Darwin…. Is it a lovable place? Or like able? Or just so so? I’m trying to sum up my feelings and memories for you right here but it feels like a bit of daze inside my head. I think it’s called relaxation distortion syndrome (a mysterious doctor identified the syndrome. I think it might be the same one who has diagnosed my case). I was so relaxed it’s all a fuzzy blur, but it’s not like the I’ve been out on the bubbles all night kinda fuzzy, it’s a warm, memorable & happy one (hang over free).
I admit, I had not been out of the Darwin airport for a mere 2 minutes before I heard these words in my head. I like this please. Really like it. How do I seriously find an excuse to live here? Think Woman, think. I can’t remember ever feeling so won over or settled with a place within moments of arrival before. I’m not usually swayed that easy. I blame the warm breeze which greeted us the moment we stepped foot out of the airport. I was vulnerable and welcomed with a balmy yet comfortable heat which seduced me within a moment. Long absences have a profound effect don’t they?
Darwin in those initial moments felt like some exotic international destination to me. The warmth, the tropical foliage, blue water, the air of relaxation which seems to seep into your blood almost instantly…. it could easily be Bali or Thailand. But then there’s the chorus of flip flops, the unmistakable ocker accents mixed in with the European ones. It is a favourite destination for the European traveller. The outdoor bars lining the main streets next to the backpacker accommodation would confirm that it is backpacker haven and the English have never been opposed to some sunshine and spending time in a bar.
It’s an easy, breezy kinda place. Let’s just say anywhere that has consistent warmth, a tendency towards liquor consumption (primarilly beer, of which you can openly drink in public places like at the beach or markets) and with it’s green swaying palms & dusty pink sunsets it radiates tropical heaven – It’s pretty difficult to dislike the place. I don’t know anyone who has been to Darwin and who hasn’t really liked it, or at least who hasn’t been a victim of some kind of relaxation syndrome.
If there is anything to promptly un-relax you, it would be the prospect of coming eye to eye with one of the true locals – the crocodiles who inhabit the surrounding waters. I admit I was freakin’ out about them, like as if they were going to jump up into my suburban bed with me during the night. I can report the suburbs are safe. Even the city streets and frankly from what I could see the beach looked friendly enough too but don’t EVER believe it. Plenty of German tourists have so I’ve heard (and they’ve lost a limb in the process), but there are teeth in those waters ready to nip those toes and a bit more. Such teeth might resemble something like this:
That’s why Darwin has built a little lagoon which attracts visitors like flies to meat left out in the heat. It’s a Croc free swimming zone in the heart of the city. It isn’t all that unsimilar to those built in Cairns, Airlie Beach or Brisbane. They’re all desperately trying to shift visitors attention away from the fact that their beaches are in one way another dull, dangerous and/or just plain un-swimmable. So a lagoon it is. Naturally when it’s 30 degrees no one says no to the lagoon, especially the Europeans. They’re all out with their darkening by the minute midriff on show (I had a few instances of midriff envy I admit) and flirty personalities. The kids don’t mind the place either, of course.
See it’s pretty pretty for a fake isn’t is?
Of course there are more a la naturale options like Berry Springs which is about 30 minutes out of the city. Basically it’s a little bush creek with a pleasant waterfall and warm springs for the family to frolic around in, which is exactly what we did one afternoon when we desired to cool off. It took me 10 minutes to summons the courage up to get in and to tell myself that the lurking shadows in the waters where exactly that and not Mummy eating Crocs….
Getting my swim on with Little Vick
Like many waterholes, the authorities clear Berry Springs at the start of the dry season so swimmers like me can paddle safely…. (I’m still hesitant in writing that but I guess I didn’t get taken did I?!). Just watch the big underwater rocks which won’t come off second best. Just ask my knee!
There’s a few free pools too which I ADORE since I do have a passion for freebies and fun times. Victoria has a few things to learn from Darwin. Another point for my argument about why we should promptly vacate to the top end I’m thinking.
It’s taken the whole post to sift through the blur but I can say wholeheartedly Darwin is a fairly lovable place. Reality holds us in Victoria of course but If nothing else we are seriously considering it become our little winter home every year so that I get all loved up with my relaxation distortion syndrome! And everyone say AMEN to that!