Our sister-in-law, Chihiro, was able to visit us during her holidays. She escaped the cold weather in Brisbane and relaxed here in Darwin with us. Having a guest was a great opportunity to be tourists ourselves! So, we (for the most part) put aside the never-ending list of boat jobs and took time out.
|Chihiro helps Rene drag the dinghy up Fannie Bay beach.|
We checked out the wharf precinct and watched the local teenagers surf man-made waves in an overcrowded wave pool. It looked fun but we opted for the free salt-water pool. Chihiro had fun splashing about as she tried to emulate Rene's seal-like water antics. I had fun until I spotted a jellyfish and happened to mention my sighting to the life-guard in passing. He changed instantly from relaxed Darwin dude to alert action man! I had thought we were safe from the deadly jellies during winter here but apparently not so!
|Coffee and cake in the back of the 4WD|
We took advantage of the borrowed 4WD, and drove out to the nearest National Park, Litchfield (2 hours away at speeds of up to 130 kilometres an hour). I relished in being able to drive at such speeds after our snail-pace sail to Darwin. It was a thrill to drive 100 times faster than Anima!! The park was great. We saw giant termite mounds in their millions. They build really tall mounds up here to capture the heat of the sun and to escape the flood-waters of summer. There are so many termites in Darwin that the electricity poles are built of steel (at least, that's my theory! Rene thinks it's for the cyclones).
|aaaaah! Waterfall! So nice!!!|
|Florence Falls crowds|
We swam at the gorgeous Florence Falls in crystal-clear cool water populated by large fresh-water fish and bus loads of tourists. I enjoyed seeing decent-sized cliffs – Northern Territory has been very flat for the most part. We tried to swim at the other natural pools but they were all closed for either cultural or crocodile reasons. We enjoyed a delicious cake that Chihiro (who is a deadly chef) brought with her and on the way home we took the unsealed road to get some 4 Wheel Driving in. It wasn't very rough (two normal cars overtook us!) but we had fun thinking it was really epic and Chihiro wants a 4WD now.
|Chihiro and Sweetheart, the giant crocodile!!|
We hung out in town, checked out the local museum and sunset markets at Mindil Beach. The museum here is pretty small – the biggest attraction is 'Sweetheart', the massive 5.1 metre crocodile which terrorised the local area 30 years ago. The markets are huge up here. The crowds of locals and tourists all wanting a tasty bite at one of the many various food stalls (plenty of Asian foods are available here). We pigged out on fresh fruit smoothies, Indian and Sri Lankan foods and watched amazing fire twirling performers.
|Smoothies at Mindil Markets :)|
|Fire twirling extravaganza!|
|Rene happy in his new hammock.|
We look forward to catching up with Jodie in Singapore in a few months. I'm hoping she will have sourced out an affordable wine seller as my "cellar" will be at desperate levels by then! Synchronicity in action again, Chihiro was able to share Jodie's hotel room back at the airport for her early flight home. We enjoyed having Chihiro stay and look forward to seeing her (and any other friends/family) again somewhere else along our journey.
|Chihiro's Tree Pose :)|