up met our neighbours and their three kids, had a quick dip at the pool and set off for the famous Mindil Beach Market. The market is held Sunday and Thursdays during the dry has a huge selection of cheap food of all variety and several performers…which amazing and entertained the children…we marvelled at the Emdee playing five didgeridoos with an amazing drummer, a man fire twirling but by far the favourite was Mick’s Whip Show…a classic Mick cracks stock whips and sings a song about his tricks to the tune of the Devo classic ‘whip it song’.
Kids watching the fire twirling
Aaron also got up and had a go at cracking the whip and he wasn’t too bad..it is much harder than it looks.
Aaron having a go at the whip cracking
We had a yummy dinner of Thai food followed by sorbet that was so delicious and Holly and Bianca purchased a bag each and I bought and dress…as you do. The other entertainment at Mindil Beach is the amazing sunset shared by hundreds of others on the beachfront.
Family selfie at Mindil Beach
Sunset at Mindil Beach
After an action packed night we headed back to camp… we had not yet adjusted to N.T time so the children slept in which was a bonus!
We got the bikes down for the children as we planned to stay a few days and on Aaron’s first lap around he discovered Sam, Emily and Josie were camped on the other side of bushes behind our camp (friends we had met at El Questro). The children were thrilled to catch up again and were quickly off riding to the jumping pillow.
Jumping pillow fun
Boys on the bikes
After we dragged them away we headed out for some shopping for much needed groceries and a few other key items including a battery charger for the camera gifted to Aaron. When we returned to camp it was off to the pool for a swim with the other kids whilst Andrew took the car in to have the ‘Koni shock absorbers’ replaced – a total bonus they were replaced under warranty.
Girls at the pool
Whilst in Darwin we made the most free sights and activities around the city one of the highlights the Palmerston Waterslide Park where we bumped into Luke with Jesse and Pippa again. The water park had a HUGE water slide.
Ready for slide action
Holly was not sure at first but after the first time she was off and the kids and Andrew spent an hour riding the slides. For me it was scary the first time and terrifying the second…very fast. After a few rides Bianca moved to the water play paddle pool with Pippa and I had to leave the slide and watch the little ones. We all had an awesome time cooling off and having fun.
The next day we visited Territory Wild Wildlife park learning about all the various birds, reptiles and mammal species endemic to the Northern Territory. The park was fantastic (similar to Healesville Sanctuary) but in the heat they had a bus train to carry you from one exhibit to another. We loved the ranger talks about the freshwater fish and rays, the birds of prey and the huge bird aviary where we learned about the northern Blue Kookaburra – which live together with their extended family three generations and up to 12 birds! Holly loved the turtles.
On the train at Territory Wild
It was another great day but really tiring for the kids (still on WA time) we got home,had a quick dinner, then had a lovely visit from Lorraine and Terry the parents of an old school friend who were staying at the same caravan park.
In the bush at Territory Wild
Fresh water sting ray
The next day we visited Darwin Museum with all the history of the Cyclone Tracey which devastated Darwin on Christmas day 1974 and lots of WWII history. They had an awesome collection of local birds, lizards and bugs on display in the natural history section which we loved too.
Replica house ruins from Cyclone Tracey.
At the museum we met ‘Sweetheart’ a huge Estuarine saltwater crocodile that was accidentally killed when they caught him to remove and relocate from an area – he weighed 780kgs and measured 5.1m. We also watch the ‘Croc wise warnings’ making sure we were prepared for the rest of our ‘top end’ travels. Aaron loved the natural science section which had many of the birds we had seen on our travels.
Aaron and Holly with Sweetheart the Crocodile.
A lucky bonus our visit coincided with the ‘Telstra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art’ finalists exhibition which had some extraordinary and really beautiful art works.
Very cool weaving Ute at the indigenous art exhibition
After another jam packed day we were all tired and we decided to head out for dinner (yay no cooking!) to the Darwin Trailer Boat Club which is by the beach in town and we enjoyed dinner watching the sunset. We were surprised that despite crocodile warnings there were people walking ankle deep water on the beach edge.
Our last day in Darwin the children visited the caravan park kids club (they begged us) and then we drove around a few sights and did some shopping we checked out the waterfront fake beach/pool and visited the World War II oil storage tunnels – amazing tunnels that were built and classified to secret until the 1990s. Very interesting with a huge amount of world war history but being hot and being in underground a little claustrophobic.
Recycled art in the WWII storage tunnels
WWII oil storage tunnels – they were a kilometre long
Darwin’s fake beach water front was pretty cool
After six great days in Darwin we needed to keep moving we loved Darwin it had a great feel and we could easily have stayed longer.