Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Neither The Builder nor I have ever been to Darwin before. I passed through the airport in 1965 en route to Melbourne for the first time, but that doesn't count. And even if we had taken the time to stop and have a look, things have changed dramatically since then. Not just because of the march of time; more substantially because Darwin was more or less destroyed on Christmas Eve in 1974 by Cyclone Tracey. It is effectively a new city.

It is also a very small city. The Central Business District looks to be about four streets wide. It takes about ten minutes to walk from one side to the other! And we are in an apartment on the edge of the CBD, overlooking it and the harbour. Nice and convenient! Its size makes it easy to get about on foot, which is all to the good when the previous day was very busy and was followed by an overnight flight of five hours which involved very little sleep.

So we had an easy day. We found a supermarket for the important purchases of tea, coffee and milk. We had a potter around. We found the Visitor Information Centre, where we booked an evening dinner cruise of the harbour for tomorrow. We found a cafe which sold us barramundi and chips for lunch. Mostly we spent the day watching the world pass by from our balcony. An excellent holiday day. No rushing about.

One of the main CBD streets at 5:30 on a Tuesday.

The alcohol licensing laws are interesting in the Darwin CBD. The Liquorland bottle shop opened at 10 but can't sell boxed wine until after midday. And then each adult can only buy one x 2 litre box per day. There were two of us, so we would be allowed to buy two.  I'm not sure what would happen if we wanted to buy a dozen bottles - he had cases of wine in the store. I believe the liquor laws are different outside the City Centre but it seemed a bit odd. If I wanted a ridiculous amount of wine in boxes, I can't see what would stop me going into every wine store in the Centre. Unless, of course, there is only one. Or, I guess, I could head to the suburbs.  The licensee didn't seem very impressed by it all.

The other thing I discovered, when we bought the tickets for the harbour cruise, is that you are entitled to Seniors' discounts in Australia from the age of 60 (thus I got two discounted tickets, being 60 years and 8 days old when I went to buy them). I mentioned this on Facebook and am told that you can get discounted tickets to some things in England from age 60. But you can't now get the equivalent of a seniors' card (or bus pass) until you reach the state pension age (for me that would be 66). But what a nice First - an age concession on a dinner harbour cruise :-)

So then. This visit to Darwin means that I now have all the capital cities in Australia. Darwin has long been the only omission. But it's a very long time since I was last in Adelaide or Brisbane. I might have to re-collect them.

                                                            I think I've worn him out!

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