23/4/16. Even though the forecast said it was going to be hot in Darwin (and it was – somebody said 36°), we decided to forego the $10 shuttle bus into the centre as it was only a km or so and walking would help with the acclimatisation for SE Asia.

Arriving in the centre we were pleased to find that there was free wifi provided by the city so we quickly used up our data limit downloading four plus days’ worth of podcasts before moving on to McDonalds to catch up on Facebook, Twitter, blog posts and all the other essentials of 21st century life as well as talking to Eleri in NZ and waking Conal & Tamsin in Bahrain (it was 7.30 am on Saturday there by the time we called them). The time difference to the UK did not allow us to complete the set as we thought Alaric might not take kindly to a 5.30 am conversation!

We liked Darwin very much. It reminded us of Lae in PNG where we lived – the heat, the vegetation, the wide streets, the well-spaced low rise buildings, the slightly sleepy atmosphere, the manageable size. All in all, it is somewhere we would like to come back to for a longer stay.

There are two cathedrals (Anglican and Catholic) both of which were very tasteful modern designs having replaced older buildings destroyed, along with much of the rest of the city, in the Christmas Day 1974 cyclone. We were told that building regulations were changed following the cyclone banning “Queensland houses” (those built on stilts).

We made our customary visit to the botanic gardens which were, yet again, lovely, albeit on a smaller and less grand scale than those in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane – undoubtedly a reflection of a lower level of funding arising from the size of the city – a population of about 120,000 compared to 4+ million in each of Sydney and Melbourne.

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