Darwin

Who Went? One 12mo, Mum and Dad, Nanny and Pa (Grandmother and Grandfather).

Review: This trip was timed to fold in with a conference for Mum. Pa is not big on sightseeing, P was mainly interested in practising his (relatively) new walking skill, and Nanny and Dad were happy to go along with just hanging out and catch up, so it was that kind of holiday. We went in May, which was not too hot for the top-end. Renting a self-catering apartment worked well – it was cost-effective divided amongst us all and gave us communal and private areas. We also rented a car for the week which made it very simple to get around. It was a big help to have Nanny and Pa there, and the fact that they arrived before us and left after us really smoothed the trip.

Highlights: Walking around Darwin, enjoying the local parks and seafood, mini road trip to waterhole at nearby Litchfield National Park, Mindil Beach Markets.

Challenges: The mini road trip was a bit of a stretch for our 12mo. He settled well enough with the right kind of music, but we had to rely on the radio to provide it, and the radio obviously wasn’t very reliable either in its choices or in terms of the actual reception as we moved down the highway. We vowed to organise our own music for road trips after that.

Ideally – well, from my point of view, anyway – we would done more, perhaps stayed out at Litchfield National Park or made the trip to Kakadu. But we were constrained by time, conferences, and people’s appetites for road trips. The non-conference members of the party were content to basically bum around the local park, and in fact this ended up being a pretty convenient thing. This was the first time I was away from P for a whole day at a time, and although he happily trundled about without me, he got a bit unsettled about it overnight, so we weren’t enormously well rested. It didn’t affect the trip too much, but we noted down his reaction so we could take it into account for planning future expeditions, especially those where we hoped to get a little more ambitious with our itinerary.

Price Bracket: Moderate

Three Photos:

Parliament House (barely visible, background) is a lesser attraction than getting together with family.

Parliament House (barely visible, background) is a lesser attraction than getting together with family.

P-guided walking tour of the central Darwin colonial district.

P-guided walking tour of the central Darwin colonial district.

Tuckered out after a long climb to the top of the waterfall at Litchfield National Park.

Tuckered out after a long climb to the top of the waterfall at Litchfield National Park.

Itinerary:

Day One

  • Fly Singapore to Darwin (about 5hrs)
  • Nanny and Pa flew in earlier in the day, picked up the hire car and checked in to the self-catering apartment
  • Pick up at airport in hire car by Nanny and Pa (used own car seat), drive to self-catering apartment in central Darwin (about 30 mins)
  • Restaurant dinner
  • Overnight in self-catering apartment

Day Two

  • Walk around Darwin, especially park at waterfront
  • Escape to coolness of World War II Oil Storage Tunnels
  • Registration for conference (Mum)
  • Grocery shopping
  • Overnight in self-catering apartment

Days Three to Six

  • Breakfast in self-catering apartment
  • Conference for Mum
  • Bumming around town for Dad, Pa, Nanny and P, visit to Crocodile Park, swimming at apartment pool, visit Chinese Temple, self-guided walking tour past colonial buildings of central Darwin, Darwin Military Museum, beach and playgrounds, Dad actually gets to do some reading for the first time in about a year whilst Nanny and Pa babysit
  • Afternoon naps in self-catering apartment
  • Celebrated P’s first birthday with another restaurant dinner, otherwise self-catered
  • Overnight in self-catering apartment

Day Seven

  • Mini road trip to Litchfield National Park (about 2-3hrs)
  • Bushwalking
  • Unfortunately no swimming in the waterhole as it was temporarily closed for safety reasons. Usually it’s a great little place to swim.
  • Drive back to Darwin (about 2-3hrs)
  • Dinner and sand play at Mindil Beach Markets

Day Eight

  • Pack
  • Drop off by Nanny and Pa at airport for return flight Darwin to Singapore (about 5hrs)
  • Nanny and Pa returned to the apartment to pack and check out, then dropped off the hire car before making their return flight in the opposite direction
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