Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Darwin - City and Litchfield National Park - Day 1 & 2

During my 6 days in Darwin and national parks I managed to take about 2,200 photos, so I've spent hours sorting them into files, discarding some, etc, etc...

It was a dream trip, with amazing natural wonders and I loved every minute of it, even the sore and hot feet at the end of the day, after all the walking and climbing!

I'll probably do 5 posts about the trip as there is so much to show.

Joining Tom for the SIGNS meme, please check his blog for other signs from around the world.

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Day 1 - Departed Perth on Sunday 19th September at 11am, landed in Darwin at 4pm. A 3,30h flight, with lunch and I managed to watch 2 movies. 

Travel to the Northern Territory involved an online application for a "border entry form" that can be applied for up to 7 days before travel and a 2G2 pass to re-enter Western Australia as a resident of the State, where you have to upload your vaccine certificate and declare your health status - no colds, coughs, etc.

I arrived by taxi at the Oaks Darwin Elan Hotel just before 5pm, met up with my 2 friends already at the hotel and we then walked to the very pretty and family friendly Waterfront, just 15min away.  Bonus: I managed to snap a few murals on the way too.

The Waterfront

Photos taken on the way to the Waterfront - a church, Smith street pedestrian mall, Chinese temple, the ruins of the Town Hall that remained after the 1974 cyclone, a lawned area with a food market and Chinese dancers

At 6,30pm we were back in the hotel's lobby to meet the other tour partners and our guide Paul. After the meeting we went to dinner at Tim's Surf & Turf in Litchfield street, just behind the hotel.

The tropical restaurant Tim's Surf & Turf - I chose prawns and rice

Day 2 - After breakfast, at 8,30am, the tour van picked up the group of 7 people  from the hotel, and we drove to Litchfield National Park.

Having breakfast outdoors

Our first coffee/toilet stop was at the Litchfield Tourist park, for the tour guide to pick up the National Park pass for the group. The park covers about 1500km2, near the town of Batchelor, 100km south-west of Darwin.

At the Litchfield Tourist Park Cafe - flowers at the park and our van

We then drove to the Termite Mounds.  

On one side of the parking lot, the cathedral termite mounds are impressive structures that can be as high as 4mt (13ft), constructed by termites that feed on grass. The mounds can live from 50 to 100 years and it's thought that a single termite queen can live for the entire life of the mound.

On the other side of the parking lot, the magnetic termite mounds have their thin edges pointing north-south and wide backs facing east-west. This regulates the temperature for the termites inside. They are built by a different termite and can be up to 2mt (6,5ft) high. These structures are unique to the Northern Territory. 

There are lots of boards with information about the different termites and constructions.

Our next stop was at Buley Rockhole, for our first refreshing swim.  Not many spots to sit and relax as the pool was surrounded by rocky terrain, but it was pretty with some gentle waterfalls and various swimming holes.

Florence Falls -  the easiest pool go get into, it had a couple of metal steps leading to the water. There were also a few boulders in the water where you could sit and rest after a swim and and a narrow area where people sat and relaxed just outside the pool. 

I didn't want to risk swimming to the falls as it can be very deep in certain areas, but a lot of people had foam pool noodles or other floating devices that made it easier to swim across the pool.

You can even see fish swimming in the clear water ...


Resting area surrounding Florence Falls

We drove to Tolmer Falls viewing platform above the gorge, to observe the highest falls in the national park. Swimming is not permitted in the pool below. There is a walking trail if you have the time or inclination.

Wangi Falls - the only spot in the national park where we had wi-fi for all service providers, not only for Telstra (main Australian phone/internet provider) customers. There was a Cafe near the car park with a small choice of sandwiches, hamburgers and coffees, and the group had lunch there.

Before our swim at Wangi Falls, those who wanted did the Loop Walk ...   after 800mt of walking and climbing we reached a platform, but all we could see were treetops and not the waterfalls and pool.  You could climb a further 800mt (2624ft) to actually have a view of the falls, but we were already tired and still wanted to enjoy a quick dip in the pool.

On the way up we saw spiders, bats and a few birds and critters that just scurried off as soon as they heard the humans coming.

The Golden Orb spiders


Our last stop was at Berry Springs, a former recreation centre for troops stationed at the Top End of the Northern Territory during World War II.
There was a main pool and a lower pool with a small waterfall accessed via a small flight of stairs, but with limited time we only swam in the main pool.

I can't really tell you which of the swimming holes was my favourite, they all had something special, and I wish we could have spent more time in each of them.

As you can see from the "Crocodile safety" signs below from Wangi Falls and Berry Springs, there is a low risk of salt water crocodiles, but our guide guaranteed us that they had never been seen in those pools. Freshwater crocodiles or "freshies" will not attack if not disturbed or threatened, but they won't kill as the "salties" do.

After our swim at Berry Falls it was time to drive back to Darwin and we were back at the hotel at about 5,30pm.

A quick shower and change of clothes and the view of the sunset from the hotel's window before going to dinner at Wharf One, at the Darwin Waterfront, where we ordered 4 small share plates, enough for the 3 of us.
Sunset from the hotel's window on the 22nd floor

Waterfront area - the restaurants are on the building at the end (top photo)

Wharf One restaurant - share plates

After dinner we walked back to the hotel, repacked and had an early night as we had to check-out of the hotel the following day after breakfast, and would be picked up at 8,30am for our 3 day trip to Kakadu National Park.

Map of Darwin's city centre - Our hotel was in Woods str (2nd from top, nr.27 on right)

Map of our itinerary in the Litchfield National Park:
We covered about 300km on the round trip,  in an 11 hour period with the various stops.

Monday, 11 October 2021

Monday Mural - Welcome to Darwin

I love murals and street art. If you like murals or have a mural you'd like to post, this meme is for you.  Just follow the Linky steps below.  Once you start looking you will find murals everywhere.  The "Monday Mural" meme goes live on Monday at 12,01AM, Perth,Western Australian time. Be sure to link back to this blog and visit your fellow posters. Looking forward to your mural finds this week.  Thanks, Sami.

Painted by "Portuguese maestro" street artist Odeith for the third Darwin Street Art Festival in September 2019, it can found at West Lane in the city centre.

He's transformed the corner incorporating an electricity box which was transformed into a small van.

Check his web page, for some amazing 3D murals!

And you can also listen to this ABC interview with the festival organizer and the artist in Darwin.                              

Image from the internet where you can see the corner before it had the mural painted.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Signs - Let us dream

For other signs from around the world please check Tom's blog:

Hotel room door sign from the Cooinda Lodge in Kakadu National Park. Don't often stay in hotels but I thought this sign was quite original 😊.

Let us dream - Please come back later, Thanks

Come in I'm out - Please service my room, Thanks

Monday, 4 October 2021

Monday Mural - Multidimensional Man and Mud crab

I love murals and street art. If you like murals or have a mural you'd like to post, this meme is for you.  Just follow the Linky steps below.  Once you start looking you will find murals everywhere.  The "Monday Mural" meme goes live on Monday at 12,01AM, Perth,Western Australian time. Be sure to link back to this blog and visit your fellow posters. Looking forward to your mural finds this week.  Thanks, Sami.

In Austin LaneDarwin -  in the building just across the car park, from last week's Gurrumul's mural are two other huge murals, both 29mt x 12mt (95x39 ft).

Painted in 2018 for the Darwin Street Art Festival, by Peter Seaton "CTO", a Melbourne based artist, the mural entitled "Multidimensional Man" is a portrait of Hilton Garnarradj an Aboriginal guide from Arnhem Land.

Info from the net: "The artist is posing the question here that the Aboriginal societies and their understanding and way of living is a more multi-dimensional understanding of our connection to the earth, water, skies and beyond".


Painted on the wall next to Multidimensional man for the 2019 Darwin Street Art Festival, by Brisbane based artist Russell Orrie Fenn aka "Sofles", is a mud crab.

Even though they were painted a year apart, you will notice that the mud crab has been painted using the same tones as the Aboriginal man.

Friday, 1 October 2021

September Wrap-up

Friday 3rd - we had dinner at the Portuguese Club (the traditional Codfish is always served  on the first Friday of the month). We hadn't been for a couple of months, so it was nice to see our friends sitting along a huge table.

Saturday 4th - after lunch I met with the Committee ladies from the Portuguese/Australian Women's Association in the city to discuss our next event in October.
In this photo we are holding a handmake Portuguese guitar (12 string instrument used to play Fado) an award which the Association won in August during the WA Portuguese Citizen of the year awards in the Community category.

Committee ladies from the WA Portuguese Women Association

At 6pm Jose and I joined our son Michael and family at the Riverton Pub to celebrate his birthday.
Sunday 5th - it was Jose's birthday, but because I organized a celebration dinner for him for the 18th (due to Father's day on 5th, and a Father's Day Dinner/Dance at the Portuguese club, which we were attending), we had lunch at home, a slice of walnut cake, and then drove to Scarborough Beach for a walk in the sun and an ice-cream. At 6pm we joined 2 friends to watch a French movie (Eiffelat the Windsor in Nedlands. 

Friday 10th - We had dinner at a Lebanese restaurant - Elie's Tent, in Victoria Park, and Jose even got invited by the belly dancer to show his not so good Arabic dance skills. It was good fun, the food was delicious too.

The belly dancer that entertained us half way through dinner

A baklava type dessert

Saturday 11th -  we attended the Father's Day Dinner/Dance at the Portuguese Club, when male members don't pay for dinner.  The food was tasty, but far too much as usual, the music was good and we had fun dancing until midnight.
I took a walnut cake which I sliced into small squares to add to the dessert table.

Dinner - chicken leg, roast meat, potato, rice, green beans - Dessert table

The hall was full. The young lady sang 3 songs and the rest of the evening was highlighted by the young man.

Sunday 12th - a nice sunny day, and we spent it outdoors doing some gardening, lots of weeding and preparing the patio for Jose's birthday dinner.
I discovered a wagtail had made a nest under our old rotary clothes line that we now use as a cover over our veggie patch. It has been a few years since they had nested there. Can you see how they weave such beautiful nests?

Saturday 18th - We had about 20 people for early dinner to celebrate Jose's birthday.
Jose made Chicken Curry and I made Codfish with Cream sauce. I set out a plate of cheese, dips and crackers for starters, and decided not to make any desserts as most of the guests offered to bring desserts or cakes.

We were hoping for a nice sunny day, but it drizzled and was actually a bit cold, so even though Jose had put the outdoor gas heater on the covered patio, most people, specially the older generation preferred to eat indoors.
The last guests left at about 10pm and we managed to get 2 loads in the dishwasher and put everything away and kitchen cleaned by midnight!

Desserts for Jose's bday brought by the guests - I forgot to take a photo of the main dishes

Sunday 19th - I had had an invitation to go to Darwin and managed to get a very reasonably priced flight (accommodation/tours had been paid for), so I departed on the 11am flight and landed in Darwin at 4pm (they are 1 1/2 hours ahead of Perth).         
I checked in at the Oaks Elan Darwin Hotel, and from the 20th floor managed to spot a few murals in the city centre.
My friends and I walked to Darwin's Waterfront precinct and as nobody was actually too hungry we just ordered a few tapas to share for dinner at Wharf One.
Sadly Jose couldn't go with me as he had just started a new job in June :(

View from the 20th floor of the hotel room in Darwin
Sunset over the bay seen from the hotel room in Darwin

Monday 20th - Our tour bus picked 7 guests at the hotel at 8am for a day tour to Litchfield National Park and we returned to the hotel at 7pm after travelling about 400km and a few stops for a swim along the way.

From the 21st to 24th - our tour guide Paul picked the same 7 guests at the hotel and this time we drove to Kakadu National Park and Katherine Gorge. We drove and average of 400km a day from early morning till evening, with lots of stops, walks and climbs.
I'll write about my Darwin trip in separate posts as there is lots to say and plenty of photos too. I promise I won't post all of them 😉 as I took just over 2000 photos in 6 days!!  
Needless to say I had an amazing time and was pleasantly surprised with the small city of Darwin and with all the natural beauty of the National Parks!

Saturday 25th - after checking out of the hotel, I had time for some last minute visits in Darwin and caught my flight home at 4,30pm and arrived at 6,30pm and  my favourite driver picked me up.

Monday 27th - a public holiday in Perth, celebrating the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II (which is actually in April), and Jose and I went to Kings Park Botanic Gardens to see the wildflowers during the Spring Festival.  The day had started cloudy but in the end it turned out to be a nice sunny day.

 Kangaroo paws ( Anigozanthos spp.) one of Australia's most iconic native plant

Kings Park is always a favourite spot for a walk with beautiful old trees, monuments to the heroes of the various wars and fabulous views over the city and South Perth.

The Pioneer Woman's Memorial and lots of ducks and ducklings around the lake
Panoramic view of the city and South Perth taken from Kings Park

After the visit to the Park we drove to Fremantle and stopped at Little Creatures Brewery for a drink with a view of the harbour.

When we drove home the sky had turned dark and I spotted a rainbow.

And so ended a very busy month of September! Hope you had a great month too.