Below is an article by Kim Mahood published in Griffith REVIEW Edition 36: What is Australia For?
Please note that I have significantly altered the length of the article and therefore not all ideas put forward by Mahood are represented in this version. In some cases I've slightly altered sentences for ease of interpretation or to sum up long winded explanations. I've enclosed my additions in brackets and highlighted key ideas in bold for those of you that prefer skimming. If you would like to read the full piece, click on link below the article.
26 July 2014
19 July 2014
Well as it turns out, Darwin wasn't all that bad!
The old motto 'life is what you make it' really rang true for me this week; as I really did 'make' a lot. I made numerous new friends, I made myself sick with copious amounts of ice-cream, I made a bag out of a palm frond and I made a permanent mark on a wall in Cavenagh St in the city.
Not long after publishing my previous post about Darwin, I made a conscious decision to see the free trip for what it was worth (errr...free that is!) and try to enjoy what Darwin has to offer; misfits, backpackers and all!
Below you can see a collection of photos from my week. I've also listed some general info and recommendations for those considering a holiday in Darwin.
- Standard hotel rate during dry season (May-Oct)- $250+ a night
- Airport to Darwin City- 13km (20 minute drive)
- Best restaurant- Ducks Nuts, Mitchell St, Darwin City (I had the pork belly and it was delicious)
- Best cafe- Cafe 21, Smith St Mall, Darwin City
- Best take-away- The Barra Bar (grilled local barra for $12)
- Best shopping area- Village Arcade, Smith St Mall (Me & My llama for shoes and Embella Jewellery for handmade Jewellery)
Things to see & do:
- Mindil Beach Market (Thursday & Sunday nights)
- National Museum & Art Gallery (there's a cool permanent exhibition full of taxidermy NT wildlife, fossils and prehistoric bones & shells)
- Darwin Waterfront (safe-to-swim beach & wave pool)
Oh! And as for the 4WD course, it was a huge let down. We sat in a fumy shipping container doing theory work for a great deal of the morning, causing us to run severely short of time during the practical component. Positives: I learnt to use a jack, change a tire and come to a dead-stop whilst going in excess of 80km per hour. Negatives: I only got to witness how to use a snatch strap to pull someone out of a bogging (which involves two cars), so Adrian and I are still none the wiser when we get bogged on our own. Also to my disappointment, we only got to drive through one shallow body of water due to the lack of rain lately. The instructors were friendly and accomodating, however I wouldn't recommend the course (run by Top End Training in Palmerston)
|Darwin Waterfront AKA backpacker hang-out|
|On the wharf looking back towards the city|
|Darwin Graffiti artists were commissioned to do four side-by-side individual pieces for the Darwin Fringe Festival. I was allowed to contribute by filling in the pink triangle.|
|This was the design draft of one artist. He showed me how to get different effects using different nozzles and by holding the can at different angles|
|Artist at work- Most of the boys were grooving along to music as they worked; as if it helped them form flowing lines and remain steady-handed|
|I came back to check on their progress to find this! I must say, I was chuffed.|
|I learnt to weave a palm frond into a bag at Mindel Beach|
|Cecilia taught me to make the bag. She belly laughed when I told her I didn't know how to plait when there were more than 3 strands. "Look! Even the little girls can do it!" she announced loudly so that everyone was made aware of my incompetency.|
|Cecilia explained that they make good shell bags as they are very strong and can be washed out in the sea.|
|A man at Mindel Beach showed me how to make a paint brush out of a reed. He also showed me the paint brushes he uses to cross-hatch very fine lines; he glues a single horse hair to a Chupa- Chup stick.|
15 July 2014
I'm in Darwin this week attending an orientation program for new teachers working in the Northern Territory. The only part worth mentioning is my compulsory participation in a 4WD defensive driving course in Palmerston (45 mins from Darwin). This is going down at 7:15am tomorrow- stay posted for potential video footage if I make it out alive or my feeble arms don’t snap whilst trying to change a tyre.
Quite generously the department flew me over here two days early, so I've spent my time wandering the streets of Darwin City and touring the surrounding areas. I don’t have much to say about Darwin to be completely honest. It’s a lot like Cairns. The streets are set out in a block formation, with most of the action being contained to two long strips a few streets back from the water. The pubs, cafes and supermarket (practically everywhere really) is plagued by 20-something year old sun-kissed backpackers (yes I’m aware that two or so years ago I would’ve been in my element). Whilst the restaurants are buzzing on weekdays and look pretty trendy, none have particularly taken my fancy which has led me to cook dinners in my very under-equip kitchenette. Majority of the restaurants serve Asian or Indian cuisine and scattered amongst them is the typical Aussie pub or fast food outlet.
If I discover any redeemable aspects in or around Darwin City, I’ll be sure to let you know. But as it stands, I rate Darwin as a holiday destination 2 out of 5 stars at best.
I’d be interested to hear others’ thoughts and experiences of Darwin, so please feel free to comment or add your own star rating by commenting below.
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