Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront

Location: 

Travel Date: 
30.05.2014

Today is the last day of our Top End Trip. We are finally got back to Darwin after 5 days trip through Litchfield, Nitmiluk and Kakadu National Parks. Everyone is a little bit tired, so we decided to spend the day in the relaxed manner.

We went to the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and, at the end of the day, to the safe swimming beach at Darwin Waterfront.

Before I start posting photos from the museums. I’d like to share some other Darwin photos:

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Somewhere in the middle of the city:

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Former Town Hall, destroyed by Cyclone Tracy in 1974. I will tell a little bit more about the cyclone later.

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Information Centre:

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Somewhere near Darwin Waterfront:

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Australian Aviation Heritage Centre:
Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

The enormous hangar housing the Heritage Centre’s exhibits is almost completely filled with a Boeing B52. This 8-engine behemoth, with its 56-metre wingspan, consumes a fair chunk of floor space and towers above all the other aircraft and displays. But for such a monster it’s remarkable how tiny the cockpit is.

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

A retro Ansett ANA mobile stairway allows visitors to climb to the cockpit window and peer into the pilots’ cramped office. Inside the bomb bay there’s a theatrette showing a film outlining the story of the plane’s arrival in Darwin.

The B52 is just the centrepiece among an impressive collection of aircraft including a Mirage, a B25 Mitchell bomber, a Huey helicopter, a replica Spitfire and the wreckage of a Japanese Zero, brought down during the bombing of Darwin in World War 2.

Some more planes:

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

And even a fridge plane!

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens (-12.444403, 130.837027)

In most places the local Botanical Gardens have a special section for tropical plants, but in the Darwin Gardens they’re pretty much everywhere. Only a short distance from the city centre, this is a great place to stroll through a dense rainforest while still within 10 minutes of a latte.

Cyclone Tracy all but destroyed the Gardens in 1974 but thanks to the dedicated work of curator, George Brown, later mayor of Darwin, they’re now better than ever. It is a good place to spend couple of hours in a hot summer day.

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Tropical Savannah

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Surprisingly we found a poster about plants in Russian (!) in the cafe 

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Don’t forget to visit the second part of the Botanic Gardens across the road to see mangroves!

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (-12.437387, 130.833451)

On Christmas Eve, 1974, Darwin was virtually destroyed by Cyclone Tracy. The experience proved so traumatic that many people never returned, and for several months access to the city was by permit only. The Cyclone exhibit at the Museum shows Darwin before and after, and serves as a chilling reminder of nature’s wild mood swings. Head into a dark sound room and hear the cyclone’s fury, recorded by Father Ted Collins in various locations around the city.

There’s much more to see here including the indigenous art gallery with its clever Tjanpi grass Toyota, woven from desert grass, the natural history exhibition and the preserved body of Sweetheart, a ferocious 5.1 metre saltwater crocodile, responsible for a number of attacks on boats in the ‘70s.

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Thermite Mould:

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Rug made from pandanus leaves:

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Small ships exhibition:

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Darwin Waterfront (-12.466980, 130.847380)

A relatively recent addition to Darwin is the waterfront precinct with its modern accommodation, restaurants and cafes, recreation lagoon and wave pool.

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

We spent rest of the day in the wave pool and then, after the dusk, had a dinner at one of the restaurants there.

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin and Surrounds, Things to see and to do in Darwin: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Waterfront, ,

At night we packed our stuff, cleaned the car and went to the airport. Next morning we arrived to windy Melbourne with its +12 degrees :) Nice :)

Travel well!

Katerina is an author and traveller. She is also a co-founder of 'LetsGoToAU.com' project, created specifically for those who are keen to see the best of Australia, but tired trawling forums for traveller feedback/sifting through hundreds of reviews or simply too busy to organize their trip. 

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