Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory of Australia. If you cut Australia in thirds from top to bottom,
the NT occupies the top half of the middle third. We are surrounded by the Arafura Sea to the North, Western Australia to
(duh) the West, South Australia to - yep that's right - the South, and Queensland to the East.
Bring located in the tropics as we are means that Darwin has only two seasons: the Wet and the Dry.
The Wet Season runs from around October to April, and the Dry from May to the start of October. The Build-Up is the worst
time of year for most people, before the proper start of the rains, with maximum heat and humidity. I like the rain and thunderstorms
that occur around December-January, especially if there's a cyclone somewhere around. The Dry is just that, dry, with cool
nights and mornings and clear sunny days.
Darwin is home to Charles Darwin University (formerly Northern Territory University), with campuses in Casuarina (a central
suburb) and Palmerston (the closest town to Darwin, almost a part of Darwin itself). If you're interested in the uni, check
out their website here: http://www.cdu.edu.au/
. CDU offers classes for higher education and TAFE (technical and further education) students. A lot of school leavers from
Darwin choose to go down south for uni, where more courses and prestige are available, but many still choose to stay in Darwin.
Casuarina Shopping Centre (known as Casuarina Square, Casuarina, or Cas) is the central shopping centre in Darwin. There
are several 'major stores' and lots of speciality shops including clothes, cafes, electrical, sports etc. Casuarina is home
to one of the Darwin bus depots and the Casuarina cinemas, making it the place to meet friends after school and on weekends.
It is also located conveniently near the uni.
Kakadu National Park is a popular destination for visitors to the NT. It is located about 300 kms from Darwin and you
have to pay to enter. However, located about an hour South of Darwin is Litchfield National Park. It is free to enter and
contains several waterfalls and swimmin spots, making it a popular alternative to Kakadu for locals and tourists alike. Wangi
Falls, Florence Falls, and Buley Rockhole are the ones we usually include in a day-trip.
At Wangi, there is the main waterfall to the right, and a smaller one on the
left. It is possible to climb some way up the cliff on the left-hand side, and there is a small pool there which is always
warm - unlike the water of the swimming pool. A sandbar extends almost all the way across to the cliff. There is also walking
track which takes you up to the top of the falls. Unlike the others, Wangi has a kiosk, making it the place to stop for lunch.
The kiosk is pretty comprehensive, with hot and cold food available (from hot dogs and hamburgers to icecreams and cold drinks).
The carpark at Florence is about equal with the top of the falls. To get the
swimming hole you need to climb down a lot of steps, by which time you really need a swim. There are several ledges where
people like to jump from into the pool, but can I just say that this is dangerous if you haven't checked out the water below
before you jump.
Buley Rockhole is a series of pools leading into a creek. Some are very
shallow, some are quite deep and good for bombing into. Some have beach-like rocks which provide shallows for little kids.
Some have great places to sit and let the mini-waterfalls rush over you.
I will include some pics of these places later on, either here or on the Photo Album
More to come later.