We are now 200 kilometres along the Barkly Highway, heading east. Last night we booked into Barkly Homestead campground, home of the thousand budgies (click on this link if you would like another look at them). This morning we wake to a pleasant 18deg and clear blue skies. No regrets about the decision when I checked the temperatures at Alice Springs and it was 1 degree overnight, brrrrr….
So we decide it is time for a day off the road and book in for a second night here. For the past 2-3 weeks it has been all go, exploring Darwin, Kakadu, Lichfield and driving long distances over the past few days. Not to mention procrastinating over the decision. I love travelling but every now and again it is time to stop and recharge all our batteries. This is a good shady camp area and the internet connection is 5 bars. So I am going to back-track and show you some photos and my impressions of the places we have been in the Top End.
Starting with Darwin…
Twenty years ago we visited Darwin. My memory of back then was a small provincial city, very tropical, lots of palms and hibiscus, laid back, slow-moving. Some things never change it is still tropical but I was disappointed to see most of the palms had been taken away and replaced in Smith Street with metal sculptures that for me did not give a tropical feel. The fountain was fun and children enjoyed running through it. High rise buildings are dotting the horizon and down town area. Darwin is definitely a city on a growth curve. I read that it is very hard to get rental properties and house prices are on the rise, a sure sign of city growth.
Having said that I still enjoyed the atmosphere of Darwin. The free use of buses for old people, we made the most of that facility and toured around the areas looking at the beaches and outer suburbs. I’ve mentioned the world-class museum and art gallery, but another attraction that is a must do is the Mindil Beach sunset markets.
These are every Thursday and the stalls are set along the beach front. They start approx 4-30 and the variety of things to look at and buy is endless, art work, jewellery, clothes of all descriptions, perfumes, potions and creams to cure-all ills, baskets, Aboriginal art work and of course the food stalls. All nationalities are catered for, you can even buy kangaroo meat and crocodile patties, I tried the crocodile but it was very heavily laced with corn so that was the main taste. Buskers add to the atmosphere and by 6-30 the place was crowded.
Jack can always get the good-looking girls to pose for him. This is one of Jack’s admirers of his “happy pants”….