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:
Somewhere in the middle of the city:
Former Town Hall, destroyed by Cyclone Tracy in 1974. I will tell a little bit more about the cyclone later.
Somewhere near Darwin Waterfront:
Australian Aviation Heritage Centre:
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.
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:
And even a fridge plane!
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.
Surprisingly we found a poster about plants in Russian (!) in the cafe
Don’t forget to visit the second part of the Botanic Gardens across the road to see mangroves!
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.
Rug made from pandanus leaves:
Small ships exhibition:
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.
We spent rest of the day in the wave pool and then, after the dusk, had a dinner at one of the restaurants there.
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 :)