Monday, May 21, 2012


Good Morning! as depicted by Wilson the 'barrista' of deck 14

Land at last, after five days at sea. 

Arrived in Darwin and hooked up at the cruise terminal which is a short walk away from downtown

We decided not to go on an organized tour but rather to wander around on our own. Walked along the lagoon and see the commercial vessels - ranging from tour boats to pearlers to fishing boats

Darwin has a great story to tell ……. It’s a small city by most measures – a population of around 130,000 today, they say. It was founded in the mid- 19th Century by just over 100 settlers. A very diverse population has developed as its basic industries developed – Pearl Diving and aquaculture, mining including for Argyle pink diamonds and as a port for the embarkation of livestock from Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Darwin has regularly been demolished, depopulated and regrown until that has become one of its major tales. In February 1942 the Japanese bombed Darwin attacking in two waves. They dropped more bombs here than they did on Pearl Harbor and destroyed many of the buildings, sank civilian and naval shipping (including a US Naval ship) and caused substantial loss of life. The extent of the destruction was kept a secret for long after the war and even now the extent of the loss of life is disputed – officially 250 or so but potentially twice that or more because no one really knew how many Aborigines were killed. Given the extreme risk of invasion the area became a military zone and civilians were all moved to a line parallel to Brisbane half-way down the continent!

Again in 1974 on Christmas eve and Christmas Day there was major destruction of Darwin – this time through Cyclone Tracy. Pretty much every habitation was destroyed and again there had to be a mass evacuation.

Darwin has survived and grown and is the center of a fascinating part of Australia – one I will definitely revisit (probably next year). The major sites are areas of great natural beauty and homes to relatively authentic Aboriginal culture.


The two areas that sound most interesting to me are the Litchfield National Park with its waterfalls and Kakadu.

On this trip, sadly, we are only here for the day so it will be hard to see more than the city itself - although one of the tours offered by the ship is a Darwin Pub Crawl (which starts at 10am and finishes at lunchtime)! A vague sense of the place is also provided in the blurb we received about Darwin that tells us “ locals in the top end consume over 60 gallons of beer a year…..”

I have a feeling that if I cant get a decent internet connection while here that might be my activity of last resort!!

Ah well – back to the ship and on to Singapore. Interestingly, together with a bevy of Singapore Immigration Officers – they know how to live they will be doing our clearance en route on board ship.
As Lael would say – must be nice!!!


  1. It's funny, one of lael's peeps made that MBN comment on his facebook posting about your trip- As always, looking forward to the next post :)

  2. My boys would love to say KAKA-DO!