I’ve always wanted to visit Darwin: at school in the 60’s we learnt about the terrifying bombings and loss of life during WWII, and I was horrified by the total devastation of Hurricane Tracy that flattened the town over Christmas 1974. But Darwin is a thriving centre of commerce, art and industry and Suzi and I spent a few days there, seeing all the sights and enjoying shopping. We checked into our “camp ground” – stunning tropical gardens, cool swimming pool and bar then headed out to see the town….first up, we dropped into Australian Bush Traders, an indigenous owned art gallery & café in the downtown core. Stunning artworks and decorative pieces – wish I could have taken everything! Thanks to Ruby and Jeff for showing us around and making our purchase decisions even harder. Oh, by the way, their are happy to ship things overseas so take a look at their website: https://aboriginalbushtraders.com/ and tell them I sent you!We strolled down the main shopping precinct, dropping in on more galleries and a fab bookstore. We walked the back alleys to find the most exciting street art ever!Time for a quick nap after such a full day of shopping and exhausting humidity & heat. Eduardo kept me company while I snoozed.Suzi and I enjoyed a delightful sunset dinner cruise, departing from the famed Stokes Hall Wharf.
How delightful….our tour guide had a wealth of information on the history of Darwin from the early settlers through WWII and the big hurricane of ’74. He pointed out all the important buildings and points of interest that Suzi and I visited the next day from the land. But it was all about the sunset….Sailing back into port, we were greeted by a fantastic light show from the big Ferris wheel (I went up earlier but it was too slow and the seats were surrounded by plastic curtains so no great photo opps…urgh!)Next day, we drove around the various beaches east of town and found all sorts of bays and stretches of sand. But remember, Darwin is home to saltwater crocs, sea snakes and sharks so no bathing for us…not even paddling!!
In the evening, we hit the famous Mindil Market overlooking the main beach and joined thousands of people watching the sunset.
The market is famous for its food trucks as well as trinkets and indigenous art. We had fun deciding what were were gonna eat but I was a little wary of the “giant octopus balls”…LOL
Time to bid farewell to Darwin and head south west to Broome, a town that’s been on my “bucket list” since childhood. Broome was and is the pearling capital of Australia and the s.w. Pacific region. So many legends of famous pearling luggers (boats) that plied the seas around the N.W. of Western Australia. Plus it’s recently been the location for a number of award-winning tv shows featuring our favourite actor, Aaron Pedersen, who starred in The Circuit and Mystery Road II shot in and around town. It’s rumoured he even lives there now. So bags are packed, Eduardo is excited to board the plane so off we go….
Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world can be found in Australia and I was lucky to visit a few. The whitest sand and most stunning vistas can be found in the Whitsunday Islands that lay off the n.e. coast of Queensland between the mainland and the Great Barrier Reef. Sadly, I didn’t visit there this trip, however, Broome’s famous Cable Beach made up for it with incredible sunsets and miles of soft white sand.
After Suzi and I left the red heart of the country, we flew up to Darwin – bathers need to be very careful where they swim as salt-water crocs as well as sharks and jellyfish patrol the shallows looking for unsuspecting tourists who soon become dinner! It wasn’t the season for any of the big predators but still, we were careful to look but not touch! Great sunsets happen every night so it was great to join the crowds watching as the sun dipped down over the Timor Sea.After our stay in Darwin, we flew s.w. to Broome in Western Australia, which is known for its pearling history as well as the famous Cable Beach and the camels who give rides to tourists (not me, thank you very much). Loved Broome and wish I could have stayed longer – such friendly people and great seafood (barramundi is a tasty meaty fish and I certainly ate my fill).Our final stop was Perth, the state capitol of Western Australia and my home town. Throughout the 60s, my family moved around, first living at the beach before building up in the hills overlooking the city. My sister Jenny who lives in Perth along with her own family kindly drove me to my fave beaches which include Cottesloe and Swanbourne, then onto Trigg (used to be called Trigg Island) as well as her own fave beach, a secret shelling beach close to Fremantle, the big port.I am such a beach baby! I love me some sand, surf and sun…throw in a palm tree or two, and I’m in heaven. I hope you get to find your favourite beach and bliss-out on your next vacay!
So now that I’ve been back in Toronto for 5 days, I’m finally catching up on sleep (crossing the int’l date line twice plus going thru numerous time zones creates havoc with mature bodies!) but am still re-adjusting my body clock. I’ve uploaded all my photos – over 1,000 snaps – to my laptop and will start to post blogs featuring the wonderful towns and cities I visited, the beaches and the bush, the flora and fauna (in particular the stunning gum trees and wildflowers), the cool people I met and the unique events, historical places and indigenous arts and landmarks. I was also able to re-connect with my sister, her husband and my nephew in Perth, Western Australia.Some places exceeded my expectations while others somewhat disappointed, but the nearly 2 months I spent Down Under in August & September took me to childhood homes and fun places I remember so I look fwd to sharing these unique experiences with you all. Thanks to my friend Suzi Stewart who made all the travel arrangements plus undertook all the driving, everything went well and we encountered no disasters…just a missed flight in Brisbane which resulted in Qantas putting us up for free in a 5-star hotel with food and taxis – how sad! And thanks also to Marilyn and Jeff Bromley in Brisbane for their kind hospitality. Marilyn, Suzi and I met through the Aaron Pedersen (pictured below) Fcbk fan page and the bond was strengthened when Suzi and I planned our trek to the beloved actor’s film & tv locations in the outback, and quest to find the actor himself after his sudden & mysterious retirement… sadly our efforts were all for naught so the Big Man is safe in his secret happy place!!Time now to put the coffee on and get cracking with my tales of outback travels, yummy food (esp. meat pies), extraordinary experiences and great friendships. SO over the next few weeks, you’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me…..