Darwin and Alice

Not a new sitcom, but the first 2 towns we visited in Australia.

We flew in from Singapore, landing at 5 am in the morning, getting through customs is a bit of a phfaf, they are very strict about what you can bring in, and once they were sure we had no soil on us (really) and the nuts we were carrying were packaged and unlikely to carry any nut bugs, we were on our way.

Luckily our hotel let us have our room at 6 am as it was free (result), and then it was off to the cinema at 10 am to see Rougue one, approximately 30 minutes before anyone I knew got to see it in the UK (if they went to the midnight showing).  We were joined for breakfast each morning by a little aussie friend, who might have been more appealing if he didn’t pee on the deck every time he came over!

Apparently it’s a possum (not a peesum)

Then it we made our way into town (it’s a pretty small town centre).  The first thing we noticed was the heat, and almost immediately after that, the humidity.  I take back anything I said about anywhere I have been before, this was ridiculous.  You went a few steps outside of any air conditioning and you were drenched in sweat and exhausted.  It is the wet season at the moment so the temperature is in the mid 30s and the humidity is around 100%.

It is odd being somewhere so warm just before Christmas, the town was decorated, there was Christmas music playing everywhere and people are walking around in shorts, it’s just wrong!

We had cooking facilitites at the hotel so we went into the local supermarket (Coles) and had our next shock, food in Australia is really really expensive (having been here four weeks now it hasn’t got any better, we have spent a fortune on self catering).  Not sure what they earn here but it must be a lot just to cover the basics.  We had a bbq back at our cabin so we did the the full Aussie experience with some nice food and the cheapes wine we could get our hands on – oh and you cant buy wine in a supermarket (seriously, what is wrong with these people!)

It was nice to actually get a decent cuppa

The next day wandered round town and saw the cathedral, and a few of the older buildings, there really is no one on the street during the day other than the Aborigines (more on that later), it is like a ghost town and we can only think that was because of the heat, as anyone within their right mind is going to stay inside where the air con is.  In the evening we watched the most amazing sunset and post sunset sky, and went to the Harbour area (very posh) and then on to Stokes Wharf for fish and chips, and walking back we were treated to a display of lightning out at sea, and fortunately we were back in our cabin before the rain reached us (and it rains a lot).


Government House just after sunset – no retouching it really was like this!
Half an hour later in the harbour area
Stokes hill wharf, the fish eat the chips you chuck over!

The next day we walked up the beach to the Museum and Gallery of the Northern territories, a long walk in the humidity – we saw no one .  Then in the evening we caught up with our friends Carl and Den, and their kids (well adults now) CJ and Rosie, by pure coincidence they flew into Darwin the day we before they left on the start of their Australia/New Zealand Christmas holiday.  Their hotel was on the same road as ours so we caught up over dinner, though they all looked a bit knackered after the long flight, and the airline had lost Rosies case, but it was good to catch up.

We had originally thought that we would get the 20 hour bus from Darwin to Alice Springs, but 9 hours on a bus in Vietnam changed our minds about that so we flew instead.

Alice is hot, really hot, but the good thing about it is that there is virtually zero humidity, which makes the heat a little more bearable, it also meant Dawn had to spend less time straightening her hair (not sure why).

The first night there we went up to Anzac hill and watched the sunset, it was stuning watching it over the town, it looked like something out of the movie Close encounters of the third kind, more like America than Australia.  Unfortunately I have lost the pictures I took but the one below is the night sky I posted on Instagram.

The skies in Australia are often dramatic.

The next day we went to the Olive Pink botanic garden and walked up the hill there, where we saw a wallabie with her joey (child) rock hopping around the fauna.  Then we went into town, had a wander around the old part and had fish and chips in the evening, very good but considering we were over 1000km in any direction from the coast, you couldn’t help but wonder how they got it there.

A long way from home (15030km to be precise)

Like Darwin, there were a lot of Aboriginies hanging around, not a problem in itself as they were here first, but mostly they were drunk or very drunk.  There seems to be a real problem here integrating the indigineous people with the newcomers and nobody seems to have an answer to the problem, alcoholism and diabetes are real problems, but up until 200 years ago no Aboriginies had drunk alcohol or overdosed on sugar, it is very sad, but everyone seems to be used to it!

Obviously our reason for visiting Alice was to go to Uluru (Ayers Rock), it is a long long way from Alice Springs, but we did it in a day and I’ll write about that in the next blog!




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