I’m (back) in Darwin. I was last here in February when I landed in Australia from East Timor. It has taken me this long to work my way up half the country. I’ve been lazy.
Some fun facts about Darwin and the Norther Territory:
- Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory. It is not a state. It has a status similar to what US states had before they became states. The population here is 215,000, half of which (probably more than half) live in or around Darwin. Unlike US Territories, they do have representation in the Australian Parliament, but in reduced numbers.
- The size of NT is slightly less than that of Alaska with a similar population density.
- People of the Northern Territory are indeed called “Territorians”. I suppose they by definition, they have an intrinsic property of being “territorial”.
- Darwin was originally established as a telegraph station, as was Alice Springs, also in NT.
- Darwin is indeed named after Charles Darwin. The HMS Beagle stopped here and the captain named the port after him.
- Darwin was bombed by the Japanese in WWII. The war in Pacific was very real to the Australians as the Japanese had every intention of invading and occupying Australia. Thankfully, the Australians took back PNG to control all of the Australian continent and got 2 bonus armies every turn and denied the Japanese the bonus of holding all of Asia by attacking SE Asia.
- In 1974, 71 people were killed and a great deal of the town was destroyed by a cyclone. It was the biggest natural disaster in the history of Australia. Cyclone Tracy was the most compact tropical storm every recorded and it made a beeline right for the center of Darwin.
- The weather here is nice, but that is probably a factor of being May. I’m sure it is much hotter in the summer. It seems very flat.
- While tourism is big here, it is much smaller compared to what I saw anywhere on the east coast. That is a good thing. I’m getting sick of the 20 something Euro backpacker crowd, at least in the doses you see them in eastern Australia.
Tomorrow my goal is just to get my next few weeks in order. My first stop will be Kakadu National Park. I have to decide how I’m going to get there (rent a car or take a bus). It is very close to Darwin and there are lots of tours which leave from Darwin. After Kakadu, it is sort of up in the air. My goal is to get to Perth in 2 weeks. From there, I”ll probably fly to Uluru and then Adelaide and then Sydney so I can finally get to Lord Howe Island. Then I fly to Singapore. I think I’m going to use Singapore as a base for a few regional trips including Sumatra and Christmas Island.
I’m going to get out of Darwin as soon as possible so I can get on the road and moving.