Playing The Tourist In Darwin, Part 1

Previous page - Sunday afternoon in Darwin


Not an ideal night's sleep

Last night we were both up at 12.30 am. Ian had a stinking headache and I was getting cramps in my legs and feet. We both thought we might have been de-hydrated so we will start drinking even more water. The bed was very comfortable.

We didn't want to pay for breakfast at the hotel restaurant so we decided to get some sort of brunch mid-morning. We wanted to get going earlyish anyway as we thought it would be cooler at that time of day seeing as we were heading off on foot.

WRONG !! It was already hot and humid at 8.30 am.

Ian by the Cenotaph in Darwin Ian by the Cenotaph


Looking for the oil storage tunnels

We wandered over the road to the beautiful Esplanade and set off searching for the Oil Storage Tunnels. We passed the Cenotaph and then headed down some steps through lush vegetation.


Jean climbing down the steps heading to the outdoor cinema Jean going down the steps to the lower level



Darwin's Deck chair Cinema

We came across the Deck chair Cinema, It is still closed at this time of year. We peered through a hole in the wall. It looks like the deck chairs must get placed out on top of the wood chipped area. We were expecting it to be on a lawn.


The Oil Storage Tunnels in Darwin

After a fair hike we found the entrance to the tunnels. A none too friendly cashier took our $5 entrance fees. She gave us some commentary and said to ask her if we had questions. We would have been too afraid to ask her anything. I noticed her ham and salad sandwich sitting on her little table at the entry point. I'd hate to leave ham out in that temperature for one hour let alone for the whole morning. We thought it may have been cooler inside the tunnels than out, but Mrs. Grump assured us it was not.

Trees growing straight out of rock We found trees growing right out of rocks




Tunnel five is the one that is accessible to tourists. The entrance to it was quite wet and thick rubber mats were in strategic places to stop shoes getting overly wet.

There were lots of old photos on the tunnel walls. They were related to the lifestyle of members of the armed services who were in the area at the time of World War 2. Down the length of the tunnel there were some very large old fans attached to the walls. It was sheer pleasure to stand in front of them to cool off for a moment or two. We thought the tunnel visit was well worth the $5 entrance fee.


Us by the convention Centre Ian and Jean by the Convention Centre

We ambled on past lots of constructions sites. Everywhere in Darwin there are massive buildings under construction. No slowing down of the economy here. How the poor builders work in such heat and humidity is beyond us.


Stokes Hill Wharf Darwin

We were aiming for Stokes Hill Wharf and the tourist attractions in that area. It was mid-morning by then. We met a small group of Japanese tourists in front of the Convention Centre. They were happily snapping photos of each other so we asked if they wanted us to take a photo of them as a group. They did and in return they took a rare photo of the two of us together.

Ian looks for some old oil tanks

Tourism features don't seem to be very well signed in Darwin and those that have signs don't have a distance written on the sign. When you are wandering around a hot place such as Darwin it is handy to know whether a certain tourist attraction is 100 metres away or two kilometres away. Ian was looking for some old oil tanks that had to be close by (according to the map !) but we could find no sign of them at all. I stood in the shade of a tree, capturing a little breeze, whilst he searched for the wretched things. I thought "Bugger any old oil tanks - I'm not going looking for them". I was about ready to collapse in all that heat. The oil tanks didn't interest me in anyway at that point in time. Despite no signage Ian did eventually find the remains of one tank.


Stokes hill wharf in Darwin Down at Stokes Hill wharf


Australian Pearling Exhibition

We were hungry and flagging but couldn't see anywhere in close proximity to eat. We were then right outside the Australian Pearling Exhibition building which is tied in with Indo Pacific Marine. We had a quick look around the foyer but decided against going in. It would have cost about $25 each to see the exhibits and we weren't sure if we would get value for our dollars. Mind you, I think I would have gladly paid $25 for some food, ANY FOOD, at that point.

Ian recalled reading that there were food places right down the end of the Stokes Hill Wharf. The heat was starting to affect us. I was getting woozy: legs going funny, head throbbing and starting to feel slightly spaced out. We thought some food would help us but there was no option but to keep on walking out in the heat to get to it. Luckily we had hats and plenty of water on us. At the end of the jetty we found the one and only little cafe that was open.


We ordered toasted bacon and egg sandwiches and they were very nice but at one stage I was getting so faint I thought my head could possibly end up down on my plate. There were quite a few other eating places there at the end of the jetty but all were shuttered up. We finished eating and were about to wander off when we realized lots of the other eateries were just beginning to open up. We had just been a bit early - that was the only problem. We walked all the way back along the wharf to the land with me wanting to keep well away from the edges just in case I fainted and fell in ! Neither Ian or I are good swimmers.

View from the lookout View from the lookout

View from the lookout

Back on terra firma we climbed some old steps up a hill and found ourselves up on top at the Esplanade level again. We found a lookout and, whilst there, Ian had to admit he felt faint so he had to sit down for a while.

Ian finds a coconut Ian finds a coconut




Government House Government House, Darwin





We slowly plodded on past Government House and then past Parliament House. We came across some English tourists who told us about all the eating places in the little arcades in the Mall. This was news to us as we had walked around that area last night (Sunday night) looking for dinner and everything was closed and gated. The Englishman was a very large fellow with a bald head and no hat. We were feeling somewhat wet and jaded. We wondered how he was coping with the heat.

Chinese Temple in Darwin Chinese Temple


Finding the Chinese Temple

We plodded on searching for the Chinese Temple (where was the signage we were looking for ?). Found it and it was perfectly lovely. There was a little cold water fountain in there to drink from too.

We decided we needed to find something else to eat so we walked into the Centrepoint Food Court and found the Centrepoint Cafe.

The Centrepoint Cafe in Darwin Wonderful food from the Centrepoint Cafe

We wondered if this was one of the cafes the English people had tried out. It turns out their food was excellent. We bought some lovely chicken and salad sandwiches for a very reasonable price and finished them off with a well deserved ice-cream.

Too exhausted and needing a break we walked back to our hotel. We should certainly lose some weight with all this walking and sweating.



Next page - Playing the tourist in Darwin, Part 2







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