Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Top End

I have just spent two weeks in Darwin working at the Charles Darwin University, developing eLearning guidelines and template for the School of Business. I am taking a week off now to go to the Australian College of Midwives 2009 conference, and then I'm back to Darwin for another two weeks.

First impressions
When I first arrived In Darwin I was a little disappointed. It seemed like a down-market Cairns or Gold Coast. I was just about the oldest person walking the streets - everyone else appeared to be backpackers under the age of 30. There are heaps of pubs and if you walk down the street early in the morning, you have to pick your way over drunk kids who have fallen asleep on the pavement...well, I hope they were sleeping off their hangovers...they could be dead, but I never stop to check. Oh goodness...now I'm feeling guilty......what if they were dead!!?!

But I rapidly got over my disappointment about being in The Top End, as Darwin and The Northern Territories are known. The weather is fabulous at the moment. It's just coming to the end of The Dry, where daily temperatures are consistently about 30 - 33 degrees C. Soon the weather will get hotter and a lot more humid as Darwin goes into The Build-Up, and then The Wet starts in about November.

Living the outdoor life
What I love about Darwin is that you can live your whole life out of doors, or at least you can at the moment - a lot of the activities available now cease during the wet season. I have watched "Samson and Delilah" at the Deckchair Cinema and had my Tarot cards read at the Mindlh Beach market. The sunsets are amazing every night, so there's nothing better than taking a picnic down to the beach and watching the sun go down. And if you're into seafood, the best place to go is the wharf where you can eat the biggest prawns and selection of seafood until your heart's content.

I haven't got rid of my 'Dunedin' head yet - I am still in the habit of taking my cardigan with me when I go for a walk at night just in case there is a chill in the air, but of course there never is :)

Second World War
It was the film 'Australia' that brought to my attention the fact that Darwin was heavily bombed by the Japanese during the Second World War. This obviously had a huge effect of the psyche of Darwin, and you can see a number of war memorials around the place.

Working holiday
I haven't seen any wild life yet...no crocodiles walking down the main street. In fact, I'm really pleased. I expected to have been eaten alive by mosquitoes, but I've only had one or two bites. But before I go home to Dunedin, I'm going to be a tourist for a couple of days and have a look in-land at a couple of major tourist attractions: Katherine Gorge and Kakadu Park. Hopefully, I'll get to see some crocodiles and maybe even a wallaby or two.

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