‘Top End’ Tour Group Meets in Darwin

Today we join a group of 23 people from our church at St Stephen’s in Greythorn who will be enjoying each other’s company on a trip to the ‘Top End’. Most of us have now arrived in Darwin; either flying directly from Melbourne or adding time onto the front of our trip with additional holiday time.

We have been planning this trip for months and have had an enormous level of assistance from the people at Self Drive (www.self-drive.com) who specialise in travel in Northern Australia and the Kimberley Region. Bill Karas there, has made it so easy for us by booking our accommodation, transportation and organising individual tours. The information pack that he has provided has helped us to plan an extensive itinerary and now we are on our way.

This morning we set off for a brief look around the city. We started with a trip to Charles Darwin Park where we had a good view across to the city and then went to look at a number of old WW2 ammunition bunkers that still exist in the park. Most people were very interested in the history of Darwin and the war and we spent a good lot of time looking at the displays and maps in one of the open bunkers.

From there we drove in our 25 seater bus into town and visited the very modern and attractive Anglican Cathedral. We walked past Government House and stopped off at the impressive Northern Territory Parliament House for a quick tour.

By then it was time for lunch so we stopped off in the mall to pick up some food.

After lunch we went to to the lookout at East Cape and spent a short time visiting the NT Museum. They had some very interesting exhibits and the one that most people seemed most interested in was a traveling exhibition of National Icons. Among them we saw Donald Bradman’s Cricket Bat, a shirt worn by Henry Lawson and Ned Kelly’s helmet made from plough shears.

The weather has been warm (not really hot) but quite humid. It might take a few days before we all acclimatize and too much physical exertion brings about an immediate reaction of breaking into a sticky uncomfortable sweat.

The final activity for the day for most of our group was a dinner cruise on a boat called the Alfred Nobel. It was a very relaxing night with a brilliant sunset (followed by a glorious moon rise over the harbour). We sailed around Darwin harbour for over two hours enjoying the stillness of the water and the cooling sea breeze. The food was sensational and everyone rated this activity as a great event.

Tomorrow morning we pick up the last arrivals in our group and leave Darwin on the first leg of our journey to Broome. We will have a short trip to Litchfield National Park and an overnight stop in the town of Batchelor.