It’s Sunday morning and we’re still here in Darwin, having had an overnight stay.  Though we love going off on tours and joining our friends to visit new and interesting places, after a couple of weeks of this we were ready to kick back a little.  Though we had tickets for a visit to a wildlife park, we decided to return them and to do our own thing today.


We’ve found the Australian tourist experience to be very packaged and rather controlled and as Tracy commented on my previous post, the places we’ve been have not necessarily been those we’d have chosen as independent travellers.  Still, we’ve had fun and when time is limited, the packaged “experience” guarantees a successful outcome.

Anyway, armed with a map, we jumped on the city shuttle bus today and caught a number 4 bus to the Sunday market at Nightcliff, as recommended by Judy the Pilots wife.


Catching a local bus is an experience in itself and offers a huge opportunity to observe people going about their everyday lives – which of course, is right up my street.  Sitting waiting for the bus in Darwin city centre, we held our breaths as a group of people hurled some pretty foul language in the direction of another.  On a quiet Sunday morning with few people about, this was the last thing we expected.  But we were to be further surprised when one of the group came over to us and offered profuse apologies for the outburst and for the bad language, saying that we should not have witnessed such behaviour from him and that he was very sorry that we had.   Another surprise came when we stepped onto the bus and offered payment for four tickets, to be told “This one’s on us” by the driver.  Again, something which we’d never expect to happen at home.


Some forty five minutes later, we found ourselves in the bustling market at Nightcliff, amongst a crowd of local families out enjoying the sunshine and the relaxed atmosphere there.


Not as extensive as the Salamanca markets in Hobart, as Judy warned, this was nevertheless a colourful diversion and we spent a happy couple of hours browsing the cheap and cheerful trinkets on the jewellery stall


and trying on shoes – yes, that pair did nicely and found their way home with Jane.


Enjoying a cool smoothie in the shade, we spotted a newspaper headline which sent a shiver down my back


Nasty!  What happened next, we wondered?  The answer was to be found here in a story entitled “sunk fisho plucked from river”!


Returning to Darwin, we strolled around the centre which was a little empty on this Sunday afternoon.


With only the pearl stores and the souvenir shops open, we resisted both and returned to the ship, regretting later that we had forgotten our original plan to spend the afternoon in the art gallery.  Oh dear…the heat addles my brain so!


But a peaceful afternoon sitting on the balcony, watching the yachts return home is not to be sniffed at, and of course, there’s always other interesting things to spot.


Jellyfish.  Lots of them.


I’m not sure what type of jellyfish this is – any suggestions?


Anyway, with the sun setting behind a few clouds, we stood on our balcony with G&Ts in hand, and said goodbye to Australia.  As we did, I  leaned over the rail and looked towards the front of the ship and watched as we sailed into a rainstorm.  Most peculiar to stand in the dry and see the torrential rainfall travel along the length of the ship until, some twenty seconds or so later it reached us.  Fortunately, we were standing under cover, so after marvelling at the amazing weather here in the tropics, we stepped inside to join our friends for dinner.


Next stop, Komodo, where we hope there will be dragons.


Such fun

Such fun

Jumping crocs

Jumping crocs